CORONABOBS ISOLATION DAY 39 – Diary of a Self-Isolator 23.4.2020 BLOG 25th April 2020

CORONABOBS ISOLATION DAY 39 – Diary of a Self-Isolator Thursday 23rd April 2020

Today was St. George’s Day

Unfortunately, a very different St. George’s Day to other years. But still St. George’s Day.

Left St.George’s Day Nottingham 2019 – Right St George’s Day, Nottingham 2020

There appears to be a great deal of illness going around that is not Covid-19 related too. We have heard of two people close to us who are ill, and in both cases not immediately obvious exactly what the cause is. One is my other son-in-law’s mother and my brother-in-law. Our thoughts and get well soon wishes go out to them both. Get Well Quick!

The first human trial in Europe of a coronavirus vaccine has begun in Oxford

Two volunteers were injected, the first of more than 800 people recruited for the study.

Half will receive the Covid-19 vaccine, and half a control vaccine which protects against meningitis but not coronavirus.

The design of the trial means volunteers will not know which vaccine they are getting, though doctors will.

Elisa Granato, one of the two who received the jab, told the BBC: “I’m a scientist, so I wanted to try to support the scientific process wherever I can.”

The vaccine was developed in under three months by a team at Oxford University. Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, led the pre-clinical research.

“Personally, I have a high degree of confidence in this vaccine,” she said.

“Of course, we have to test it and get data from humans. We have to demonstrate it actually works and stops people getting infected with coronavirus before using the vaccine in the wider population.”

Prof Gilbert previously said she was “80% confident” the vaccine would work, but now prefers not to put a figure on it, saying simply she is “very optimistic” about its chances.

Up to 10 million key workers and their households can now book a coronavirus test online or through their employer.

The move allows all essential workers in England to register for tests on the government’s website, if they or a family member have virus symptoms.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the expanded testing programme was “part of getting Britain back on her feet”.

The government remains some way short of its target of 100,000 tests a day in England by the end of this month.

Thursday’s figures showed 23,560 tests were carried out, though Mr Hancock said capacity had now increased to 51,000 per day.

 Big Night In – a star-studded BBC fundraising telethon – took place in the UK from 7.00pm until 10.00pm.

The programme was introduced by Sir Lenny Henry, Zoe Ball and Paddy McGuinness. They raised £67m to go to various charities. Peter Kay re-did (Is this the way) to Amarillo. But people are commenting on the Internet how ill he looked. Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber did a performance of their 2012 track “Sing” and linked up with many other artistes on video-links.

Peter Kay & Tony Christie – Amarillo For Covid-19 Big Night In

People across the UK clapped in appreciation for carers in the usual 8.00pm stand on your front doorstep and clap.

Our main TV watching incorporated Comedy and travel with Gordon, Rino,& Fred’s American Road Trip. Excellent, entertaining TV. Sadly the series has come to an end. What do we do Thursday after the Big Clap, now.

The news is quite rightly filled with items about Covid-19. But it does mean it is easy to miss other news items. One such item was three days ago the death of Ronan O’Rahilly the founder of pirate Radio Caroline in 1964. I was a major Pirate Radio fan in the mid-1960s. I loved Radio Caroline, Radio London and Radio 270.

Ronan O’Rahilly obituary

Founder of Radio Caroline, the pirate radio station that captured the spirit of the swinging 60s

Anthony Hayward

Ronan O’Rahilly, who has died aged 79 after suffering from dementia, was the Irish maverick who took on the British political and broadcasting establishments by launching the UK’s first offshore pirate station, Radio Caroline, on Easter Sunday 1964.

The swinging 60s were under way, but the BBC, which had a monopoly on radio broadcasting, played few pop records on its Light Programme (the forerunner of Radio 2), so Radio Luxembourg – with its powerful transmitter beaming programmes across Europe – was the sole refuge for those seeking the revolutionary new music. Also, the BBC played singles only by established artists, while a handful of record companies had a stranglehold on Radio Luxembourg airplay.

So, influenced by offshore stations in Scandinavia and the Netherlands, O’Rahilly decided to launch Radio Caroline outside British territorial waters off the coast of Essex to beam its broadcasts to the mainland.

Although he later said his name for the station was influenced by seeing a picture of President John F Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline, on the cover of Life magazine, friends said it came from his then girlfriend, Caroline Maudling, who wrote a Travelling Teenager column in the Daily Mail and was the daughter of the Conservative chancellor of the exchequer, Reginald Maudling.

At a port owned by his father in Greenore, County Louth, O’Rahilly had a former Danish passenger ferry, the MV Frederica, fitted with studios, transmitters and a 180ft-high mast.

From the station’s opening with the Rolling Stones single Not Fade Away, Caroline captured the spirit of the age, becoming a musical and cultural phenomenon, with other pirates such as Radio Atlanta, Radio London and Radio City following.

Life was hardly glamorous at Radio Caroline, where the world-famous ‘chef’ was a gay Dutch man who favoured oily meatballs and flavoured everything with cinnamon. The DJs lived on toast and Weetabix, earned £25 a week and worked in a tiny studio with a single porthole.

Beers were limited to two a day, drugs were banned (a rule not strictly observed) and girls weren’t allowed on board (after an unfortunate incident with one DJ’s girlfriend, a transparent negligee and the more red-blooded staff). Only cigarettes were unlimited.

