Geneva, Thursday 9 April 2020
Today’s news is full of interesting snippets. Boris Johnson is out of intensive care. There is a cease-fire in Yemen’s brutal war; the agreed aim is to facilitate management of the pandemic there. Cats have been found to carry the coronavirus and cat-owners are advised to keep Paws indoors. Dogs are OK apparently. The Geneva-based, Trump-bashed World Health Organisation is warning of a global surge in fake medicines on the back of the pandemic. I guess DT might label this as fake news! The Asian stock markets are recovering as a result of the clear downturn in the number of COVID-19 cases in China. Understandable. Elsewhere, shares in companies that deal in, among other things, cruise holidays have taken an upturn. Not understandable. But then, this sort of thing has always been a mystery to me. A friend who knows about such matters thought that maybe “the algorithms” were never written to accommodate an event such as a pandemic. Struggling with that one!
My incomprehension – or maybe distrust – of the world of high finance was not helped by a telephone call I received at 15:00 on 9 March or “Black Monday.” (This was the day that saw the greatest stock market losses since the Great Recession fuelled by investor panic over the looming pandemic and the war of words between Russia and Saudi Arabia about oil prices.) The call came from a “personal finance adviser” at my bank here in Switzerland; he was enquiring as to whether I might want to discuss the opportunities offered by the bank’s new investment portfolio. One of us was clearly missing something. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I suggested he might want to take a quick peek at a reliable news outlet. I will not name the bank.
Pandemic-related image-of-the-day is a collage of photos taken by London-based photographer, Dan Giannopolous. He is fascinated by how the pandemic has made rubber gloves a major component of the litter on Britain’s streets. Awful photos. Great image, Dan. Thanks.
Talking of creative stuff…… The weekend before France went into lockdown, my wife and I were beaten in the final of the Leman Mixed Foursomes Matchplay by Michelle and Phil from Chamonix; two extremely competent and competitive golfers. At the prize giving, (where we all thought we were being so savvy by bumping elbows instead of shaking hands!) I asked Michelle what she does for a living. It turns out that this lady has talents far beyond golf. Originally from Hawaii, she travelled through the French alps some years ago and simply hasn’t moved on. The environment inspired her interest in jewelry-making. I asked her if she had any photos of her work. Out came the iPhone and OMG! Better still, she had a ring or two in the car to show us. The impromptu display sent a number of lady golfers into quite a tizzy. You will understand why.
Michelle’s pièce de résistance is this three-part engagement-wedding ring. It is simply stunning. It features a nearby alpine range. The “sky” makes space for a brilliant orb of Chamonix crystal that has been plucked from the rocks high above town and then machined by Daniel, a local gemologist. See more of Michelle’s beautiful stuff here.
The putting match….. Abandoned this evening because of hunger and poor light after the fourth play-off hole. Both of us sunk 20 of 22 putts! To be continued tomorrow.
We’ve just heard through informal channels that the Swiss lockdown is likely to be extended from 19 April to 26 April. We might head out to the near-illicit-lockdown-stay-at-home-street-non-party later this evening. That’s sure to cheer us up.
Q: How many Brits in lockdown does it take to change a light bulb? A: As many as there in the house. Just one holds the bulb and the rest drink until the room starts spinning!