Educational resources for lockdown from the Red Cross

Screenshot from Red Cross website

The British Red Cross has a series of free resources for you and your children this spring.

Starting with first aid, kindness and the covid-19 outbreak, they go on to explore the role of the Red Cross in helping people in conflict and disaster situations, and invite young people to discover why humanitarianism is so important.

The Conversation – a useful source of information

The Conversation

is a magazine of short articles written by experts – that is people affiliated to a university, a teaching hospital etc. In order to write, they have to state their affiliation, and disclose any funding or relationship that might affect their views.

They write for free, and they write in large numbers. Some of the most interesting conversations about the science of covid-19, the emotional, economic, political and environmental effects, and how to stay safe and sane – are happening here.

Unsurprisingly, these experts don’t always agree!

But they tend to the sane, thoughtful, and knowledgeable.

At a time when many ‘celebrities’ seem to think their role is to spread the latest gossip/rumour/nonsense, it’s good to listen in on experts sharing knowledge and ideas, changing their minds (!), and learning from each other.

I would say that the comments range from the extremely thoughtful and enlightening to the usual trolls (who for some reason think their role in life is to be as annoying as possible), but that’s comments for you. Take them with a big pinch of salt 🙂

And if you’re interested in the discussions going on elsewhere, there are also editions for other English-speaking countries, and at least one in French, and another in Spanish.

I would particularly recommend the global perspectives – at this time, it’s particularly helpful to have a sense of how other places are affected, and what they’re doing…

And of course, there are other pressing issues beyond the pandemic!

News from South Warks NHS Trust

A new email update from the Trust has arrived, with more on its response to covid-19.

It explains how to send physical messages to loved ones in hospital, now that visiting has stopped. It also looks as the use of ibroprufen where covid-19 is suspected.

Find it here:

For up to date info on how the Trust’s hospitals and appointments are currently affected: 


New Scientist – latest podcast – Coronavirus questions answered

The latest New Scientist podcast is available:

From the website:

“In the pod for this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Graham Lawton. Also, the poet laureate Simon Armitage reads a poem written in response to the coronavirus crisis, called Lockdown. We discuss when you are likely to be at the peak of infection, whether it is possible to be infected twice, and why the coronavirus doesn’t seem to be affected much by heat and humidity. We also offer our tips for maintaining a healthy mental state during lockdown.”

Join the #FixAtHome Challenge

Have you come across Sugru yet?

It’s a mouldable glue, with beautiful colours and a million uses.

Invented by Jane NĂ­ Dhulchaointigh from Kilkenny, Ireland, sugru has become a world-wide phenomenon.

Use it to mend your wellington boots, your mug, to make hooks, and hold your tablet in position so you can watch recipe videos while cooking. It’s being used to personalise bikes and travel gear, and in industry.

Sugru is a wonderful material to help you with iFixit’s

And you might like to read the inspiring tale of how Jane first dreamed up and then created her mouldable glue:, a process that took years and a close-knit multidisciplinary team.

If you can’t go to the Lake District, let the Lake District come to you

There’s been a petition for a while on about protecting the Lake District National Park’s World Heritage status. It’s under threat from an influx of SUVs and motorcycles using the green lanes and bridle ways in one area.

Today, an update mentions ambient video artist, Ben Dickey.

You can stream his video for an hour or two, and look out, through your smart tv, computer or tablet, at a wood near Rydal Water filled with bluebells – a window through time to last summer.

You might like it, he suggests, as a background to your work, or to your life generally. “The aim is to increase your productivity, creativity and wellbeing…” he says.

There are more videos below – several more of the Lake District and one of Dartmoor (and another of Battersea Power Station, seen across the Thames).


Thinking ahead – what Venezuela might teach us

No-one is keen on the lockdown, however necessary it is.

But taken overall, we’re relatively very  very lucky – there’s plenty of food in warehouses all over the country, we have wonderful NHS staff, our national infrastructure might creak in places, but it mostly works.

Others, for example, the people of Venezuela, have had things much harder long before any pandemic arrived.

This TED talk, from February, explains how Venezuelan ex-pats are using technology (twitter especially) to help friends, relatives and the people back at home to access medicine, share information, and stay in touch with each other.

If things get difficult here – and we really hope they don’t – we may find ourselves learning from their example. There’s such a lot that can be done at local level!

And if, as we hope, we are spared the worst, perhaps we could support these and other developments. We’re being brought to a realisation of how precarious our societies are, and how much we rely on each other – let’s keep that understanding right through the crisis and out the other side!