A glimpse into our near future from our Italian friends....

gofish2

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As I sit listening to Gregorian chants, updating myself on the evil which is Covid-19, I find the following and think, I should share this....


The acclaimed Italian novelist Francesca Melandri, who has been under lockdown in Rome for almost three weeks due to the Covid-19 outbreak, has written a letter to fellow Europeans “from your future”, laying out the range of emotions people are likely to go through over the coming weeks.

I am writing to you from Italy, which means I am writing from your future. We are now where you will be in a few days. The epidemic’s charts show us all entwined in a parallel dance.

We are but a few steps ahead of you in the path of time, just like Wuhan was a few weeks ahead of us. We watch you as you behave just as we did. You hold the same arguments we did until a short time ago, between those who still say “it’s only a flu, why all the fuss?” and those who have already understood.


As we watch you from here, from your future, we know that many of you, as you were told to lock yourselves up into your homes, quoted Orwell, some even Hobbes. But soon you’ll be too busy for that.

First of all, you’ll eat. Not just because it will be one of the few last things that you can still do.

You’ll find dozens of social networking groups with tutorials on how to spend your free time in fruitful ways. You will join them all, then ignore them completely after a few days.

You’ll pull apocalyptic literature out of your bookshelves, but will soon find you don’t really feel like reading any of it.



You’ll eat again. You will not sleep well. You will ask yourselves what is happening to democracy.

You’ll have an unstoppable online social life – on Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom…

You will miss your adult children like you never have before; the realisation that you have no idea when you will ever see them again will hit you like a punch in the chest.

Old resentments and falling-outs will seem irrelevant. You will call people you had sworn never to talk to ever again, so as to ask them: “How are you doing?” Many women will be beaten in their homes.

You will wonder what is happening to all those who can’t stay home because they don’t have one. You will feel vulnerable when going out shopping in the deserted streets, especially if you are a woman. You will ask yourselves if this is how societies collapse. Does it really happen so fast? You’ll block out these thoughts and when you get back home you’ll eat again.

You will put on weight. You’ll look for online fitness training.

You’ll laugh. You’ll laugh a lot. You’ll flaunt a gallows humour you never had before. Even people who’ve always taken everything dead seriously will contemplate the absurdity of life, of the universe and of it all.

You will make appointments in the supermarket queues with your friends and lovers, so as to briefly see them in person, all the while abiding by the social distancing rules.

You will count all the things you do not need.

The true nature of the people around you will be revealed with total clarity. You will have confirmations and surprises.

Literati who had been omnipresent in the news will disappear, their opinions suddenly irrelevant; some will take refuge in rationalisations which will be so totally lacking in empathy that people will stop listening to them. People whom you had overlooked, instead, will turn out to be reassuring, generous, reliable, pragmatic and clairvoyant.

Those who invite you to see all this mess as an opportunity for planetary renewal will help you to put things in a larger perspective. You will also find them terribly annoying: nice, the planet is breathing better because of the halved CO2 emissions, but how will you pay your bills next month?

You will not understand if witnessing the birth of a new world is more a grandiose or a miserable affair.

You will play music from your windows and lawns. When you saw us singing opera from our balconies, you thought “ah, those Italians”. But we know you will sing uplifting songs to each other too. And when you blast I Will Survive from your windows, we’ll watch you and nod just like the people of Wuhan, who sung from their windows in February, nodded while watching us.


Many of you will fall asleep vowing that the very first thing you’ll do as soon as lockdown is over is file for divorce.

Many children will be conceived.

Your children will be schooled online. They’ll be horrible nuisances; they’ll give you joy.

Elderly people will disobey you like rowdy teenagers: you’ll have to fight with them in order to forbid them from going out, to get infected and die.

You will try not to think about the lonely deaths inside the ICU.

You’ll want to cover with rose petals all medical workers’ steps.

You will be told that society is united in a communal effort, that you are all in the same boat. It will be true. This experience will change for good how you perceive yourself as an individual part of a larger whole.

Class, however, will make all the difference. Being locked up in a house with a pretty garden or in an overcrowded housing project will not be the same. Nor is being able to keep on working from home or seeing your job disappear. That boat in which you’ll be sailing in order to defeat the epidemic will not look the same to everyone nor is it actually the same for everyone: it never was.

At some point, you will realise it’s tough. You will be afraid. You will share your fear with your dear ones, or you will keep it to yourselves so as not to burden them with it too.

You will eat again.

We’re in Italy, and this is what we know about your future. But it’s just small-scale fortune-telling. We are very low-key seers.

If we turn our gaze to the more distant future, the future which is unknown both to you and to us too, we can only tell you this: when all of this is over, the world won’t be the same.

