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Reading through this information, I’m left thinking that some people need their heads read!! I know I push myself and I’ve done some crazy shit when on my long-distance walks, but I would not want to do any of this. Thank the lord it’s a virtual climb and I don’t ACTUALLY have to do this πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜„ instead I was whizzing around Salisbury

Exploring Salisbury – far more my style ☺

Starting out with an easy hike, I nearly missed the iconic yellow and red sign against a huge boulder simply stating “Way to Everest B.C.” with a big red arrow beneath the words pointing towards base camp. At least I was certain I was on the right path.

After what felt like hours of trekking, the treacherous Khumbu Icefall loomed into view spilling its way down the valley between Everest and Nuptse. Khumbu Icefall sits at the head of Khumbu Glacier, a constantly moving sheet of compacted ice. As the glacier makes its way down the valley it fractures, creating deep crevasses that are always in motion and large towers of ice called seracs that are known to suddenly collapse.
Making the final ascent I arrived at the cairn adorned in prayer flags with its rudimentary sign signalling that I have arrived at Everest Base Camp (17,477ft/5,327m). It was located on a scree-covered section (loose broken stones) at the foot of Khumbu Icefall. I settled into one of the yellow tents and mentally prepared for the high altitude acclimatisation process I would begin to endure.

As sea-level dwellers our bodies are not designed to live at high altitude but we are certainly capable of adapting to it through appropriate acclimatisation. The higher we go, our bodies go through physiological changes by producing more red blood cells in order to carry more oxygen to our muscles and organs whilst combating the thinner air.

The acclimatisation process on Everest is lengthy taking up to a month and done by exposing the body to higher and higher altitude then descending to sleep, recover and overcome any signs of acute mountain sickness due to sudden changes in altitude.

High altitude sickness can affect any person regardless of fitness or age. Ignored or left untreated altitude sickness can have serious consequences including fatality by developing either into cerebral oedema or pulmonary oedema which is fluid build-up in the brain or lungs. Some of the immediate ways to treat altitude sickness is by taking specific medication, supplemental oxygen and/or descending.

During that month I climbed and returned to base camp three times with each climb going higher. It looked something like this:
1. Base camp to icefall, return to base camp. Have a day of rest.
2. Base camp across icefall to Camp 1 and stay; then Camp 2 return to Camp 1 for sleep; then Lohtse Face return to Camp 2 for sleep; and descend back to base camp. Have four days of rest.
3. Climb to Camp 1 and stay; then Camp 2 and rest the next day; then Camp 3 return to sleep at Camp 2; and descend back to base camp. Have five days of rest and wait for the right weather to summit.

The anticipation was over and the much awaited good-weather window presented itself for the final part of the expedition: Summitting Everest.

Starting in the wee hours of the morning, geared up and harness on I negotiated my way through the camp under the light of my headlamp to Crampon Point and attached my crampons to my boots.

Staring out at Khumbu Icefall with a good dose of mixed emotions I began the perilous yet now more familiar climb across. Crevasses were crossed on horizontal ladders and towering ice blocks on vertical ones. Some crevasses were so wide that more than one ladder had to be tied together to bridge the gap. For safety I was clipped into fixed lines. If I was to lose my footing on the ladders and fall the fixed lines would help break my fall. Climbs in some areas fluctuated between 20 to 60 degree angles but there was no time to dwell as the ongoing shifting and settling of the glacier and icefall was a constant reminder how unsafe the area was and moving quickly was necessary.

Several hours passed crossing the icefall till I made it to a large flat expanse of snow with more ladders to climb all the way to Camp 1. Situated at 19,390ft (5,910m), Camp 1 was in the middle of the Western Cwm (Cwm is Welsh for valley), a broad and flat glacial valley. From here I could see the Pumo Ri Mountain to the west and Lhotse Face straight up the valley. I then climbed on to Camp 2 about 1.74mi (2.8km) further up from Camp 1. Located at the base of a gully on scree, Camp 2 was well provisioned and is often considered as Advanced Base Camp. I stopped for a day of rest.

