Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Covid 19’

So today we had my ‘virtual’ birthday tea and cake. My daughter and her hubby and son joined me on WhatsApp facetime with their tea and chocolate cake and I had all the essentials for a party during a pandemic lockdown

The cake was bigger 2 days ago 😂😂😂
Social distancing

Even though the network reception was dastardly as usual, it was a fun time…we’ll get to do the party for real when I visit in May. 🎊🎉🥂🎉🎂

This has probably been the most amazing spring that I can recall in the UK for the last 18 years….Being in lockdown has curtailed my walking explorations to 1 mile from home,  but it hasn’t curtailed the prevalence of subjects for photos…☺️☺️☺️ 

In a way, because I’m not trying to cover as much ground as possible within my allotted 2 hour break, and taking my walks at a slower pace, its given me the opportunity to observe my environment at a more leisurely pace and notice the plethora of beautiful flowers on my routes. And that’s the long-winded way of saying I’ve seen a lot of beautiful flowers on my walks 😁😁😁😊 Here’s a short video

Spring 2020

Watched a programme on BBC2 this morning. The industrial revolution and the Victorians may be lauded as so ‘progressive’ but the reality is that the Victorians were terribly destructive, especially in the ‘colonies’ and industry has destroyed the planet….and the animals have suffered the most. There’s no such thing as man’kind’….of course there are many people doing wonderful things with love and caring and compassion and they don’t get the credit they deserve, but ‘mankind’ is a misnomer.  Humans are so terribly destructive. Yes, we’ve built amazing buildings and constructed incredible cities and technology has made our lives better (worse) and science has made some incredible progress, but it has all been at the expense of nature and the natural world. Our demand for cheaper, and more and better is destroying the planet. The Victorians killed thousands upon thousands of tigers in their quest for land, destroying the tropical forests in their wake…and we’re still doing the same thing today…in the name of progress.  We are a stain on this planet, the ultimate virus.

Oh and the ultimate ‘moron in chief’, that orange swamp thing across the pond…has suggested that you can get rid of the virus by drinking disinfectant 😱😱😱😱😱🤬🤬🤬

There you go donny, take a nice deep breath

I truly cannot understand the mindset that elected that ….I don’t even know what adjective would suit him best…but what I really cannot comprehend, is that seemingly intelligent people are prepared to stand by and say nothing while he spouts his own brand of insanity…they are complicit…..power hungry, soulless individuals….

I went for a lovely walk this evening to the top of the mound…hoping to see the most recent of the Starlink satellites; SpaceX…..but unfortunately there was too much cloud cover and the sky too light to be able to see them. As for the clouds…there’s a cold front moving in and it was a lot chillier than yesterday….still beautiful though.

And on that cheerful note I shall bid you goodnight. I can’t quite believe that I am actually still blogging, and that we are still in lockdown.

Oh yes, one last thing…..I saw this in The Times newspaper today…finally a use for the skeletal pencil 🤨🤨🤔🤔

Not much use for anything else…

Read Full Post »

Goodness me….day 31. I never in my life ever imagined such a thing would happen ….although we can still go out for exercise etc, it still feels totally surreal.

Went outside for  the 8pm to clap for carers and saw something I haven’t seen for quite some time….contrails. a plane!! I can’t recall seeing a plane for weeks now so was quite surprised to see this. I just read this article and I think we are  certainly for the foreseeable future, going to see less planes than we are used to.


https://www.traveller.com.au/travel-and-covid19-say-goodbye-to-economy-class-as-the-golden-era-of-cheap-travel-is-declared-over-h1nkai

I got into a bit of a spat a few days ago about Richard Branson wanting a bailout….and of course I complained bitterly, especially considering he’s a billionaire…so today a friend of mine sent me this 😂😂😂👏👏👏 the website is fake btw….

Brilliant 🤪🤪🤪

So today was my 65th birthday!! 🎂🎊🎉 and I am so surprised that I got this far 😂😂😂 I’ve decided that in honour of this milestone I should keep a diary….so let’s see…I’m not very good at keeping a diary, but you never know…..

They my daughter and family, sent me a delightful box of decorative biscuits from biscuiteers…almost too good to eat

So pretty
Gorgeous tulips from the lady who does our shopping.

I got to chat to my daughter and grandson this morning and we had planned a virtual afternoon tea and cake via facetime, but the wee cherub fell in down the outside stairs and gashed his head….so instead they dashed off to A&E to get him checked over. So perhaps tomorrow…

A virtual birthday
Awwww 😥😥😥😥💙👶🏻

Other than that, a quiet day….had a snooze during my break and caught up with my paperwork, did my chores and that was it really.

Read Full Post »

EARTH DAY 20-26 April

Okay so this is a few days late and its already half way through, but this process can be applied to every week of the year going forward if people really mean that they want to change..

I’ve attached the guidebook link for your convenience. http://www.beforeitstoolate.earth/7-day-guidebook.html#

IMAGINE! if we all applied this process to our week, every week!! What a difference we would see…

There’s lots of chatter on social media about NOT going BACK to what was our normal pre-Covid19. This is a simple way to make the changes we must/should/could/have to make in order to avoid the consequences of a continuation of our previous destructive lifestyles. Of course there are millions of people already making massive changes and have done so for years, but we have an opportunity now to really step up for the sake of future generations.

Earth Week

Some good has come of our sudden change in behaviour during 2020, but largely the environmental problems we’re facing globally do still exist. The world’s reaction to this health threat has proven that we are capable of adapting our behaviour in a way that benefits the planet, but the real test will be what happens when this crisis is over”. See the Facebook link for more information.

https://www.facebook.com/297605497404/posts/10157333191372405/

I heard a snippet on the One Show last night about the SpaceX satellites that were being launched by Elon Musk, so I did some research and found that we’d be able to see them between 2am and 5am this morning…so at 3.35 I slipped quietly out the house, walked up the hill to the Mound and found a decent spot. My efforts were rewarded and I saw 23 satellites go by….boom boom boom…so fast and evenly spaced..amazing. I also saw 4 shooting stars 🌠🌠🌠🌠from the Lyrid meteor overhead till the 26th ☄☄☄☄ and besides the hundreds of stars 🌌 I could see the big dipper 😃😃👏👏👏

Look up to the heavens tonight…In an additional treat for skygazers, a SpaceX rocket launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida will be visible over the UK. Around 15 to 20 minutes after its scheduled 2030 BST takeoff, the rocket and its payload of 60 Starlink satellites should be “quite visible”, according to MeteorWatch. Well, at 8.15, once again traipsing up the hill, I climbed right to the top of the Mound and waited…..to no avail 😥😥😥 nothing and nada….no 🚀 to be seen. But!!!! I had phoned my daughter to tell her about it and hoorah, they saw it

Soooo tiny, and apparently sooo fast!!