© Francesca Melandri 2020
 

Steve Gilbert

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Well that has cheered me up no end...

My wife needed to go to the supermarket today to get some bits to top up the cupboards and so the dog can also eat. She noticed a big change in the way people were acting. People are becoming more wary of others near them, shop workers are getting stricter with people, ensuring they are giving everyone enough distance. There is less panic buying and more reasonable purchasing, the shelves have started looking full again.

I think finally, people are starting to understanding the importance of doing what has been asked of us.

I have to go to work on Monday (postman) and if I'm being honest I am worried due to the risk it posses to not only my family but people I deliver mail too. Measures have been put in place at work to increase social distancing but it is impossible to cut out all risks of cross contamination on certain things like mail bags, vans, parcel and letter handling.

Am I worried? Yes
Am I scared? Yes
Am I showing that to my wife and kids? Absolutely not.
 

Scotchegg

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14 Dec 2017
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5,436
Well that has cheered me up no end...

My wife needed to go to the supermarket today to get some bits to top up the cupboards and so the dog can also eat. She noticed a big change in the way people were acting. People are becoming more wary of others near them, shop workers are getting stricter with people, ensuring they are giving everyone enough distance. There is less panic buying and more reasonable purchasing, the shelves have started looking full again.

I think finally, people are starting to understanding the importance of doing what has been asked of us.

I have to go to work on Monday (postman) and if I'm being honest I am worried due to the risk it posses to not only my family but people I deliver mail too. Measures have been put in place at work to increase social distancing but it is impossible to cut out all risks of cross contamination on certain things like mail bags, vans, parcel and letter handling.

Am I worried? Yes
Am I scared? Yes
Am I showing that to my wife and kids? Absolutely not.


Like you, I am currently working in the Prison Service including back to back 14 hour shifts this weekend. We are ok at the moment, but the tension is increasing and we are looking to isolate those with some symptoms as well as those who have had any contact with others with symptoms. This is not being taken seriously with many of those under isolation refusing to wear masks and continuing to get in close proximity to other prisoners and staff. Already rumours are circulating that prisoners have the virus, and there is a threat that once people are identified that they will either be forcably removed by other prisoners, or others will refuse to be on the same wings as those affected. They might not admit it, but there is a huge amount of fear on all sides, and control can very easily slip away. Sadly, we do not have the opportunity to work from home, or to socially distance in the way we are being advised. And we are also under increasing threat of those with the virus using that as a weapon against us. We are at the highest risk level since the Strangways (and other subsequent) riots of 1990, but with a staffing level that has been significantly reduced in recent years, including the loss of much need experience.

I am worried and scared. I have been punched, kicked, bitten, spat on, had urine thrown at me and faced verbal abuse for 25 years. But it is only me that is at risk. My biggest fear is not that I will catch this, and there is a very real chance that I will. My fear is that I will then take this home to my wife and my young family.

These are unprecidented times, and no one knows what life will look like if, and hopefully when, we get through this.

Stay safe and take care everyone.
 

Sarge

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Joined
6 Dec 2017
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29,826
Well that has cheered me up no end...

My wife needed to go to the supermarket today to get some bits to top up the cupboards and so the dog can also eat. She noticed a big change in the way people were acting. People are becoming more wary of others near them, shop workers are getting stricter with people, ensuring they are giving everyone enough distance. There is less panic buying and more reasonable purchasing, the shelves have started looking full again.

I think finally, people are starting to understanding the importance of doing what has been asked of us.

I have to go to work on Monday (postman) and if I'm being honest I am worried due to the risk it posses to not only my family but people I deliver mail too. Measures have been put in place at work to increase social distancing but it is impossible to cut out all risks of cross contamination on certain things like mail bags, vans, parcel and letter handling.

Am I worried? Yes
Am I scared? Yes
Am I showing that to my wife and kids? Absolutely not.
@Steve Gilbert .... got a quick Q for you in your capacity as a postman
In OX3 we've not had any deliveries since Monday this week.... there was a birthday here (thurs) this last week, cards were posted in plenty of time, but none as yet have arrived

where my daughter lives in NI local post deliveries are temporarily reduced to 3 days a week ( in effect every other day) all households in the village where my daughter lives were informed in advance that deliveries on each walk would be reduced temporarily to 3 times a week

after the Oxford sorting office was closed some years ago now, Oxford and Oxon post goes to Sw*nd*n for sorting ( maybe the extra fingers help with sorting mail more efficiently?), which see first class post taking 2,3 or more days to arrive in Oxford/Oxon for delivery. We're used to first class post not arriving next day due to localish logistics.