Early next morning I began making my way across the Western Cwm to the base of Lhotse Face where I had to cross a short ladder over a bergschrund (a deep crevasse where the steep slope meets the glacier). Lhotse Face is a 3,690ft (1,125m) glacial wall of blue ice. Sections of Lhotse Face average 40 degrees incline thereby needing to kick my crampon points into the ice to secure my footing. Throughout this climb I was clipped into a fixed line which was attached to the face with ice screws and anchors. I could feel the altitude change, my breathing labouring as I slowly and steadily climbed my way into Camp 3. I was now at 24,015ft (7,320m) gaining an elevation of 6,538ft (1,993m) from base camp. There were several camping spots here, essentially wherever one could find a flat spot to pitch a tent. I remained fixed to my safety line. The sun was up bestowing me with glorious views of the valley below, the peak of Pumo Ri and the others beyond.

Quite honestly, that all just sounds like a lot of hard work – so for me, its a no thanks. I’ll stick with my virtual journey and leave this to someone else. Seriously?? Why would anyone want to do this??

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I finally found a bit of space to start reading up on the Mt. Everest virtual challenge which I completed last month, and although I had decided to not post any further posts about the various challenges I’m following, this was so very interesting that I changed my mind and so here we go….I hope you enjoy reading more about Everest and what the climbers who actually go there experience. So often we read or hear about climbers and teams of people who climb Mt Everest but we seldom read about the finer details. So this has been really interesting.

I actually started the challenge in Ramsgate on the 10th February on the tail-end of the ‘beast from the east’ snow storm. So this is a bit behind the actual times πŸ˜‰ But since it’s not real anyway, it doesn’t really matter…anyway, I hope you enjoy reading these posts…

Where I actually was….pretty realistic really

Flying into Kathmandu is a walk in the park when compared to Lukla. Dubbed as the most dangerous airport in the world, Lukla’s runway is a mere 1,729ft (527m) long, with mountainous terrain to the north and a steeply angled drop to the south. It is built on a 12% uphill gradient to help planes slow down. There are no go-around procedures if the planes miss their approach, as such only highly experienced pilots with short-takeoff-and-landing missions under their belt, experience in Nepal and ten flights in Lukla with a certified instructor, are permitted to land at the airport. In a nutshell if climbing Everest doesn’t cause prickles on the back of your neck, then a high intensity landing in Lukla certainly should.

Where I wasn’t really 😁😁 Stage 1

In 2008, Lukla airport was renamed Tenzing-Hillary Airport in honour of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the first climbers to reach the summit of Everest. Hillary was instrumental in the construction of the airfield in Lukla, building an unsurfaced airstrip on a mountain shelf in 1964. It took 37 years to finally asphalt the runway.

Home to 1200 people, the village sits at 9,383ft (2,860m) above sea level, nestled on a small plateau amongst the awe inspiring mountain peaks of the Himalayan Ranges. The nearly 40mi (64km) trek to Mount Everest, skirts steep mountainsides, through deep valleys and over alpine glaciers. The hike travels through small villages and teahouses, past prayer wheels and fluttering prayer flags to the memorial site honouring mountaineers and Sherpas who lost their lives climbing the mountain, continuing to Base Camp and then the final summit climb.
Leaving the viewing platform of the Lukla airport, I made my way through the centre of town on a narrow street that was sometimes cobbled and sometimes just compacted soil. Double-storey buildings lined the street filled with shops, teahouses and lodging services.

Shortly after leaving the village I passed through the National Luminary Pasan Lhamu Memorial Gate which was built to honour Pasan Lhamu, the first Sherpa woman to summit Everest in 1993. It is the gateway to the Khumbu Region that encompasses the Sagarmatha National Park and the Nepalese side of Mount Everest.