How thrilling is that!! Apparently he’s sending the satellites up in batches of 60 and there’s going to be 12,000 in all for now with an eventual total of 42,000!!! 😱😱😱 can you imagine 42,000🛰🛰🛰s in the sky. Seems insane and apparently its causing quite an upset in the astro community. I’m pretty certain he’s not bovvvered 🤪🤪🤪 The aim is to provide cheap Wifi for everyone in the world.

Other than that its been a quiet day, I went for a lovely walk this afternoon..the weather had been so amazing but I did see a dark haze on the horizon, so I suspect that we may see some grey skies soon.

A quiet nook

We had a grandparents facetime with the boo again today….he is so cute and just carries on with his day, popping over every now and then to look with bemusement at all the faces 🤪🤪 It was nice coz they all sang happy birthday to me ☺️☺️ which was quite unexpected…

So even though I didn’t see the spaceship, I did see a fabulous sunset

Btw did you notice what I didn’t do in my post last night or tonight for that matter??? I didn’t bitch about the inept, useless, incompetent, dishonest government 🤪🤪🤪

Night folks, stay safe…keep social distancing and washing your hands…don’t let Covid-19 catch you out.

Ohhh k just heard the 11pm chimes on the clock tower….time to 😴😴😴😴

Read Full Post »

I saw this shared on Facebook and it’s so true its painful….

Passing this on. It’s brilliant:

The UnOfficial Coronavirus Guidelines

  1. Basically, you can’t leave the house for any reason, but if you have to, then you can.
  2. Masks are useless. But they will protect you. They can save you, no they can’t, they’re useless, but wear one anyway. Now they’re mandatory. But maybe. Or maybe not.
  3. Stores are closed, except for the ones that are open.
  4. You should not go to the hospital unless you have to go there. Stay out of the ER at all
    costs unless you’re having a medical emergency. Then it’s okay.
  5. This virus is deadly but still not too scary, except that sometimes it actually leads to a global disaster. Stay calm.
  6. There is no shortage of groceries in the supermarket, but there are many things missing when you go there in the evening, but not in the morning. Sometimes.
  7. The virus has no effect on children except those it has affected or will affect.
  8. Animals can not get infected, but there is still a cat that tested positive in Belgium in February when no one had been tested yet, and a tiger.. and one really deadly but also possibly fictional but very sick bat.
  9. You will have many symptoms when you are sick, but you can also get sick without symptoms, have symptoms without being sick, or be contagious without having symptoms.
  10. In order not to get sick, you have to eat well and exercise, but also never go out to the grocery store so eat shelf stable processed crap and stay inside your four walls but also stay healthy.
  11. It’s better to get some fresh air, but you may be arrested if you’re getting fresh air the wrong way and most importantly, don’t go to a park, the fresh air there is deadly.
  12. Under no circumstances should you go to retirement homes, but if you have to take care of the elderly and bring them food and medication then fine. Just wear gloves. The same ones. All day.
  13. You can get restaurant food delivered to the house, which may have been prepared by people who didn’t wear masks or gloves. But you have to leave your groceries outside for 3 hours to be decontaminated by the fresh air that also may have virus particles floating around in it. Or you can wipe your groceries with Lysol. But not the food because that will make you sick. No, it’s totally unnecessary to wipe the groceries.

Even though the virus can stay on cardboard for 24 hours. Also, you can’t get the virus from eating food with contagions on it. But you can get it by putting it in your mouth. Wait. What?

  1. Taxi drivers are immune to the virus apparently since you can still take a taxi ride with a random taxi driver. Just don’t take the taxi to your mom’s house because you know. Stay away from your mom.
  2. You can walk around with a friend if you stay six feet apart but don’t visit with your family if they don’t live under the same roof as you. Even if you’ve all been locked inside for two months already. You may still have the virus and just not know it yet. You’ll find out. Wait another week. Wasn’t that a week? Might be the next one. Keep waiting.
  3. You are safe if you maintain the appropriate social distance, but you can’t go out with friends or strangers at the safe social distance. Social distancing means you shouldn’t leave your house and don’t be social, except you may go to the liquor store but don’t socialize there while you’re being socially distant.
  4. The virus remains active on different surfaces for two hours, no, four, no, six, no, we didn’t say hours, maybe days? But it takes a damp environment. Oh no, not necessarily.
  5. The virus stays in the air – well no, or yes, maybe, especially in a closed room, in one hour a sick person can infect ten, so if it falls, all our children were already infected at school before it was closed. But remember, if you stay at the recommended social distance, however in certain circumstances you should maintain a greater distance, which, studies show, the virus can travel further, maybe.
  6. If you have symptoms, call to book a diagnostic test. We will hear your symptoms on the phone and if you are eligible for a test, you don’t need the test. Assume you have it and quarantine for two weeks. If you don’t have symptoms, you are not eligible for the test. Quarantine for two weeks or better yet, until we lift restrictions, which may be in a week, a month or 6 months. Also, whoever wants a test can get a test.
  7. We count the number of deaths but we don’t know how many people are infected as we have only tested so far those who were “almost dead” to find out if that’s what they will die of.
  8. The virus will only disappear if we achieve collective/herd immunity…but stay inside until the virus disappears because we have no immunity.

Author unknown.

No wonder people are confused.

Ultimately we need to NOT go ‘back’ to normal. Let’s give future generations a chance of a decent life. The best thing to come out of this terrible virus is that the planet is having a chance to breathe and recover, albeit not as much as we would like – consider the vast amount of plastic that is being generated to fight Covid-19….that’s going to impact the planet/environment in a very destructive way.