But,obviously, posties, like everywhere else that is still at work, will have a reduction in numbers at work, where those with any symptoms are self isolating (at least until test kits are widely available) so I can fully appreciate that like everywhere else the royal mail wont be operating as it would be under normal circumstances. Royal Mail website only says that for the duration of covid 19 lockdown, special deliveries wont be guaranteed to arrive before 1pm the day after posting, - apart from that Royal mail currently seem to have a recruitment drive ongoing?
theres no other information on the Royal Mail website - updated today -than to say there may be slight delays in delivering post.... 4 consecutive days without any deliveries is a bit more than a slight delay.... a bit more info from Royal Mail management wouldn't go amiss

can you offer any insight? ( whether you're Oxford based or not)- and @Steve keep up the essential work, it is very much appreciated - stay safe
 

Marked Ox

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It is a sobering thought when for my brother to visit, we have to talk through the front window (with all windows closed).
 

Scotchegg

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5,436
It is a sobering thought when for my brother to visit, we have to talk through the front window (with all windows closed).

I did the same when dropping some food off for my mum yesterday. I had to put it on the front door step and walk away, before then returning to talk through the window. Having spent most of my life working in prisons, it shows what that lose of liberty is really like, and how we take so much for granted.

I hope that once we wake up from this nightmare, we all remember what we lost and never allow that to happen again.
 

gofish2

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Joined
10 Dec 2017
Messages
356
Like you, I am currently working in the Prison Service including back to back 14 hour shifts this weekend. We are ok at the moment, but the tension is increasing and we are looking to isolate those with some symptoms as well as those who have had any contact with others with symptoms. This is not being taken seriously with many of those under isolation refusing to wear masks and continuing to get in close proximity to other prisoners and staff. Already rumours are circulating that prisoners have the virus, and there is a threat that once people are identified that they will either be forcably removed by other prisoners, or others will refuse to be on the same wings as those affected. They might not admit it, but there is a huge amount of fear on all sides, and control can very easily slip away. Sadly, we do not have the opportunity to work from home, or to socially distance in the way we are being advised. And we are also under increasing threat of those with the virus using that as a weapon against us. We are at the highest risk level since the Strangways (and other subsequent) riots of 1990, but with a staffing level that has been significantly reduced in recent years, including the loss of much need experience.

I am worried and scared. I have been punched, kicked, bitten, spat on, had urine thrown at me and faced verbal abuse for 25 years. But it is only me that is at risk. My biggest fear is not that I will catch this, and there is a very real chance that I will. My fear is that I will then take this home to my wife and my young family.

These are unprecidented times, and no one knows what life will look like if, and hopefully when, we get through this.

Stay safe and take care everyone.
That my friends, is a true example of 'real' stress. I don't think I have any meaningful words of comfort apart from the fact that I and many others on here will be thinking of you. My keyworker role and yours are very very different, I really appreciate the work you are doing and the humanity required to continue it.
 

uptheus

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Joined
8 Dec 2017
Messages
2,449
Like you, I am currently working in the Prison Service including back to back 14 hour shifts this weekend. We are ok at the moment, but the tension is increasing and we are looking to isolate those with some symptoms as well as those who have had any contact with others with symptoms. This is not being taken seriously with many of those under isolation refusing to wear masks and continuing to get in close proximity to other prisoners and staff. Already rumours are circulating that prisoners have the virus, and there is a threat that once people are identified that they will either be forcably removed by other prisoners, or others will refuse to be on the same wings as those affected. They might not admit it, but there is a huge amount of fear on all sides, and control can very easily slip away. Sadly, we do not have the opportunity to work from home, or to socially distance in the way we are being advised. And we are also under increasing threat of those with the virus using that as a weapon against us. We are at the highest risk level since the Strangways (and other subsequent) riots of 1990, but with a staffing level that has been significantly reduced in recent years, including the loss of much need experience.

I am worried and scared. I have been punched, kicked, bitten, spat on, had urine thrown at me and faced verbal abuse for 25 years. But it is only me that is at risk. My biggest fear is not that I will catch this, and there is a very real chance that I will. My fear is that I will then take this home to my wife and my young family.

These are unprecidented times, and no one knows what life will look like if, and hopefully when, we get through this.

Stay safe and take care everyone.

Stay safe.
 

Scotchegg

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Joined
14 Dec 2017
Messages
5,436
That my friends, is a true example of 'real' stress. I don't think I have any meaningful words of comfort apart from the fact that I and many others on here will be thinking of you. My keyworker role and yours are very very different, I really appreciate the work you are doing and the humanity required to continue it.

