Coronavirus photo diary week five: 12 - 18 April

Sunday, 12th April, and for once, there were a few people about in Cambridge - 

Enjoying the sunshine on their one permitted outing for exercise. 

And perhaps a show of defiance against the virus on this beautiful Easter weekend.

I got talking to a couple (from 2 metres plus away, of course), who were sitting on the low stone wall outside King's College. 

Why? Because we were all enjoying the antics of their young daughter - 

Normally the college lawns are sacrosanct. 

Take one step on them and you risk being mobbed by porters. 

But not in coronavirus times - and bless her spirit for bringing a much needed smile. 


An economic theme lingered on Easter Monday, 13th April

I walked out to get some shopping, and was struck by the number of shops which had been shuttered up - this, on a holiday when they should be doing a roaring trade.

The government is making an unprecedented attempt to protect the economy, but such sights suggest it's not going to be enough for many businesses.

And, for someone who works a lot with small companies, that's sad - as so much work, heart and hope goes into so many of them. 


On a lighter note, other businesses, where they can, are doing their best to keep going. 

A rare smile in the gloom came from the news that a Cambridge pub, the Free Press, was doing takeaway beer. 

So I got myself an improvised container, cycled along, and enjoyed the fruits of their enterprise.

It's important to do your bit for the economy at times like this - and can be pleasant, too.  


Maybe the best day of the virus - relatively speaking, of course - came on Tuesday, 14th April.

I've been working with an amazing group of scientists, engineers and medics, trying to produce emergency ventilators to help save lives.

Finally, we have a working prototype:

Excuse the small image. It's taken from a video I was filming for the project, and you can see more here:

This one might be better - 

Why such a good day?

Because everyone is working for nothing for the good of all. 

And that's a mighty fine feeling to be a small part of. 


Thursday, 16th April was also a good day - for me, anyway.

It’s remarkable how trying to do your little bit to help everyone along can lift the spirits.

I started a series of six webinars to teach the precious art of story writing and telling.

Interestingly, the idea came from requests for evening events, as lots of people are busy in the daytime with work, and caring duties.

I wanted to do something worthwhile, but also with a social theme, to help people relax in these difficult times.

Hence the Storywriting Social.

There was some good media interest, and 70 people signed up.

What particularly pleased me was the sense of community we quickly built - 

Everyone interacting and supporting each other, which is much needed in these days, and exactly what I hoped would happen. 


This was a poignant sight on Friday, 17th April.

That bridge is one of the most sought-after spots in Cambridge for taking photos, and the river is usually packed with punts.

Today, in the time I was sitting admiring the view, one person stopped to take a snap. Just one.

And as for punts… Zero.

Funny how we take the familiar ways of our society for granted…

Until they’re gone.


When it’s a bright and sunny weekend, and children aren’t out having fun, you know there‘s a problem.

Seeing playgrounds closed off, when usualy there are running feet, shouting voices, and smiling faces, is one of the sadder sights of the coronavirus.

This was Saturday, 18th April.