I first started writing an on-line blog in December 1996, this my 1,000th page. Over the years the blog has changed direction and style of content. Here as the entire world fights a global pandemic the like of which has never been seen in the history of mankind my 1,000th page becomes the second page of Escape From Armageddon.
ARMAGEDDON - the biblical end of the world. Are we facing the end of the world ? Is the human species about to go the same way as the dinosaurs ?
As a young man, I may even still have been a teenager, I had an idea to write a book with the title Escape From Armageddon. It never happened but now I am writing this daily blog where Armageddon is not an overstatement, I just hope that Escape is the right way to describe how thing in our present situation will end.
My grandparent's generation was devastated by World War One - The Great War to end all wars. What folly is contained in that statement !
My Mum's granddad served in the war to end all wars where he became hard of hearing as the constant explosions around him damaged his ears. He did escape from Armageddon. One of the few who did escape.
My paternal grandfather, my Dad's Dad, only partially escaped Armageddon. He contracted tuberculosis in the trenches of World War One so was discharged with honour from the army, he served in the South Staffordshire Regiment.
William married a munitions worker, Lily Bedson, who was billeted on his family in Aston Birmingham. Together they had three sons, when his illness overtook him and William died Lily was left to bring up three small children alone.
But Lily, though widowed, did have a husband. Many young women of her age were destined never to find love, there were just not enough men to go round. We used to call them maiden aunts, or for my generation - maiden great-aunts. Every family had them. They were born virgins and they died virgins. Twenty million people died in World War One, The Great War, the war to end all wars. Twenty million lives given to Escape Armageddon.
The escape was short lived. Twenty-five years later the world was at war again. In that war seventy-five million died in an attempt to Escape Armageddon. One of those was my Uncle Billy, the uncle I never knew. Twenty-one years into his life it came to an end on the night of 8th March 1945 when his Lancaster Bomber was shot down during a raid over Bremen in Germany.
My generation did not face the situation my father's and grandfather's did. My Dad and his friends went to school to prepare for fighting, and giving their lives for their country. We were not going to war but the threat of Armageddon was always with us. One day either The Soviet Union of Russia or The United States Of America would push the nuclear button and we would all enter Armageddon in a giant explosion.
At school I had a clear career path in my head and followed study towards examinations which would make that career path happen. If I had lived in America that would not have been the same, I would have gone to school simply to bide my time before serving my country in the folly of The Vietnam War. Figures for that Escape From Armageddon are not clear but are somewhere in the region of three million.
The fear of a nuclear holocaust my generation had to face never happened, we Escaped Armageddon. Add up all of these figures and we are talking NINETY EIGHT MILLION deaths. One and a half times the current UK population. How many will die in this current global pandemic ?
I am now a granddad myself, I have four lovely young people in my family. I have feared in recent times that Adam, Ollie, Katherine and Frances would not live to see a world where they could themselves become grandparents, simply because my generation is working flat out to destroy it. Only a blind and deaf and totally stupid person could ignore climate change but ignore it the vast majority have been doing. It was as if they did not want to Escape from Armageddon but were saying BRING IT ON. I understand that global warming has slowed down as the world faces the invisible enemy in the current war.
In these wars not a single family was untouched. That is not the situation here and now but will it be ? When ? Yesterday an addition 185 people died in Britain bringing the death toll to 769 and these are early days. Scientists predict a doubling of figures every two days. 14,543 people have now tested positive for the virus, that is up by 2,885 on the day. The Prime Minister has tested positive, The Health Secretary has tested positive. Their symptoms are mild and both are expected to recover but what about those who do not recover ? Who in my family will enter this list of statistics ? Who in your family will enter the list of statistics ? Will I ? Will you ?
Today is Saturday, Saturday means the lunch of love with Dreamsai for our homeless and rough-sleeping friends. It is not taking place. I am told that Milton Keynes Council has scooped up all of the rough-sleepers, including my friends, and isolated them in hotel rooms. A BBC News report yesterday explained that isolated means no food, no means to prepare food even if such was available. Among those self-isolated with hunger are my friends.
Let's see what the next twenty-four hours bring.