It was a gradual downhill hike, passing through a forest on narrow paths with the colossal mountainside ever present to my right. I continued on this downward hike, on a trail that wound itself up and down, passing through villages with teahouses until I reached Phakding, a small village that lies in the Dudh Kosi river valley. Here was the first of many suspension bridge crossings. The bridge, about 100ft (30m) above the river, stretched across what seemed to be an old landslide with large boulders and debris settling beside the river. As the bridge swayed and moved beneath my feet, I pondered about those whose fear of heights may find the crossing challenging. This isn’t the tallest suspension bridge on this trek, that is yet to come.

Finally reaching the small village of Benkar with its tin-roofed, brightly painted window frames, four-storey residences/storefronts, I settled into one of the teahouses for a meal. Known to aid with altitude adaptation I had garlic soup with Tibetan flat bread. Between the warmth of the soup and the crusty on the outside, fluffy on the inside bread, I filled my belly and finished with a Tibetan tea.
Rested and fed, I resumed my hike crossing another suspension bridge. Soon I reached the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park. A UNESCO listed site since 1976, the 1,148kmΒ² park is home to the Sherpa people, rare species like the snow leopard and several mountains including Mount Everest.

After obtaining the necessary permits to enter the park, I walked through the Jorsalle Entrance Gate, a concrete structure with Buddhist artwork on its interior walls to a set of steps that began a steep descent into a gorge, onto Jorsalle village, alongside the thundering Dhudh Kosi river and over two more suspension bridges.

However, what goes down, must come up and it wasn’t long before I engaged my hiking poles to start the steep ascent onto a woodland path until I reached a wide open low lying land beside the river filled with stones and boulders making trekking through it unstable and difficult.

But nothing prepared me for the next suspension bridge. Like all the others, Hillary Bridge was made of galvanized steel cables that’s connected to the grated deck by interlinked wire fence. An old version of the bridge was right beneath this one just hanging, blowing in the wind, no longer in use. At 410ft (125m) above the Dhudh Kosi river, this 459ft (140m) long bridge was exposed to the elements swaying laterally and vertically as the strong wind blew through the valley. It was a heart thumping, adrenaline spiking exercise that on this trek one could do without. I was grateful to reach solid ground.

If I ever entertained even the slightest idea of ACTUALLY doing this ‘walk’, reading about that bridge has pretty much scuppered any possibility 🀣🀣🀣 I don’t have a fear of heights and I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, but I have my limits πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

So, no go for me thanks, virtual suits me just fine.

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Wow, time sure does just fly by, and thank goddess for my ‘keeper of memories’ – my daughter 😍😍 who reminded me that it’s my citizenship anniversary today…5 years a good Citizen of the UK πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ I’m not sure about the ‘good’ part, although I do try, oh and I pay my taxes πŸ’·πŸ’ΈπŸ’ΈπŸ’Έ

So wow, how amazing. Although my citizenship ceremony was on the 25th of February, I received the official letter in the post on the 13th. Coincidentally, and 7 years earlier, was my daughter’s citizenship ceremony on the same date; 25th February. At the time the letter arrived I was working in Bexhill-on-Sea and had to wait a few days to actually hold the document in my hands. I was also very lucky to get a place for the actual ceremony on the 25th due to a cancellation. Otherwise I would have had to wait a few months!!

Presents from my chica

The ceremony took place at the Bishop’s Palace in Maidstone, and what a beautiful place it was too. Lucky me.

The Bishop’s Palace in Maidstone

On the day we dressed up in our finery, and headed over to Maidstone by train. Very early, we meandered around the town and took loads of photos…all of which, except for a few Instagram images, were lost when UPS lost my hard drive a few years ago 😠😠 along with 10 years of photos…thank goodness I have a habit of saving my Instagram images to dropbox, at least I have some photos saved.

