The news round the World is already full of it telling us that there really could be, that frightening word, a pandemic.
I don’t want to write about it because every time there is an outbreak of some virus that has leapt from farmyard animals to humans the media and then its readers get into a panic and before long we are all awaiting the end of the World as we know it.
I remember chicken ‘flu. It jumped from some very unhealthy looking Asian hens into a couple poultry farmers and then that was it. I wrote my will, did a few of those things that I always wanted to do before I died and then followed the potential pandemic cross the world in the daily papers.
There was a chicken Armageddon in Asia but I suppose we should not lament those chicken deaths too much. Hens and cockerels, from the moment they are born are on a one way street to slaughter.
People died too for sure, ‘flu kills people no matter which animal it jumps from, but the only real pandemic that time was panic.
I don’t want to write about Swine ‘Flu because, looking at pictures of people round the world walking around in surgical masks, I know only too well how panic overtakes those other people known as “the general public.”
In Britain recently, there was an announcement asking people not to ring 999 in cases of the common cold.
Other people are always the problem. If it wasn’t for the general public then we would all be quite safe.
I am sure that the common cold is spread mostly by sufferers sitting in doctor’s waiting rooms waiting to be told that there was no cure and they should go to bed with plenty of drinks and some paracetamol.
They will have then passed on their germs to people in the waiting room with more serious illnesses who are made more vulnerable by catching an unnecessary infection.
If that sort of panic happens when people catch a cold, Heaven help us when Swine ‘Flu panic sets in.
I am not going to write about Swine ‘Flu because I am not a doctor and I really don’t understand the finer points of viral infections. How do we know that this particular strain is going to reach pandemic proportions? Well, I guess we don’t.
People are catching it in ones and twos all over the World now and Mexico has had about 100 fatalities most of which have yet to be verified as cases of Swine ‘Flu.
So even though the World Health Authority says there is no reason to avoid going to Mexico, no one is going to listen. Well, I am certainly not booking a weekend break in Mexico City.
That is why I am not writing about Swine ‘Flu. It is just too easy to be spooked by it all.
Not only am I not going to Mexico any time soon, I am wondering whether I will even go outside my own front door until all this has settled down.
I only have to hear someone sneeze and I know I have caught a cold. That sneeze on a train, in a shop, or yes, in the doctor’s waiting room, and my body clock counts three days and then there is it, my very own cold.
Immune system? What’s that?
I don’t want to write about Swine ‘Flu because every time one of these scare stories begin, I am convinced that I am going to catch it, whatever it is.
When I was a child, I wanted to be a farmer and my most priced possessions were my toy farm animals and farmers with the appropriate tractors and trailers. I still have most of them, apart from my farmer who was decapitated by my elder brother who is never to be forgiven.
That was the nearest I got to farming – apart from those Enid Blyton books like Children at Cherry Tree Farm.
I have kept that love of the romanticised farm yard though. It is situated somewhere in the 1920s or even earlier when you scattered grain for the hens in the courtyard and cows and sheep all had names. None of them, not even the pigs, ever made it to the lunch table and none of them ever gave anyone ‘flu.
So maybe I don’t want to write about Swine ‘Flu because I feel let down by the farmyard. Chickens, then pigs, who will be next? Not my sheep, please!