Read Full Post »

Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth II 94 today…I was lucky enough to see her in Windsor for her 90th birthday, and have her walk right in front of me 🥰🥰🥰👏👏💚💚 the Queen.  Sadly there’s no gun salutes or Trooping the Colour this year…looking forward to 2021….

I found this awesome book for my grandson today 😀😀 Its amazing and since the theme in the nursery is space, this will fit right in.

The universe works in mysterious ways….I’ve been so worried about travelling next week and inadvertently contracting the virus and possibly passing it on, or the incoming carer bringing something in with her….so today I got a call from the agency to ask if I could stay on here for another 2 weeks as the incoming carer is ill (has a bad cold) and is self-isolating, as well as which my next job has been cancelled because that family want their carer to extend her stay as well. So there it is….no travelling next week, but sadly it also means I don’t get to see my family….

I saw this on one of the Camino pages today and thought I’d share it with you:

Johnniewalker Santiago posted the following on the Camino Discussion Group this morning. For those who might not have seen it, he has given permission to post his communication with John Brierly here. It’s well worth the read!

LETTER FROM JOHN BRIERLEY:
CORNAVIRUS AND THE CAMINO, OUR LAST WAKE UP CALL
Two years ago I asked members of the group to send me questions that I would put to John Brierley in the second interview with him I’ve published. I’ll re-post the questions and answer soon. We keep in touch with each other and I asked him for his thoughts on our current situation. This is his reply. He invites us to engage in a useful and loving dialogue about the issues he raises.

Dear John
You sound well and lock-down seems to be proving a creative time for you! So here is a response that might, or might not, stimulate some creative thinking amongst our pilgrim family.
… I trust that once the world comes out of this pandemic we will, collectively, want to do things differently – but there is much talk of getting back to ‘normal’ which would be a travesty. Consensus reality and the status quo is literally now killing many of us and the earth support systems on which we depend. At best we are looking at a severely diminished quality of life over the near horizon. We have to find a ‘new normal’ by way of an elevated consciousness — not only for us but crucially for the generations that follow. These are portentous, perhaps pompous and certainly presumptive statements. Even if you see them as holding some truth you might legitimately ask, what has any of this to do with the caminos de Santiago.

I have always believed that the camino holds a key to a fundamental re-appraisal of how and why we live our lives. It was this conviction that created caminoGuides and this remains its only raison d’être, it has no other purpose nor ever will. Providing my publisher doesn’t go bankrupt (many may) a new guidebook to the Camino Invierno will go to print later this year. I attach a draft introduction which offers a reflection on the positive potential of the Coronavirus to help bring about the change that is needed if we are to learn to cooperate to face the challenges that are now on a global scale. (see below)

The real challenge is just around the corner and it is not coronavirus! I see this pandemic as just a wake up call that we may, or may not, heed. All the signs at the moment are that we are going to miss this opportunity just like we missed previous wakeup calls. We bailed out the banks in 2008 and now look set to bail out the oil and aviation industries with vast sums of public monies while offering paltry sums to small sustainable energy and business enterprises. As Greta Thunberg asks, ‘where are the adults?’ Our collective thinking is juvenile at best and often infantile. Eldership is nowhere to be seen but we need to find it urgently and perhaps it lies closer than we think… in ourselves. Rabbinic sage Hillel the Elder asked the rhetorical question, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

I was a little concerned at the severity of the draft (below) until I listened to an interview with David Attenborough yesterday where, for the first time, he says this is it — no further chance to kick the can down the road. Coronavirus is our last gentle wake up call, the real threat to our collective survival is just around the corner. Pass on what you think might be useful to generate useful and loving dialogue so that we might better forge a new path going forward.

The Coronavirus brought with it much grief and its impact on many levels will be felt for years to come. This is no less true for the camino as in any other sphere of life. Pilgrim infrastructure and albergues that took decades to put in place are struggling to survive, some have already closed permanently and others will follow. The virus was named by the World Health Organisation as, ‘…an enemy against humanity’. This is an unfortunate epithet because, from Gaia’s perspective, humanity itself has become the most destructive force on the planet. If the devastation that arose from this pandemic brings about a paradigm shift in human consciousness it may yet contain a blessing in disguise. For at least a generation we have, collectively, lived beyond the means of the planet to sustain us and all of life that surrounds us. We are not the only sentient beings that occupy the earth and we have wilfully and woefully ignored the plight of nature herself. Now, today, we can change the way we think and act. We can move from fear to love. We can choose to respect each other and the natural world that is our home. We can… but will we? Each of us is part of the whole we call humankind and artificial borders can separate us no more. Indeed they never have but only in our deluded and limited understanding of the nature of reality. Coronavirus taught us that we are all part of the same delicate balance of life on earth. Will we heed its warning or revert to business as usual … until the next crisis strikes again?

“We have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.” Martin Luther King Jr.

The photo shows the medieval bridge A Ponte de Taboada. This is the point where the Winter Way joins the Camino Sanabrés. Both, in turn, connecting with a larger network of caminos that link us with the rest of Europe and, by extension to every nation on earth. The great insight of the First Nations has always been to remind us that, Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself… we may yet find we are brothers after all.

Blessings…
John Brierley

Certainly something to think about….do we really want to go BACK to where we were before?

I had a fab walk this afternoon…such a beautiful day

And I popped out quickly this evening to watch the sunset

And I can’t quite believe I’m still blogging 29 days later….😀 stay safe folks 🌈🌈🌈

Read Full Post »

Well, here we are….day 28 of lockdown. What a surreal 4 weeks this had been. I don’t even know what to think anymore.

I’ve pretty much given up watching the news because it infuriates me beyond measure. I simply can’t watch them trotting out the same excuses anymore.

I read an article in the Sunday Times shared by a friend, and truly the list of failures is appalling. I know Bozo considers himself to be something of a Churchill reincarnation, but truly, beyond both being racist….at least Churchill was decisive.

Johnson should have stuck to either writing witty articles for the papers, or continued his career as a travel presenter. His ‘finest hour’ came and went with the 2012 Olympics… He sure as hell is not a leader. Like the orange swamp thing across the pond he talks in sound bites….although we should be thankful we can at least understand what our clown says….

