Life in Deepest, Darkest SE Leicestershire with Covid-19 and Leigh Nichols

Well – who could have known, mid-March 2020, what was immediately in front of us all? Weeks of lockdown, shielding, self-isolation and all the following implications?

Certainly not me as the awfulness gradually became apparent, until some three months later one asks, how can this all end happily?

There are silver linings of course. Our small village has closed ranks, with community spirit (‘We’re all in the same boat, all for one and one for all’), youngest son has cheerfully and regularly delivered food parcels, gardens have never looked better and even the weather has been kind (well mostly).

There is always much to do, but the joy of plaiting cobwebs and re-arranging dust disappeared weeks ago. There are only so many weeds one can halt mid-career and, after concentrated application, I have to concede that the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ needlepoint cushion will not be completed in time for the grand-daughter’s birthday (although it will be in time for a good start to Christmas present buying).

But more and more I have turned to my love of reading. I am never going to run out of reading matter, even venturing into tomes that I do not remember cramming onto the bookshelf.

Casting around for my next ‘escape from reality’ a few days ago, I came across a small, unconsidered paperback, author Leigh Nichols (who?? never heard of him) and thought ‘I’ll read this and then discard it – making room for another book…’

Apparently Leigh Nichols wrote ‘The Eyes of Darkness’ in 1981, later to transmogrify himself into Dean Koontz when he really hit his stride. I’ve never read DK, I know he is very popular, selling millions of books worldwide but rashly felt that it was not ‘my kind of thing’.

As I read into the book, my suspicions seemed to be confirmed. However, I have always maintained that any book has a ‘nugget’ to offer the reader and usually I do not like abandoning a book mid-stream, so I persevered.

As the mystery unfolds and approaches the denouement, lo and behold on pages 308/310 of my 322 page edition, I read the following:

This is the only facility (i.e research lab) of its kind that we have. The Chinese have three like it. The Russians… they’re now supposed to be our new friends, but they keep developing bacteriological weapons, new and more virulent strains of viruses… Iraq has a big bio-chem warfare project…

…China’s most important and dangerous new biological weapon in a decade. They call the stuff ‘WUHAN-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside the city of Wuhan…

Going back to my original question, ‘who could have known what was in front of us all?’ Obviously the writer (later known as DK) and of course the wise president of USA. Perhaps he’s a fan of DK?

I wish I had never read this book and still don’t know how I came to have it in the house but for anyone who might be interested, the ISBN is 978-1-4722-4029-3

Happy reading and Keep Safe.