Thank you, but like so many others, I'm just doing my job. It's difficult, and I'm sure that there will be some dark days ahead, but I've been doing it for 25 years and it's all I know. It's actually far harder on my family with all the worry and uncertainty.

Take care and keep doing your bit. So many people are doing so much without the credit they deserve.
 

chuckbert

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Joined
8 Dec 2017
Messages
2,058
I have to go to work on Monday (postman) and if I'm being honest I am worried due to the risk it posses to not only my family but people I deliver mail too. Measures have been put in place at work to increase social distancing but it is impossible to cut out all risks of cross contamination on certain things like mail bags, vans, parcel and letter handling.

Am I worried? Yes
Am I scared? Yes
Am I showing that to my wife and kids? Absolutely not.
It’s not taken for granted that people like you are still out there working, Steve. Thanks for keeping at such an important job.
The virus is apparently active for only 24 hrs on porous materials, so parcels and letters that are sitting in bags for that long are less of a threat than any hardware that multiple people are touching (up to 72hrs).

Make sure you look after your mental health too while protecting your family.
 

horseman

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Joined
12 Dec 2017
Messages
1,751
Well that has cheered me up no end...

My wife needed to go to the supermarket today to get some bits to top up the cupboards and so the dog can also eat. She noticed a big change in the way people were acting. People are becoming more wary of others near them, shop workers are getting stricter with people, ensuring they are giving everyone enough distance. There is less panic buying and more reasonable purchasing, the shelves have started looking full again.

I think finally, people are starting to understanding the importance of doing what has been asked of us.

I have to go to work on Monday (postman) and if I'm being honest I am worried due to the risk it posses to not only my family but people I deliver mail too. Measures have been put in place at work to increase social distancing but it is impossible to cut out all risks of cross contamination on certain things like mail bags, vans, parcel and letter handling.

Am I worried? Yes
Am I scared? Yes
Am I showing that to my wife and kids? Absolutely not.

Will there not be a point when the mail system stops? The generation that would use mail to stay in touch with friends,family etc are confined to their homes..Companies that send out brochures,flyers etc are not working so surely must dry up and why would they still be sending anyway....Utility companies that have to send bills to those who cannot be online are going to be faced with an increasing number of customers that are unable to pay in part or full..So at some point it surely dries up as no mail is posted?
Stay safe
 

HampshireYellow

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Joined
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2,620
Will there not be a point when the mail system stops? The generation that would use mail to stay in touch with friends,family etc are confined to their homes..Companies that send out brochures,flyers etc are not working so surely must dry up and why would they still be sending anyway....Utility companies that have to send bills to those who cannot be online are going to be faced with an increasing number of customers that are unable to pay in part or full..So at some point it surely dries up as no mail is posted?
Stay safe

Lot of people ordering things online so parcels are going to continue...
 

Steve Gilbert

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Joined
13 Jul 2019
Messages
427
@Steve Gilbert .... got a quick Q for you in your capacity as a postman
In OX3 we've not had any deliveries since Monday this week.... there was a birthday here (thurs) this last week, cards were posted in plenty of time, but none as yet have arrived

where my daughter lives in NI local post deliveries are temporarily reduced to 3 days a week ( in effect every other day) all households in the village where my daughter lives were informed in advance that deliveries on each walk would be reduced temporarily to 3 times a week

after the Oxford sorting office was closed some years ago now, Oxford and Oxon post goes to Sw*nd*n for sorting ( maybe the extra fingers help with sorting mail more efficiently?), which see first class post taking 2,3 or more days to arrive in Oxford/Oxon for delivery. We're used to first class post not arriving next day due to localish logistics.

But,obviously, posties, like everywhere else that is still at work, will have a reduction in numbers at work, where those with any symptoms are self isolating (at least until test kits are widely available) so I can fully appreciate that like everywhere else the royal mail wont be operating as it would be under normal circumstances. Royal Mail website only says that for the duration of covid 19 lockdown, special deliveries wont be guaranteed to arrive before 1pm the day after posting, - apart from that Royal mail currently seem to have a recruitment drive ongoing?
theres no other information on the Royal Mail website - updated today -than to say there may be slight delays in delivering post.... 4 consecutive days without any deliveries is a bit more than a slight delay.... a bit more info from Royal Mail management wouldn't go amiss

can you offer any insight? ( whether you're Oxford based or not)- and @Steve keep up the essential work, it is very much appreciated - stay safe

I have heard mail has got lighter but parcels are as usual. The problem comes with staffing. In my office (chester) some rounds are being done every other day due to not enough postmen/women to do every round every day. Obviously every office is different throughout the country where some offices will be more effected by others.
Regards to safe guarding yourself, on the day of a parcel being delivered a minimum of 3-4 people will handle that parcel between 7am and the time it arrives at your house. It is wise to either wash your hands as soon as you have touched the parcel or use gloves. With mail it will be less at 2-3 people handling your post before it arrives on your door step. I would advice to wait 24 hours before handling your mail as this is the maximum time the virus lasts on the paper.