Talking of across the pond….it takes a serious level of stupid to behave the way those idiot protesters are behaving. One can only hope that Darwin’s theory is correct and nature will seek out the stupid….

For some weird reason, today just flew by…..I wasn’t particularly busy and I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but suddenly it was 9pm….I seem to have hit the jackpot lately with my client’s meals…she’s eaten just about everything on her plate the last 2 days. Its really gratifying when the people I cook for enjoy their meals, so its been nice to see a clean plate. I also hate waste and throwing food in the bin is anathema to me. Albeit into composting, its still a waste.

Unfortunately my brother-in-law is back in hospital with further chest pains, which apparently he is not meant to be having after they inserted the stent, so that’s a huge worry. I’m concerned for my sister…they’ve been married for decades and have been joined at the hip since they met….so this is particularly stressful for her. I had a look see for flights to SA in the event I need to go, but the UK is listed as a ‘high risk’ country and citizens are banned from entering the country…at least for now.

The irony of a 3rd world country considering a 1st world country as a health risk has not escaped me….

Shoe is on the other foot….

Its extraordinary to me that to date they have only had 58 deaths

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/south-africa/

I remember my scepticism when Ramaphosa put the country into lockdown….I’ve had occasion to eat my words. For such a poor country, and with so many millions living in close proximity to each other,social distancing is like as wishful thought…but he acted decisively, he acted fast and there was no mucking about with going out for exercise or walking the dog….it was Stay at Home or else….draconian perhaps but its worked. They’ve been on lockdown for almost the same length of time as the UK and yet their death rate is so much lower it doesn’t even warrant a percentage. “South Africa’s lockdown was imposed before a single death had been recorded and has been ruthlessly enforced by the authorities ever since”.

However its not all rosy in the country and they’re experiencing severe food shortages and rioting…

Besides which the projections for Africa as a whole are not good. The worst is yet to come.

Anyhow, that’s me for today…I’m off to bed now. I had a restless night last night, so hoping I don’t have a repeat. As I’m lying here it’s so quiet out that I can hear a tanker hooting in the Bristol Channel….oh and I haven’t seen any shooting stars yet…I live in hope 😃😃🤔

Take care folks. I’ll post the Sunday Times article right after I’ve posted this in the event you’re keen to read it. Be safe…..wherever you are in the world.

Read Full Post »

This is the million dollar question….

I’m putting this here so that it’s never lost ….

I’m putting this here so that one day when my grandson is in school, the truth (or as much if it) still exists and hasn’t been whitewashed. (NB see the article by The Guardian from today)

I’m putting this here so that when anyone tells me that Johnson and his merry band of (insert expletive) did a ‘good job’ I’ll redirect them here…

History will be the judge of whether or not this government has blood on its hands, or if that’s just my opinion (amongst many others).

I’ve put the link to the article below in case you subscribe to The Times, but if not, scroll further for the article (and a couple of my comments 🤔😉)

A very long read but worth it.
From Sunday Times:

On the third Friday of January a silent and stealthy killer was creeping across the world. Passing from person to person and borne on ships and planes, the coronavirus was already leaving a trail of bodies.


The virus had spread from China to six countries and was almost certainly in many others. Sensing the coming danger, the British government briefly went into wartime mode that day, holding a meeting of Cobra, its national crisis committee.
But it took just an hour that January 24 lunchtime to brush aside the coronavirus threat. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, bounced out of Whitehall after chairing the meeting and breezily told reporters the risk to the UK public was “low”.


This was despite the publication that day of an alarming study by Chinese doctors in the medical journal, The Lancet. It assessed the lethal potential of the virus, for the first time suggesting it was comparable to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which killed up to 50 million people.


Unusually, Boris Johnson had been absent from Cobra. The committee — which includes ministers, intelligence chiefs and military generals — gathers at moments of great peril such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters and other threats to the nation and is normally chaired by the prime minister.
Johnson had found time that day, however, to join in a lunar new year dragon eyes ritual as part of Downing Street’s reception for the Chinese community, led by the country’s ambassador.

It was a big day for Johnson and there was a triumphal mood in Downing Street because the withdrawal treaty from the European Union was being signed in the late afternoon. It could have been the defining moment of his premiership — but that was before the world changed.
That afternoon his spokesman played down the looming threat from the east and reassured the nation that we were “well prepared for any new diseases”. The confident, almost nonchalant, attitude displayed that day in January would continue for more than a month.

Johnson went on to miss four further Cobra meetings on the virus. As Britain was hit by unprecedented flooding, he completed the EU withdrawal, reshuffled his cabinet and then went away to the grace-and-favour country retreat at Chevening where he spent most of the two weeks over half-term with his pregnant fiancée, Carrie Symonds.

It would not be until March 2 — another five weeks — that Johnson would attend a Cobra meeting about the coronavirus. But by then it was almost certainly too late. The virus had sneaked into our airports, our trains, our workplaces and our homes. Britain was on course for one of the worst infections of the most deadly virus to have hit the world in more than a century.

Last week, a senior adviser to Downing Street broke ranks and blamed the weeks of complacency on a failure of leadership in cabinet. In particular, the prime minister was singled out.
“There’s no way you’re at war if your PM isn’t there,” the adviser said. “And what you learn about Boris was he didn’t chair any meetings. He liked his country breaks. He didn’t work weekends. It was like working for an old-fashioned chief executive in a local authority 20 years ago. There was a real sense that he didn’t do urgent crisis planning. It was exactly like people feared he would be.”
One day there will inevitably be an inquiry into the lack of preparations during those “lost” five weeks from January 24. There will be questions about when politicians understood the severity of the threat, what the scientists told them and why so little was done to equip the National Health Service for the coming crisis. It will be the politicians who will face the most intense scrutiny.

Among the key points likely to be explored will be why it took so long to recognise an urgent need for a massive boost in supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers; ventilators to treat acute respiratory symptoms; and tests to detect the infection.

Any inquiry may also ask whether the government’s failure to get to grips with the scale of the crisis in those early days had the knock-on effect of the national lockdown being introduced days or even weeks too late, causing many thousands more unnecessary deaths.

