(Don't Panic)

Published 26 March 2020

What a difference a week makes. As highly trained professionals we like to feel that we have some control, now like people everywhere we realise that we are being swept along by events.

The 42nd anniversary of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was last weekend. In the Book’s introduction it was noted that although ‘although it contains much that is apocryphal or at least wildly inaccurate’ that it had advantages over the standard texts in being slightly cheaper and having the words ‘Don’t panic’ written on the cover. In these times of stress the new TJTO&C can have a similar relationship with the more established JTO. It is a transient online publication to fill a gap in the market.

There is much happening both to us and around us. We are thrown together by a communal threat and our response to it, and yet in so many respects we are more isolated. That ‘We are all in this together’ is a cliché, but with our social distancing we are indeed all in this apart. The TJTO&C as a transient online Journal will be published as frequently as there is sufficient material (so possibly just once). The content should be at least one of, but hopefully more of, informative, thought provoking and entertaining. As with any Journal it is the sharing of relevant ideas and insights which is the main and laudable objective, however, in the current circumstances there needs to be scope to sweeten the pill of knowledge with some content of a more responsive, lighter and looser style.

I suspect that the camaraderie evident in some around us as they pull together for the common cause may mask the worry and loneliness of others. We know that there are physical risks to be faced over the ensuing weeks and there is much being said about their mitigation. Indeed, as practical people it is our tendency to focus on those tangible problems. But, there is also mental anguish; the daily tussle with yet another teleconferencing App or the squabbling over bandwidth with the other victims cabin fever in a locked down home. Don’t succumb to the temptations of binge watching just because you have taken out a new subscription. Don’t maim yourself in an ill judged attempt to deal with the suspect guttering that has bothered you for ten years. Instead, write something for your colleagues. Success will depend on submissions, 500 or so words of wisdom should be the target. Do bear in mind that TJTO&C will be on the BOA website which is open access.

This first edition sets the scene for those to follow. The four articles are all reactions to the current crisis. The inclusion of the ‘Transient’ in title is an acknowledgment that what anyone writes today may seem dated by the end of the week, if not the end of the sentence.

We must accept that the face of T&O is changing to combat Coronavirus. In one instance at least this change is not just figurative but literal. The result for me has been thermally disappointing but does allow an excellent seal with the PPE.

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Write something to inform us and to cheer us up.

Keep safe.

Bob Handley

Contributions should be sent to [email protected] with the subject line: TJTO&C.