Ultimately, its success led to the BBC’s launch in 1967 of Radio 1, Britain’s first legal pop music station, which became a natural home to some of those DJs who had served their apprenticeship with O’Rahilly in gale-force winds in the North Sea – including Tony Blackburn, Johnnie Walker, Simon Dee, Dave Lee Travis and Emperor Rosko.

The 1967 Marine Broadcasting Offences Act made it illegal for British citizens to be associated with Caroline. It continued to broadcast, but its influence diminished further after the launch of commercial radio stations in the 1970s, despite O’Rahilly rebranding it as a showcase for album tracks.

After going through five different ships – one of them sank – and being supported by benefactors such as the Beatle George Harrison, the station closed in 1991 when the final vessel, the Ross Revenge, was shipwrecked.

Seven years later, the station was revived from land-based studios with satellite transmissions, then online, before being awarded a community radio licence by Ofcom, covering Suffolk and north Essex, in 2017 – finally making it part of the broadcasting establishment.

Radio Caroline’s story inspired the writer-director Richard Curtis’s 2009 pirate radio feature film The Boat That Rocked.

O’Rahilly ventured into films himself as executive producer of two 1968 productions: The Girl on a Motorcycle, memorably starring the singer Marianne Faithfull as a newlywed clad in black leather on a visit to her former lover, and Two Virgins, a short accompanying John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s avant-garde album of that title.

He also made Universal Soldier (1971), featuring George Lazenby as a mercenary in Africa. It came two years after Lazenby’s starring role as James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which not only flopped, but was notable for O’Rahilly having disastrously advised Lazenby – whom he managed – not to sign a seven-film deal because he doubted that the 007 craze would last.

His last attempt at feature film production was Gold (1972), a hippy story influenced by the counterculture of Easy Rider, but O’Rahilly’s legacy remained in the history of radio.

He was born in Dublin, the third of five children of Aodogán O’Rahilly, who had business interests in manufacturing and shipping, and his wife, Marion (nee O’Connor). Aodogán’s father, Michael, had been a leader of the nationalist Irish volunteer force and one of those rebels killed by British soldiers in Dublin during the 1916 Easter Rising.

Ronan inherited the business acumen and rebellious nature of his forebears, trading in stamps and fizzy drinks at school. He claimed to have been expelled from seven schools before heading to London in his teens.

As manager of the Scene club, in Soho, he was acknowledged by Alan Price, who performed there, as helping to form the band the Animals. After spotting the talent of Georgie Fame, another regular there, he organised the recording of a promotional single. Then, on discovering that the policies of the BBC and Radio Luxembourg meant the single would never be broadcast, he set up Radio Caroline.

In 1966, when it needed a financial boost, O’Rahilly gave Phil Solomon, a Northern Irish talent manager with acts such as the Bachelors, a 20% stake in the station. The pair then founded the Major Minor record label, whose artists such as the Dubliners and the folk singer David McWilliams were steered to success with airplay on the station.

 Ronan O’Rahilly: pirate radio’s godfather made a sea change in British pop

O’Rahilly also briefly managed the American rock band MC5 during their final year, 1972, two years after his idea of launching Caroline TV failed to take off. He then spent much of the decade promoting the spiritual teacher Ram Dass’s hippy philosophy of “loving awareness” on Radio Caroline. He even formed a band with that name who released a 1976 album of the same title, with Beatles-like songs mostly produced by Harrison. The musicians went on to become Ian Dury’s band, the Blockheads.

In 1993, O’Rahilly married Catherine Hamilton-Davies.

He was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2012 and, a year later, moved back to County Louth with Inês Rocha Trindade, who looked after him during his illness. She survives him, along with Catherine, his stepson, Caspian, and his sisters, Nuala, Roisín and Iseult.

  • Aodogán Ronan O’Rahilly, radio entrepreneur and film producer, born 21 May 1940; died 20 April 2020
Ronan O’Rahilly, third from left, with former Caroline DJs Tony Blackburn, Tom Lodge, Johnnie Walker, Mike Ahern and Mark Sloane, on a visit to the Radio Caroline ship at Canary Wharf, London, in 1997.






Relax. It’s just the darkness. Just before the sunrise.


Happiness is…listening to Radio Caroline, Radio London and Radio 270


Correct punctuation: the difference between a sentence that’s well-written and a sentence that’s, well, written


Love is…sharing us time instead of me time



DAY 19        17 Times – 153 Feet Cumulative Total 2,790 Feet



Caroline by The Fortunes

  1. Caroline The Fortunes 2:03


Country                 Confirmed cases  Deaths

1              US                          905,333                 51,949

2              Italy                      192,994                 25,969

3              Spain                     219,764                 22,524

4              France                   120,804                 21,856

5              UK                         144,640                 19,567

6              Belgium                44,293                   6,679

7              Germany              154,999                 5,760

8              Iran                       88,194                   5,574

9              China                    82,819                   4,632

10           Netherlands         36,729                   4,304


UK deaths yesterday 768


Global cases

Updated 25 Apr at 09:07 local

Confirmed            2,790,986              +81,503

Deaths                   195,920                 +5,048

Recovered             781,382                 +38,527









©2020 Phil M Robinson