An investigation has talked to scientists, academics, doctors, emergency planners, public officials and politicians about the root of the crisis and whether the government should have known sooner and acted more swiftly to kick-start the Whitehall machine and put the NHS onto a war footing.

They told us that, contrary to the official line, Britain was in a poor state of readiness for a pandemic. Emergency stockpiles of PPE had severely dwindled and gone out of date after becoming a low priority in the years of austerity cuts. The training to prepare key workers for a pandemic had been put on hold for two years while contingency planning was diverted to deal with a possible no-deal Brexit.
This made it doubly important that the government hit the ground running in late January and early February. Scientists said the threat from the coming storm was clear. Indeed, one of the government’s key advisory committees was given a dire warning a month earlier than has previously been admitted about the prospect of having to deal with mass casualties.

It was a message repeated throughout February but the warnings appear to have fallen on deaf ears. The need, for example, to boost emergency supplies of protective masks and gowns for health workers was pressing, but little progress was made in obtaining the items from the manufacturers, mainly in China.

Instead, the government sent supplies the other way — shipping 279,000 items of its depleted stockpile of protective equipment to China during this period, following a request for help from the authorities there.

The prime minister had been sunning himself with his girlfriend in the millionaires’ Caribbean resort of Mustique when China first alerted the World Health Organisation (WHO) on December 31 that several cases of an unusual pneumonia had been recorded in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in Hubei province.

In the days that followed China initially claimed the virus could not be transmitted from human to human, which should have been reassuring. But this did not ring true to Britain’s public health academics and epidemiologists who were texting each other, eager for more information, in early January.
Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at Edinburgh University, had predicted in a talk two years earlier that a virus might jump species from an animal in China and spread quickly to become a human pandemic.

So the news from Wuhan set her on high alert.
“In early January a lot of my global health colleagues and I were kind of discussing ‘What’s going on?’” she recalled. “China still hadn’t confirmed the virus was human-to-human. A lot of us were suspecting it was because it was a respiratory pathogen and you wouldn’t see the numbers of cases that we were seeing out of China if it was not human-to-human. So that was disturbing.”

By as early as January 16 the professor was on Twitter calling for swift action to prepare for the virus. “Been asked by journalists how serious #WuhanPneumonia outbreak is,” she wrote. “My answer: take it seriously because of cross-border spread (planes means bugs travel far & fast), likely human-to-human transmission and previous outbreaks have taught overresponding is better than delaying action.”

Events were now moving fast. Four hundred miles away in London, from its campus next to the Royal Albert Hall, a team at Imperial College’s School of Public Health led by Professor Neil Ferguson produced its first modelling assessment of the likely impact of the virus. On Friday, January 17, its report noted the “worrying” news that three cases of the virus had been discovered outside China — two in Thailand and one in Japan. While acknowledging many unknowns, researchers calculated that there could already be as many as 4,000 cases. The report warned: “The magnitude of these numbers suggests substantial human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out. Heightened surveillance, prompt information-sharing and enhanced preparedness are recommended.”

By now the mystery bug had been identified as a type of coronavirus — a large family of viruses that can cause infections ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars). There had been two reported deaths from the virus and 41 patients had been taken ill.

The following Wednesday, January 22, the government convened its first meeting of its scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage) to discuss the virus. Its membership is secret but it is usually chaired by the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and chief medical adviser, Professor Chris Whitty. Downing Street advisers are also present.

There were new findings that day with Chinese scientists warning that the virus had an unusually high infectivity rate of up to 3.0, which meant each person with the virus would typically infect up to three more people.

One of those present was Imperial’s Ferguson, who was already working on his own estimate — putting infectivity at 2.6 and possibly as high as 3.5 — which he sent to ministers and officials in a report on the day of the Cobra meeting on January 24. The Spanish flu had an estimated infectivity rate of between 2.0 and 3.0, so Ferguson’s finding was shocking.
The professor’s other bombshell in the same report was that there needed to be a 60% cut in the transmission rate — which meant stopping contact between people. In layman’s terms it meant a lockdown, a move that would paralyse an economy already facing a battering from Brexit.

At the time such a suggestion was unthinkable in the government and belonged to the world of post-apocalypse movies.
The growing alarm among scientists appears not to have been heard or heeded by policy-makers. After the January 25 Cobra meeting, the chorus of reassurance was not just from Hancock and the prime minister’s spokesman: Whitty was confident too.

In early February Hancock proudly told the Commons the UK was one of the first countries to develop a new test for the virus
STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA
“Cobra met today to discuss the situation in Wuhan, China,” said Whitty. “We have global experts monitoring the situation around the clock and have a strong track record of managing new forms of infectious disease . . . there are no confirmed cases in the UK to date.”

However, by then there had been 1,000 cases worldwide and 41 deaths, mostly in Wuhan. A Lancet report that day presented a study of 41 coronavirus patients admitted to hospital in Wuhan which found that more than half had severe breathing problems, a third required intensive care and six had died.

And there was now little doubt that the UK would be hit by the virus. A study by Southampton University has shown that 190,000 people flew into the UK from Wuhan and other high-risk Chinese cities between January and March. The researchers estimated that up to 1,900 of these passengers would have been infected with the coronavirus — almost guaranteeing the UK would become a centre of the subsequent pandemic.
Sure enough, five days later on Wednesday, January 29, the first coronavirus cases on British soil were found when two Chinese nationals from the same family fell ill at a hotel in York. The next day, the government raised the threat level from low to moderate.

On January 31 — or Brexit day as it had become known — there was a rousing 11pm speech by the prime minister promising that the withdrawal from the European Union would be the dawn of a new era unleashing the British people who would “grow in confidence” month by month.

By this time, there was good reason for the government’s top scientific advisers to feel creeping unease about the virus. The WHO had declared the coronavirus a global emergency just the day before and scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine had confirmed to Whitty in a private meeting of the Nervtag advisory committee on respiratory illness that the virus’s infectivity could be as bad as Ferguson’s worst estimate several days earlier.

The official scientific advisers were willing to concede in public that there might be several cases of the coronavirus in the UK. But they had faith that the country’s plans for a pandemic would prove robust.

