A day may come, when the strength of men fails,
When we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship.
But it is not this day!”
Aragorn, King of Gondor
As we enter the first days of the tempest that is the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels like a suitable time to put pen to paper again to document the landscape. It seems likely that we are living through a moment in history (a ‘once in a century event’ our health secretary has called it), and it is already starting to feel a little surreal from here. I can imagine that this might be what it was like in the early days of the great wars, or the worst days of the cold war: a sense of colossal forces moving throughout the world, whose potential impact is unclear, but almost certainly massive. A slight variation on this feeling is that we, as healthcare workers, are the footsoldiers in this upcoming battle, and with the knowledge that first contact with the enemy is imminent (I appreciate that, at the time of publishing this, the first contact has probably arrived for many of you). But enough over-dramatic build up for now, and time to do some more useful writing. Here, I hope to put down a few thoughts to entertain (or maybe just occupy) those who are stuck in self-isolation at this time, and also provide a reference point for posterity; to allow myself (and anyone else that is interested) to look back at the time before the wave hit, and recall what we were thinking.