The bit I don't understand is why we are still delivering door to doors (the junk mail you get through the post). Royal mail have said to staff that contracts need honouring even though most of the companies are closed but we still need to deliver them. IMO that is putting an increased risk to staff and customers that isn't needed.

At some point I do think they will suspend the postal service to reduce another risk to the public but then again Boris has just kindly written to every address in the country to tell us all to stay in side which again has put a greater risk to the postal workers and our customers.
 

RyanioBirdio

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2,770
At some point I do think they will suspend the postal service to reduce another risk to the public but then again Boris has just kindly written to every address in the country to tell us all to stay in side which again has put a greater risk to the postal workers and our customers.
I made this exact point to somebody I was speaking with earlier. I think it’s absurd that he’s spending nearly six million quid sending a letter to every household, but I think it’s more outrageous still that in doing so he’s ensuring that people like you and many others have to carry on as normal. How many people on average will come into contact with these letters, from door to door, which he’s then asking people to shove into everybody’s home?
 

ZeroTheHero

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It is a stupid thing to do. A waste of money (which could almost certainly be better spent elsewhere) and a potential danger to the people delivering and the people receiving. Still, never let common sense get in the way of the PMs ego, eh.
 
Last edited:

Sarge

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I have heard mail has got lighter but parcels are as usual. The problem comes with staffing. In my office (chester) some rounds are being done every other day due to not enough postmen/women to do every round every day. Obviously every office is different throughout the country where some offices will be more effected by others.
Regards to safe guarding yourself, on the day of a parcel being delivered a minimum of 3-4 people will handle that parcel between 7am and the time it arrives at your house. It is wise to either wash your hands as soon as you have touched the parcel or use gloves. With mail it will be less at 2-3 people handling your post before it arrives on your door step. I would advice to wait 24 hours before handling your mail as this is the maximum time the virus lasts on the paper.

The bit I don't understand is why we are still delivering door to doors (the junk mail you get through the post). Royal mail have said to staff that contracts need honouring even though most of the companies are closed but we still need to deliver them. IMO that is putting an increased risk to staff and customers that isn't needed.

At some point I do think they will suspend the postal service to reduce another risk to the public but then again Boris has just kindly written to every address in the country to tell us all to stay in side which again has put a greater risk to the postal workers and our customers.
cheers for info .... appreciated... guess those 'late' birthday cards will arrive in OX3 along with Bojo's priority letter sometime this coming week (probably)
 

HampshireYellow

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Joined
20 Dec 2017
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2,620
I have heard mail has got lighter but parcels are as usual. The problem comes with staffing. In my office (chester) some rounds are being done every other day due to not enough postmen/women to do every round every day. Obviously every office is different throughout the country where some offices will be more effected by others.
Regards to safe guarding yourself, on the day of a parcel being delivered a minimum of 3-4 people will handle that parcel between 7am and the time it arrives at your house. It is wise to either wash your hands as soon as you have touched the parcel or use gloves. With mail it will be less at 2-3 people handling your post before it arrives on your door step. I would advice to wait 24 hours before handling your mail as this is the maximum time the virus lasts on the paper.

The bit I don't understand is why we are still delivering door to doors (the junk mail you get through the post). Royal mail have said to staff that contracts need honouring even though most of the companies are closed but we still need to deliver them. IMO that is putting an increased risk to staff and customers that isn't needed.

At some point I do think they will suspend the postal service to reduce another risk to the public but then again Boris has just kindly written to every address in the country to tell us all to stay in side which again has put a greater risk to the postal workers and our customers.

Door to doors still need to be delivered as the companies have already paid for them. Presumably you’re just taking where you’re going anyway so don’t see how it increases the risk?
 

Steve Gilbert

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427
Door to doors still need to be delivered as the companies have already paid for them. Presumably you’re just taking where you’re going anyway so don’t see how it increases the risk?

Again, depends on the office. Some offices are telling people to just deliver where they are going, some are telling them to go to every house.
 

Paul Cannell

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3,190
Stay well. Ladyship tells me her mate has just delivered a bundle of frozen meals to a very special lady who's done loads for the disabled (she is also disabled) because although she's got a delivery slot it's not till next week and she'd no verg after today.

Stay lucky.
 
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