This was probably a big mistake. An adviser to Downing Street — speaking off the record — says their confidence in “the plan” was misplaced. While a possible pandemic had been listed as the No 1 threat to the nation for many years, the source says that in reality it had long since stopped being treated as such.

Several emergency planners and scientists said that the plans to protect the UK in a pandemic had once been a top priority and had been well-funded for a decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

But then austerity cuts struck. “We were the envy of the world,” the source said, “but pandemic planning became a casualty of the austerity years when there were more pressing needs.”
The last rehearsal for a pandemic was a 2016 exercise codenamed Cygnus which predicted the health service would collapse and highlighted a long list of shortcomings — including, presciently, a lack of PPE and intensive care ventilators.
But an equally lengthy list of recommendations to address the deficiencies was never implemented. The source said preparations for a no-deal Brexit “sucked all the blood out of pandemic planning” in the following years.

In the year leading up to the coronavirus outbreak key government committee meetings on pandemic planning were repeatedly “bumped” off the diary to make way for discussions about more pressing issues such as the beds crisis in the NHS. Training for NHS staff with protective equipment and respirators was also neglected, the source alleges.
Members of the government advisory group on pandemics are said to have felt powerless. “They would joke between themselves, ‘Haha let’s hope we don’t get a pandemic,’ because there wasn’t a single area of practice that was being nurtured in order for us to meet basic requirements for pandemic, never mind do it well,” said the source.

“If you were with senior NHS managers at all during the last two years, you were aware that their biggest fear, their sweatiest nightmare, was a pandemic because they weren’t prepared for it.”

It meant that the government had much catching up to do when it was becoming clear that this “nightmare” was becoming a distinct possibility in February. But the source says there was little urgency. “Almost every plan we had was not activated in February. Almost every government department has failed to properly implement their own pandemic plans,” the source said.

One deviation from the plan, for example, was a failure to give an early warning to firms that there might be a lockdown so they could start contingency planning. “There was a duty to get them to start thinking about their cashflow and their business continuity arrangements,” the source said.

A central part of any pandemic plan is to identify anyone who becomes ill, vigorously pursue all their recent contacts and put them into quarantine. That involves testing and the UK initially seemed to be ahead of the game.

In early February Hancock proudly told the Commons the UK was one of the first countries to develop a new test for the coronavirus. “Testing worldwide is being done on equipment designed in Oxford,” he said.
So when Steve Walsh, a 53-year-old businessman from Hove, East Sussex, was identified as the source of the second UK outbreak on February 6 all his contacts were followed up with tests. Walsh’s case was a warning of the rampant infectivity of the virus as he is believed to have passed it to five people in the UK after returning from a conference in Singapore as well as six overseas.

But Public Health England failed to take advantage of our early breakthroughs with tests and lost early opportunities to step up production to the levels that would later be needed.

This was in part because the government was planning for the virus using its blueprint for fighting the flu. Once a flu pandemic has found its way into the population and there is no vaccine, then the virus is allowed to take its course until “herd immunity” is acquired. Such a plan does not require mass testing.

A senior politician told this newspaper: “I had conversations with Chris Whitty at the end of January and they were absolutely focused on herd immunity. The reason is that with flu, herd immunity is the right response if you haven’t got a vaccine.
“All of our planning was for pandemic flu. There has basically been a divide between scientists in Asia who saw this as a horrible, deadly disease on the lines of Sars, which requires immediate lockdown, and those in the West, particularly in the US and UK, who saw this as flu.”

The prime minister’s special adviser Dominic Cummings is said to have had initial enthusiasm for the herd immunity concept, which may have played a part in the government’s early approach to managing the virus. The Department of Health firmly denies that “herd immunity” was ever its aim and rejects suggestions that Whitty supported it. Cummings also denies backing the concept.

The failure to obtain large amounts of testing equipment was another big error of judgment, according to the Downing Street source. It would later be one of the big scandals of the coronavirus crisis that the considerable capacity of Britain’s private laboratories to mass-produce tests was not harnessed during those crucial weeks of February.
“We should have communicated with every commercial testing laboratory that might volunteer to become part of the government’s testing regime but that didn’t happen,” said the source.

The lack of action was confirmed by Doris-Ann Williams, chief executive of the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association, which represents 110 companies that make up most of the UK’s testing sector. Amazingly, she says her organisation did not receive a meaningful approach from the government asking for help until April 1 — the night before Hancock bowed to pressure and announced a belated and ambitious target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of this month.

There was also a failure to replenish supplies of gowns and masks for health and care workers in the early weeks of February — despite NHS England declaring the virus its first “level four critical incident” at the end of January.
It was a key part of the pandemic plan — the NHS’s Operating Framework for Managing the Response to Pandemic Influenza dated December 2017 — that the NHS would be able to draw on “just in case” stockpiles of PPE.

But many of the “just in case” stockpiles had dwindled, and equipment was out of date. As not enough money was being spent on replenishing stockpiles, this shortfall was supposed to be filled by activating “just in time” contracts which had been arranged with equipment suppliers in recent years to deal with an emergency. The first order for equipment under the “just in time” protocol was made on January 30.

However, the source said that attempts to call in these “just in time” contracts immediately ran into difficulties in February because they were mostly with Chinese manufacturers who were facing unprecedented demand from the country’s own health service and elsewhere.

This was another nail in the coffin for the pandemic plan. “It was a massive spider’s web of failing, every domino has fallen,” said the source.
The NHS could have contacted UK-based suppliers. The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) was ready to help supply PPE in February — and throughout March — but it was only on April 1 that its offer of help was accepted. Dr Simon Festing, the organisation’s chief executive, said: “Orders undoubtedly went overseas instead of to the NHS because of the missed opportunities in the procurement process.”

Downing Street admitted on February 24 — just five days before NHS chiefs warned a lack of PPE left the health service facing a “nightmare” — that the UK government had supplied 1,800 pairs of goggles and 43,000 disposable gloves, 194,000 sanitising wipes, 37,500 medical gowns and 2,500 face masks to China.

