ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
While we are all hoping to avoid a local lockdown, self-isolation or quarantine, in true British fashion we seem to be making the best of things. We are already getting used to life with coronavirus and of course most of the current restrictions are nothing new
Although in the past it may have been a self-imposed or voluntary separation from society, in more recent times quarantine has come to represent a compulsory action enforced by health authorities. The Welsh Government of course is not the first to wrestle with this problem. During the 14th century, in an effort to protect coastal cities from plague epidemics, ships arriving in Venice from infected ports were required to sit at anchor for 40 days before landing. This practice, called quarantine, was derived from the Italian words quaranta giorni which mean 40 days.
Ancient civilizations relied on isolating the sick, well before the actual microbial causes of disease were known. In times when treatments for illnesses were rare and public health measures few, physicians and lay leaders, beginning as early as the ancient Greeks, turned to quarantine to contain a scourge. The practice is even recorded in the Old Testament where several verses mention isolation for those with leprosy. Closer to home the Quarantine Act was passed in England in 1710, which stipulated a sentence of death for persons not respecting the compulsory 40-day quarantine for humans and goods arriving here suspected or known to have been in contact with the plague.
Perhaps the best known individual example of quarantine, pitting an individual’s civil liberties against public protection, is the story of Mary Mallon, aka “Typhoid Mary”. An asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever in the early 20th century, she never felt sick but nevertheless spread the disease to families for whom she worked as a cook. Officials quarantined Mary on North Brother Island in New York City. Released after three years, she promised never to cook for anyone again. Breaking her promise and continuing to spread the disease, she was returned to North Brother Island, where she remained for the remainder of her life in isolation.
So, beyond the usual online fitness sessions, reading those books we have never got around to, or holding a Zoom quiz, what can do to keep ourselves entertained if we suddenly have to self-isolate? While staying indoors, we can at least turn to the internet.
How about a virtual tour of bucket-list attractions like Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal? You could take a virtual field trip of the Kennedy Space Centre or maybe follow a livestream of an Australian koala. If music is your thing how about tuning in to the live concerts performed at the Royal Albert Hall, which as a planned programme online. If you prefer rock, Metallica have a similar programme and if you are feeling a little more laid back try Neil Young or Nora Jones. You can keep up to date with what’s happening via websites like billboard.com.
You could even join in the latest way to socialise with friends over video chat, by holding your own Quarantini Happy Hour. Simply stated, a quarantini is a cocktail (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) made from whatever ingredients you have on hand at home. The easiest way is to make variants of classic cocktails based on one-ingredient substitutions. One expert cited a Negroni, with equal proportions of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. When gin was swapped out for whiskey, the Boulevardier was invented. Jane Danger, the national mixologist for Pernod Ricard suggests starting by selecting your spirit of choice and base your “sweet” and “sour” upon it. “Ransack your cupboard. Dried herbs and spices make great salts and sugars which you can grind together and use to rim the glass.” So with lots of suggestions online, why not have a go?