Maidstone has oodles of history

Maidstone is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book (and in my Project 101πŸ˜‰) https://opendomesday.org/place/TQ7555/maidstone/

The Palace was absolutely stunning and although I would have loved the Queen to preside πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ‘ΈπŸ» I believe she was otherwise engaged and sent her apologies πŸ˜‰

Queenie, I was depending on you to be there!! 😏😏😏 and yes, copyright of this image belongs to the BBC πŸ™„πŸ™„

We had a superb day, and were amazed at how many different nationalities were swearing their allegiance to the Queen and new country. There were a number of South Africans, as well as people from Russia and the USA amongst a whole world of other nations.

Me and my girl ❀❀
The ceremonial ‘room’

After the ceremony which frankly passed in a blur of nerves….we went off and celebrated the only way you should, and how we celebrate best….with pancakes and ice-cream πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ€«πŸ€«

The only way to celebrate..pancakes and ice-cream – is there any other way??

Once the official stuff was out the way I could apply for my UK passport, and as soon as I received it….

Received my passport in March 2016 and should have said 15th anniversary 🀣🀣🀣 never mind, I’m still here 5 years later, so somewhere along the way I had my 17th
anniversary 😁😁

….the first thing I did was book a trip to France on the ferry so I could see the White Cliffs of Dover for real.

Just noticed that I inadvertently captured that lady in my photo πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ doesn’t she look pleased!!

There was nothing stopping me from taking the trip before, but it just made sense to do it then. And so it was that on the 2nd April 2016 I set sail for France!! Doesn’t that sound so adventurous!! ‘Set sail for France’….invokes images of days of yore when boats had sails…in reality the ferry had engines and we didn’t ‘sail’ so much as chuggg across the channel (which I’ve now swum – virtually of course 🀣🀣🀣)

On the ferry to France πŸ‡¨πŸ‡΅
02.04.2016 and I finally saw the White Cliffs of Dover from the sea 😍😍

I’ve since seen them from the air from a Spitfire flight my daughter gifted me for my birthday in 2018, and walked across the top last year in September.

I had a marvellous day meandering the streets of Calais and explored every nook and cranny I had time for, and then I bought some French pastries and headed back to the ferry…UK bound once again. I thought Calais was charmingly tatty….and really interesting.

The cream always looks more yummy than it tastes 😝😝

Later that month my daughter and I took a trip on the Eurostar to Paris for the day.

I love Paris in the spring time…
24.04.2016

It was so exciting to use my passport for the first time as a bonafide EU citizen, although sadly it’s now redundant.πŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺ

Hmmmm πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

And now my daughter is my keeper of memories and reminded me that it’s my 5th anniversary today….πŸ₯‚πŸΎ

And if you can bear it, a video of the White Cliffs from the ferry….I was just a tad emotional πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚β˜Ί

The White Cliffs of Dover 02.04.2016

And at the rate the east coast is being eaten away by the sea, it won’t look the same when my grandson reaches the age of 61!!!

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And with one final push, I completed the Mt. Fuji, Japan Conqueror challenge on the evening of the 29th December. After my walk earlier the day I noticed I had only just over 1km to go, so off I went πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

This final stage took me to the summit of Mt. Fuji, and apparently some of the best views….wish I was there for real πŸ˜‰πŸ”πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

I’ve enjoyed several days exploring the lakes, the forest, the ice caves and seeing Mount Fuji with its perfectly shaped cone from all angles but today was the day for the final climb to the summit.

Shortly after leaving the 5th Station I reached a fork in the trail. To the right was the trek to Fujiko. Heading left, I soon arrived at the Komitake Shrine, named after old Komitake Mountain which is now buried deep beneath Mount Fuji. The Shrine is important to many worshippers who each year on 1 July attend the Kaizansai festival and celebrate the opening of Mount Fuji.

From here to the 7th Station the trek weaved its way through a shady and dense forest. On hot summer days the forest provides a welcoming relief. The path itself was narrow and rough with rocks jutting out and tree branches stretching across the pathway. As with any climb sure-footedness was essential alongside some duck and weaving around branches. There were trail sections resembling carved out channels instead of just flat paths. I can imagine on foggy days this trail would be quite challenging with low visibility and for those who climb at night in order to catch the sunrise at the summit could run the risk of getting lost if not careful. Thankfully ropes line the route providing guidance and assistance up the mountain. Occasional openings in the forest canopy gave me glimpses of Fuji’s peak, like small teasers of what is yet to come.