A senior department of health insider described the sense of drift witnessed during those crucial weeks in February: “We missed the boat on testing and PPE . . . I remember being called into some of the meetings about this in February and thinking, ‘Well it’s a good thing this isn’t the big one.’
“I had watched Wuhan but I assumed we must have not been worried because we did nothing. We just watched. A pandemic was always at the top of our national risk register — always — but when it came we just slowly watched. We could have been Germany but instead we were doomed by our incompetence, our hubris and our austerity.”

In the Far East the threat was being treated more seriously in the early weeks of February. Martin Hibberd, a professor of emerging infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, was in a unique position to compare the UK’s response with Singapore, where he had advised in the past.
“Singapore realised, as soon as Wuhan reported it, that cases were going to turn up in Singapore. And so they prepared for that. I looked at the UK and I can see a different strategy and approach.
“The interesting thing for me is, I’ve worked with Singapore in 2003 and 2009 and basically they copied the UK pandemic preparedness plan. But the difference is they actually implemented it.”

Towards the end of the second week of February, the prime minister was demob happy. After sacking five cabinet ministers and saying everyone “should be confident and calm” about Britain’s response to the virus, Johnson vacated Downing Street after the half-term recess began on February 13.
He headed to the country for a “working” holiday at Chevening with Symonds and would be out of the public eye for 12 days. His aides were thankful for the rest, as they had been working flat out since the summer as the Brexit power struggle had played out.

The Sunday newspapers that weekend would not have made comfortable reading. The Sunday Times reported on a briefing from a risk specialist which said that Public Health England would be overrun during a pandemic as it could test only 1,000 people a day.
Johnson may well have been distracted by matters in his personal life during his stay in the countryside. Aides were told to keep their briefing papers short and cut the number of memos in his red box if they wanted them to be read.

***I’ve highlighted the next section so it stands out- not done by the ST.***

His family needed to be prepared for the announcement that Symonds, who turned 32 in March, was pregnant and that they had been secretly engaged for some time. Relations with his children had been fraught since his separation from his estranged wife Marina Wheeler and the rift deepened when she had been diagnosed with cancer last year.
The divorce also had to be finalised. Midway through the break it was announced in the High Court that the couple had reached a settlement, leaving Wheeler free to apply for divorce.

There were murmurings of frustration from some ministers and their aides at the time that Johnson was not taking more of a lead. But Johnson’s aides are understood to have felt relaxed: he was getting updates and they claim the scientists were saying everything was under control.

400,000 deaths
By the time Johnson departed for the countryside, however, there was mounting unease among scientists about the exceptional nature of the threat. Sir Jeremy Farrar, an infectious disease specialist who is a key government adviser, made this clear in a recent BBC interview.
“I think from the early days in February, if not in late January, it was obvious this infection was going to be very serious and it was going to affect more than just the region of Asia ,” he said. “I think it was very clear that this was going to be an unprecedented event.”

By February 21, the virus had already infected 76,000 people, had caused 2,300 deaths in China and was taking a foothold in Europe with Italy recording 51 cases and two deaths the following day. Nonetheless Nervtag, one of the key government advisory committees, decided to keep the threat level at “moderate”.
Its members may well regret that decision with hindsight and it was certainly not unanimous. John Edmunds, one of the country’s top infectious disease modellers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, was participating in the meeting by video link but his technology failed him at the crucial moment.

Edmunds wanted the threat level to be increased to high but could not make his view known as the link was glitchy. He sent an email later making his view clear. “JE believes that the risk to the UK population [in the PHE risk assessment] should be high, as there is evidence of ongoing transmission in Korea, Japan and Singapore, as well as in China,” the meeting’s minutes state.

But the decision had already been taken.

Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College, was in America at the time of the meeting but would also have recommended increasing the threat to high. Three days earlier he had given an address to a seminar in which he estimated that 60% of the world’s population would probably become infected if no action was taken and 400,000 people would die in the UK.

By February 26, there were 13 known cases in the UK. That day — almost four weeks before a full lockdown would be announced — ministers were warned through another advisory committee that the country was facing a catastrophic loss of life unless drastic action was taken.

Having been thwarted from sounding the alarm, Edmunds and his team presented their latest “worst scenario” predictions to the scientific pandemic influenza group on modelling (SPI-M) which directly advises the country’s scientific decision-makers on Sage.

It warned that 27 million people could be infected and 220,000 intensive care beds would be needed if no action were taken to reduce infection rates. The predicted death toll was 380,000. Edmunds’s colleague Nick Davies, who led the research, says the report emphasised the urgent need for a lockdown almost four weeks before it was imposed.

The team modelled the effects of a 12-week lockdown involving school and work closures, shielding the elderly, social distancing and self-isolation. It estimated this would delay the impact of the pandemic but there still might be 280,000 deaths over the year.

Johnson returns
The previous night Johnson had returned to London for the Conservatives’ big fundraising ball, the Winter Party, at which one donor pledged £60,000 for the privilege of playing a game of tennis with him.

By this time the prime minister had missed five Cobra meetings on the preparations to combat the looming pandemic, which he left to be chaired by Hancock. Johnson was an easy target for the opposition when he returned to the Commons the following day with the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, labelling him a “part-time” prime minister for his failure to lead on the virus crisis or visit the areas of the UK badly hit by floods.

By Friday, February 28, the virus had taken root in the UK with reported cases rising to 19 and the stock markets were plunging. It was finally time for Johnson to act. He summoned a TV reporter into Downing Street to say he was on top of the coronavirus crisis.
“The issue of coronavirus is something that is now the government’s top priority,” he said. “I have just had a meeting with the chief medical officer and secretary of state for health talking about the preparations that we need to make.”

It was finally announced that he would be attending a meeting of Cobra — after a weekend at Chequers with Symonds where the couple would publicly release news of the engagement and their baby.

On the Sunday, there was a meeting between Sage committee members and officials from the Department of Health and NHS which was a game changer, according to a Whitehall source. The meeting was shown fresh modelling based on figures from Italy suggesting that 8% of infected people might need hospital treatment in a worst-case scenario. The previous estimate had been 4%-5%.
“The risk to the NHS had effectively doubled in an instant. It set alarm bells ringing across government,” said the Whitehall source. “I think that meeting focused minds. You realise it’s time to pull the trigger on the starting gun.”

