For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Friday, 27 March 2020

News from USA

Friday 27th March 2020

Want to know whst they think about us in th USA at the moment?

Read this from today's New York times:


  1. Well, that’s really upset my day. I’ve read the article and those links within it. Here’s a link to a piece by UK journalist, Jenni Russell, in the NY Times about BoJo. Even more depressing

  2. it would be interesting to read articles by either of these journalists written in January or February - or even earlier in March - about their analysis of the pandemic and how to control and minimise it: I searched the NYT website for one but strangely couldn't find one. But did notice several articles about the US President and related topics which were somewhat adrift of neutrality (of which the NYT is of course, never guilty)

  3. I struggled to read that link without giving all my details to the NYT. I'm suspicious of lots of sites and their cookies policies. I often deny certain access and then can't get further.
    Should really have more to worry about at this time.
    Just off to see if any more weeds have appeared in the garden since yesterday.

  4. BC - No matter. I too have conquered all the weeds in my front garden and mowed the grass back and front over the last two days. I now need to go round the grass edges at the back but am considering leaving that until tomorrow. One needs to pace oneself in these days with endless time stretchng into the unforseeable distance - mustn't do it all at one hit.


    gimmer and Litehiker - I wasn't taking any sides on that article - I just tought it was interesting to see how oters see us albeit just one view from one hyperbolic journalist.

  5. Interesting. There must be an element of hindsight being wonderful. Sue's sister works for a pharmaceutical company. Apparently they realised in January that the pandemic was inevitable and geared up accordingly.

    I'm still clearing the moss from our lawns - mowing can wait until it gets a bit warmer!

  6. Phreerunner - Hindsight - I agree. The media are always hungry for a story and one way is to find some scapegoat to blame. Ok, it is important to have freedom of speech and be able to constructively criticise and name and shame where it really matters but in this situation it is more importasnt for everybody to pull together.

  7. In the pre-internet era, hindsight was a (relatively) risk-free game, but now people can look up what the 'i told you so' people said at the time very easily - but it hasn't died out completely , it seems.

    It seems also there have been a few fictional virus pandemic novels and films very closely resembling the present crisis - few taken very seriously or the real risks identified, but I was interested to read The Telegraph raising the handling of results of the war-gaming done in 2016 about this very matter by the NHS and other arms of government - some extra preparations were made but not as urgently or as fully as the risk analysis called for - again, like the '30's, alarm bells are never heeded until the enemy is at the gate.
    Maybe we will get the kit and resources needed in time - a bit quicker than planes and tanks, obviously, but it does appear that the results and dangers were not considered urgent enough to spend time and much more money on - distraction by Brexit turmoil and Parliamentary stasis - and the continued effects of the 2008 financial crisis - won't have helped.
    The rest of the world has not been much better - except those countries nearest China who knew more of the real state of affairs there and so realised the 'real and present dangers' their proximity presented (reminds me of how Polish Intelligence were the ones who made cracking of the Enigma machines possible - for us a game, for them survival - not that it helped them in the end, after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which doesn't, as yet, seem to have a parallel in the current emergency)

  8. One of thr most influential books I have ever read is The Plauge (La Peste), Albert Camus. unfortunately the English translation is poor but the good news is that it is easy to read in French for anybody with a reasonsble acquataince with the language and I strongly recommend it.

    Below is an exchange I had with my brother RR on his blog a few days ago:


    "...The fictional story is told through the eyes of the local doctor, Rieux; his commitment to his task is complete, but his attitude is dispassionate. As we would hope of people in charge; Trump showing how not to do it. There is nothing to be gained by getting excited and uttering overworked words like “menace”.

    Rieux and the others do what they do because the need is obvious; discussion is unnecessary. The solutions are mainly traditional, tried and true; good results at first seem distant but it’s important to be patient. Without articulating that need.

    Best of all, courage is inferred, never stated. People volunteer for difficult work and some die. But no one dwells on this, calling it a tragedy; it was to be expected."

    My reply:

    "La Peste made perhaps the greatest lasting impression on me of any novel I have read and that has been with me now for many years. It is one of the few books I have read in the French language after reading it in English. That demonstrated how bad a translation can be. I seem to remember the scene where the child dies and Rieux (I think) questions the priest about there being a bountiful god being particularly badly handled. That is shameful especially as that is one of the fundamental issues Camus is putting up for consideration."

    By slight coincidence with your refernce to Naziism many have suggested that La Peste is, apart from its main, theme also an analogy to the Nazi sxupression of France.