Leaving the forest zone behind, there were no more trees, just very low shrubs with small white flowers. The ground became more rocky and gravel-like, making it looser underfoot. It makes me realise that although Mount Fuji is not a technically difficult climb, it does however, present its own set of challenges such as a sudden change in weather, the steep inclines, long switchbacks and more importantly the potential for altitude sickness because the oxygen density is only two-thirds of the normal oxygen thereby making it more difficult to breathe.

I forged my way onto the 8th Station where my trail merged with the very popular Yoshida Trail. As expected it became quite congested. Taking a slow and steady approach it was time for the final push. The terrain here was barren, vegetation seemed non-existent.

I knew the summit was near when I made my way through the white Torii gate, which stood proudly on a set of steps signifying that “heaven on earth” is within my grasp.

Reaching the summit though was not the end, yet. The final part was a walk around the crater on the Ohachimeguri Trail. The crater has a 2,560ft (750m) surface diameter and a depth of 790ft (240m). With its jagged edge, the crater is encircled by eight sacred peaks, each with their own name: Oshaidake, Izudake, Jojudake, Komagatake, Mushimatake, Kengamine, Hukusandake, and Kusushidake.

My quest ended at the Kusushi Shrine near the last station. Here I stood to absorb the aerial views, reflecting on my journey and contemplating my descent but that’s a story for another time.

On a final note, did you know that the top 1,312ft (400m) of Mount Fuji is actually private property? Here’s an online excerpt explaining how this ownership evolved:

“… belongs to Fujisan Hongu Sengentaisha, a Shinto shrine. The land originally belonged to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Edo Shogunate (1603 – 1867), and the area of Mt. Fuji from the 8th station to the top is said to have been given to this shrine as a gift by the Tokugawa clan in 1779. The land was re-designated as national property for a time after 1871, when the Tokugawa Shogunate relinquished power to the Imperial Court, but has since been returned to the Fujisan Hongu Sengentaisha. The Hongu (Main Shrine) of the shrine is at the foot of Mt. Fuji, and the Okumiya (Rear Shrine) is located at the mountain peak.”

So there you have it, my 5 Stages of the Mt. Fuji Conqueror challenge. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ I hope you enjoyed the journey, as well as all the information, and the amazing history linked to this iconic mountain…instantly recognisable. Who knew the top of Mt. Fuji was private property? πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

Hoorah!! 4 days to virtually ‘climb’ Mt. Fuji

Immediately after finishing this challenge I got started on the Alps to Ocean challenge in New Zealand (289.7kms). Nothing like putting a bit of pressure on yourself then Cindy 🀣🀣🀣🀣 But of course, starting that challenge/walk is taking a wee bit longer to complete because not only is it much longer, but I started my next booking on 4th January and my free time is limited to 2 hours a day, weather permitting. Still, I hope/plan to finish the walk by 31st January.

Why not join me on one of the challenges https://www.theconqueror.events/r/CE1474 they are excellent motivation to get out and and walk, especially now that our wings are clipped by Covid-19 and lockdown.

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May we never see you again

Trump’s presidency: a lesson in the true meaning of ‘American carnage’ | Donald Trump | The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/19/donald-trump-reality-tv-presidency-dark-legacy

β€œAnd beyond that he is, in my view, the most horrible human being who has ever sat in the Oval Office. In addition to being the worst president, he’s a terrible person. What a combination. I hope we’ve learned this lesson. This ought to remind all Americans what happens when you make a mistake with your vote.”

And thank the dear lord he’s on his way…..hopefully never to he seen again

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I’m a huge fan of jigsaw puzzles, and love to open up a new box and build….

