Pat Blythe – Is that hand sanitizer in your pocket or are you just happy to be within 6ft of me…..and music…..

I keep checking my calendar to see what day it is. It’s Toosday….column writing day and the last day of March….out like a lamb. With the kinder weather approaching the great outdoors beckons. We still need to stretch our legs, get some fresh air, shop for the necessities and experience some sort of live human connection, even from a distance. We need it to thrive. Zoom, Skype, et al simply don’t cut it 100% of the time. Just don’t be stupid or careless about it. Common sense should prevail. Don’t be breathing down each other’s necks. Hugging and kissing are verboten for the moment. Social distancing is the new norm. When around other humans respect their space and give them some space.

The boys from Brass Transit on Zoom

Some of us have others with which to share this experience….someone to share our bubble. But many don’t and that can be just as harmful as the virus itself. Left alone with no human voice or contact can be just as deadly. Those who already suffer mental health issues such as depression, forced isolation can exacerbate the already growing black cloud floating above them.

Those who are particularly sensitive to the pervasive doom and gloom, along with the barrage of discouraging and dismal information emanating from the radio or TV, are also deeply affected mentally and emotionally.

Saying hello or even smiling while out for a stroll is not a death sentence. You won’t catch (or transmit) anything by sporting a grin. Interactions with each other are important. We’re already talking to the service people ringing up our purchases; so when you’re out for that daily constitutional, at least acknowledge others on the street with a wave, a smile or hello. We all need it and it could brighten someone’s day!

Walking the dog (or the cat)…..

When walking your dog, keep it on a tight leash and give other walkers wide berth. Keep up a good pace…..Fido doesn’t need to stop and check for messages at every post and fire hydrant. You’re out to exercise, not schmooze. If a friendly stranger decides your dog needs a pat, wipe him down (the dog, not the stranger) when you get home with a solution of warm water and vinegar. This will also add extra shine to Fido’s coat.

Please DON’T use sanitizer on the paws of any animal. It’s toxic! The ethanol causes a whole host of nasty reactions including lethargy, vomiting, weak respiration, loss of blood pressure… get the picture. They lick their paws…..we don’t lick our hands. Mild soap and water will do just fine.


When fondling the fruit and veg at the market (get your mind out of the gutter) keep this in mind. According to the CDC and the FDA, “there is no evidence the virus is transmittable by produce such as fruits and veggies.” Also the Food Safety Authority of Ireland state, “the coronavirus needs a host – either an animal or human – to grow so it’s impossible for it to grow in food.” The same practices that are normally used to reduce any contamination risk, such as washing your hands and the produce you are about to consume, are always applicable to reduce the risk of contracting any virus including COVID-19. So, fondle away, just don’t touch your face, and wash AND dry your hands thoroughly when you get home.

How long this pandemic will last is anyone’s guess. Nobody has control of the crystal ball to predict the future. Tragically the experts don’t either.


When the times seem a little dark it’s just a call to be more LIGHT! Let your joy fly, crank the tune and dance in the kitchen!”—Michael & Ali Hoffman

Quarantine Challenge 2K20

Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin (with Robin Williams)

Take It All In Stride – Drop Top Alibi

Cry Wolf – Hot Lips

Eisbaer – The Crooked (Grauzone cover)

Chains – Dear Rouge

Chasing Dreams – Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar

End of My Rope – Mushy Callahan

Settle of the Dust – Suzi Kory

Warrior – Lady Cove Women’s Choir & Eastern Owl

Girls – Courage My Love

Smile – Nat King Cole (Charlie Chaplin)

Note: I don’t consider myself an expert. However, I’ve spent a great deal of time researching COVID-19 and the transmission of viruses in general. I’ve had to write a number of pieces for a client so due diligence was required. I don’t take the world’s situation lightly, but I also like to inject a little humour. I am both an optimist and a realist. I’m also certainly not one for diving into bed and pulling the covers up over my head. Like Chris, “research” is my middle name.

The general rule with any virus including the common cold(s) or flu….wash AND dry your hands thoroughly, keep your hands away from mucus membranes such as eyes, nose and mouth, don’t be hugging and kissing anyone and keep a safe distance away from people. Any virus can live on hard surfaces, outside the human body, for varying periods of time, and this one is no different. COVID-19 is our wakeup call.

Stay safe. Stay healthy.



Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

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