But I daren’t do that too often because I get quite obsessive about finishing it and all my free time is absorbed by the next piece….

However, at my current booking I have quite a bit of free time outside of my breaks. So I’ve tackled two so far.

The first one was easy…and I finished it in a few hours over a few days.

The colours of this were fantastic – quite Frida Kahlo.

But the 2nd one was a %@$# challenge – tiny pieces with so much detail and who knew there were 5 shades of snow πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

A pretty snow scene, but lordy!!!

I nearly packed it up 3 times, but persevered and finally finished.

There are another 2 boxes staring at me…trying to tempt me, but I’m ignoring them!! 🀣🀣

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In my job I get to travel frequently, usually to different parts of the country, and seldom to the same place – unless I choose to return to the same client, which doesn’t often happen.

I was meant to be working with a regular client in Nether Stowey till 21st December, but as it turns out, I’m not. I am however still in Somerset, in a town called Shepton Mallet which is close to Castle Cary and the cathedral city of Wells.

When I’m given a new assignment I usually (not always) do a bit of research so I know what I’m getting into and if there’s anything of interest. As it turns out Shepton Mallet is mentioned in the Domesday Book as: Sceapton

Besides that, according to wikipedia the River Sheppey runs through the town, as does the route of the Fosse Way, the main Roman road into south-west England. There is evidence of Roman settlement. Its medieval parish church is among many listed buildings. Shepton Mallet Prison was England’s oldest until it closed in March 2013

So much to see and investigate.

After a 5.5 hour train journey I arrived quite late Saturday afternoon in Castle Cary (nearest rail station) and we soon arrived in SM. There are always surprises to be had when you arrive in a new place, and one of the first was an enormous Tesco’s store!! Really? In such a small town?

the 2nd surprise was that its a very hilly area…which considering its location in the Mendip Hills shouldn’t have been a surprise, but there you go.

A very hilly area

The 3rd surprise was how grey it is. Just about every building is built of grey stone, and of course being winter, the weather is also grey…so my spirits were a little dampened. Although to be fair the day was quite sunny with blue skies on Sunday.

Blue skies

I had visions of a medieval town with old Tudor buildings and interesting architecture. πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

Very grey

But I’ve given it a good go and during my breaks over the last 2 days I’ve walked here and there and pretty much covered the whole town and then some.

A grey misty day 30.11.20
Exploring the lanes
Splashes of colour – the cottage at the bottom right dates from 1750

So in a nutshell: Shepton Mallet

1. Domesday Book village
2. The old Roman Road known as the Fosse Way runs through the town
3. The Market Cross dates back to 1500
4. The name Shepton Mallet derives from Saxon times when it was known as Sepetone.
5. The current spelling is recorded at least as far back as 1496, in a letter from Henry VII. 
6. The Romans had a trading centre here along the Fosseway
7. In Norman times William Mallet became Lord of the Manor – hence the second part of the name
8. During the Middle Ages the town grew as a wool trading centre
9. The town is home to the country’s oldest working goal (closed 2013).
10. Shepton Mallet is home to Babycham
11. The River Sheppey runs through the town

A section of the Roman Fosseway
The Market Cross
The Market Cross
Medieval Church
Shepton Mallet prison – closed 2013
Home of Babycham
Lest We Forget – I saw these on various houses ❀❀❀❀❀
The River Sheppy near the centre of town
The river flowing past the Mill House
The river flows through the countryside

I loved these decorative window sills at the library

A real splash of colour near the Market Cross
Shepton Mallet has its own ‘twittens’

I’ve pretty much walked along most of the roads in the town centre, so I’m hoping to expand my horizons and set off along the East Mendip Way – depending on how muddy it is.

The bonus of course is that I can add the town to Project 101…. Domesday Book = 149 and rivers visited = 64

So a little more than a nutshell πŸ˜‰

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Urgh. I hate this whole Black Friday corporate consumerism consumption.

It’s such a cynical ploy to make people spend money they don’t have on stuff they don’t need, πŸ’ΈπŸ’ΈπŸ’Έ while the companies behind the plot rub their hands in glee all the way to the bank as their coffers fill up and their shareholders pop the champagne, while the bankers celebrate…kerching, kerching, kerching…..interest!! πŸ’°πŸ’°πŸ’°πŸ’°

It’s a blight. Just watching the crush and the fighting as shoppers vie for items that even involves fisticuffs, is most unpleasant. Greed has an ugly face.

As you can tell, I’m not a fan 😠😠

I did a Google search for the background and found this article in The Telegraph Here’s an excerpt…

How did Black Friday start?

The term “Black Friday” was actually first associated with financial crisis, not sales shopping.

Two Wall Street financiers Jim Fisk and Jay Gould, together bought a significant amount of US gold in the hope of the overall price soaring and in turn being able to sell it for huge profits.

On Friday 24 September, 1869, in what became referred to as “Black Friday”, the US gold market crashed and Fisk and Gould’s actions left Wall Street barons bankrupt. 

It was not until later years that the post-Thanksgiving period became associated with the name.

I’m sure the corporations that take advantage of this must surely celebrate ‘Thanksgiving’ as in ‘thanks for giving us your money’. It is still associated with financial crisis….

No, I’m not a fan….

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Christmas in the northern hemisphere falls in the perfect season.

The long dark nights are brightened by the hundreds of colourful lights that drape over balconies, hang from the streets lamps and decorate the boats in the harbour.

Every year we look forward to this season and once decorated the boats are a feast of colours.

A few of the boats are already decorated and it looks so pretty.

Gorgeous moon tonight

In transit this afternoon I whizzed through St Pancras between trains and stopped to take a pic of this year’s tree.

A pink fondant tree

I’ve been disappointed with the trees the last few years, and still remember the best one ever from some years ago…the Disney tree…floor to ceiling with soft fluffy toys….delightful. best ever.

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Usurping the US election news (thank you thank you thank you πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ‘΄πŸ») is the latest news of a Covid-19 vaccine; an apparently successful vaccine.

In terms of timing and according to previous reports, a vaccine usually takes years to develop, test and have approved.

So whilst the market shares have shot ⬆️⬆️⬆️ I’m somewhat sceptical, especially as it comes from a pharmaceutical company of a particular name.

Conspiracy theories aside, and I am a bit of a theorist myself, I am not that enthralled by the news. These companies are all about making money and being the ‘first’ to find a successful vaccine is going to make them a whole ton of money (I was going to resort to my South African roots and say shitload of money but that would be rude 😝😝).

Meanwhile time will tell if it is indeed that effective.

My question is this: would you have the vaccine?

Personally, I had a flu vaccine in my first year in the UK and it made me horribly ill for nearly 2 weeks. I have since declined any further flu vaccines. So for me it’s a no.

Now, I know this virus is not a flu, or a type of flu and is something quite out of the ordinary, and in general I believe in being vaccinated against diseases…..as children in South Africa we were all vaccinated as a matter of course, my daughter had all her vaccinations in the 80s and 90s and my grandson (born in the UK) has so far had all his required vaccinations.

However, these are all long-term, tried and tested vaccines and despite the ‘conspiracy theories’ πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰ on the whole are very successful.

But I worry that the competition to be first to produce a vaccine for Covid-19 is more about the money than any form of altruism or care for the wellbeing of humanity.

The next question is: who do they vaccinate first? My thoughts are that it should first be provided to the 30-60 age group (I’m 65). But I’m sure everyone has a different opinion on that…out of 65 million people if they’re (the UK government) buying just 10 million by Christmas, who is going to benefit? If it is indeed a benefit? 10.11.20 *correction – its 100 million vaccines the government are ordering *.

Supply it for free, and then we can look at it from a different aspect. These pharmaceutical companies are mega-wealthy, growing obscenely rich on the unwellness of their target audiences, they can absolutely afford to provide the vaccine for free for the benefit of humanity….

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