Many NHS workers have been left without proper protection
Many NHS workers have been left without proper protection
At the Cobra meeting the next day with Johnson in the chair a full “battle plan” was finally signed off to contain, delay and mitigate the spread of the virus. This was on March 2 — five weeks after the first Cobra meeting on the virus.

The new push would have some positive benefits such as the creation of new Nightingale hospitals, which greatly increased the number of intensive care beds. But there was a further delay that month of nine days in introducing the lockdown as Johnson and his senior advisers debated what measures were required.

Later the government would be left rudderless again after Johnson himself contracted the virus. (After shaking hands with Covid-19 patients and bragging about it **my insert).


As the number of infections grew daily, some things were impossible to retrieve. There was a worldwide shortage of PPE and the prime minister would have to personally ring manufacturers of ventilators and testing kits in a desperate effort to boost supplies.

The result was that the NHS and care home workers would be left without proper protection and insufficient numbers of tests to find out whether they had been infected. To date 50 doctors, nurses and NHS workers have died. More than 100,000 people have been confirmed as infected in Britain and 15,000 have died.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “Our response has ensured that the NHS has been given all the support it needs to ensure everyone requiring treatment has received it, as well as providing protection to businesses and reassurance to workers. The prime minister has been at the helm of the response to this, providing leadership during this hugely challenging period for the whole nation.”

End of article.

And then there’s the Government’s rebuttal. I’m not sure how you feel, but if you’re going to submit a rebuttal, then you really should refer to each and every point and not cobble together a hastily written article. But that’s just me…

https://healthmedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/04/19/response-to-sunday-times-insight-article/

Further to that is today’s article in a different publication.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/20/uk-coronavirus-response-nhs-local-government-care-homes-british-politicians?CMP=share_btn_fb

And this…..

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/coronavirus-boris-johnson-news-sunday-times-report-no-10-response-a9474081.html

Read Full Post »

Just another day in paradise….

Whatever you do….don’t forget the meteor shower over the UK this next week https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/18382169.lyrid-meteor-shower-visible-uk-tonight—see/?ref=fbshr

“It is the oldest known meteor shower still active and was first observed in 687 BCE. As they come through the atmosphere, the meteors reach speeds of 50kms a second, but most will burn up before reaching the surface of Earth.” Thankfully the weather has improved and we have clear skies so I’m hoping I get to see this!!!

Actually it was a lush day after all despite a grey start. So much do that I went out for a walk and managed a decent 3.56kms.

Lush all round

My daughter phoned just as I got to the mound and it was amazing to chat to them again 🥰🥰🥰 and so thrilled to hear my grandson say “Granny!!” properly this time 👏👏👏💙👶🏻 He is such a little charm. Cannot wait to see him again.

My little boo 💙👶🏻🥰

On my way back to the house I spotted some more free books, so added a few to the collection 😉🤣🤣

I read so many interesting articles today that my head is swimming. Not least of which was about China. Seriously if the West doesn’t wake up soon, the Chinese government is going to own the world. https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-ends-chinas-honeymoon-africa-205217380.html?soc_src=community&soc_trk=fb

I’m thrilled to note that the chap, Chris, who is walking the coastline of the UK to raise funds for SSAFA has smashed his target of £100k 👏👏👏👏

https://www.facebook.com/chriswalksuk/videos/655847218318343/

Absolutely brilliant. I’ve been following his story for some months now and he is so inspiring with his determination and goodwill. Magic.

Other than that, nothing much else happened really. Covid-19 is wreaking havoc and the debates etc etc etc rage on. The orange swamp thing in the WH is completely off the rails in the US, while in the UK Bojo is still in hiding while different ministers are being wheeled out of the cupboard, dusted off and trotted out to stand in front of the camera and say whatever it is that they say….none of it means anything anymore and most certainly, any trust that may have existed is gone. The results of their actions are becoming increasingly obvious and it’s an ongoing farce. Promises are broken quicker than they are made. Urgh.

Anyway, it will play out the way its going to play out…..life will never be the same again….

Oh wait….I found my favourite sweet at the shop today 👏👏👏👏👏

Bonus!!!

All the best folks stay safe

Read Full Post »

And another day down, another day bites the dust – will this ever end? Not for a while apparently…its so bizarre.

The numbers are just escalating and the number of people who are infected is frightening….somewhere, somehow, we are all going to come into contact with this thing…and no-one has any ideas….

Our politicians; not just the UK, are all just marking time and making noise….because no-one has a clue.

So lockdown till mid-May 😱😱😱 I simply cannot imagine how people are coping. I really do consider myself to be one of the very lucky ones…I’m working, getting paid, in a safe (for now) environment, I have food to eat (paid for by the client) and I don’t have to venture out unless I choose to. I have books to read, a window into the world (my phone) and my family are safe. I am totally blessed.

I spoke to my daughter today via facetime and watched my grandson playing in the garden 100s of kms away, heard him say Granny for the first time 🥰🥰🥰 and chatted briefly to my son-in-law about his job. He was wearing a pair of wellies I bought him some months ago and apparently he was walking sideways at first trying to get used to them. 💙💙💙 He’s such a funny little boy, so intent and so focused….when he sets his sights on something it’s like a laser….and he will not be diverted. He sometimes walks with head down, his hands behind his back and absolutely focused on getting to wherever he decides to go…looks like a little old man 😁😁 They’re safe and healthy.

Finally my walking poles arrived….but not to where they were addressed….no, instead they arrived at the ‘return’ address 🤣🤣🤣🤪 which fortunately I thought to have added as it’s my daughter’s address. So I shall soon be reunited with my trusty walking buddies. Gemini, I have missed you…wish you were here.

I finished reading the 8th book since I arrived here just 2 days short of 4 weeks ago…it was a different world then. This has been a rare luxury and I haven’t read this many books in such a short period of time for decades. Literally decades. I used to read vociferously in SA, and although I’ve read plenty of books in the last 18.5 years, I’ve not read 8 in 4 weeks 😁😁 a bit of a record.

An unexpected but satisfactory ending

Just before I hopped into bed I leaned my head on the windowsill to listen….to the sounds of silence. No cars, no bikes, no barking dogs, no TV, no music, no people talking….just pure palpable silence. Bliss.

I’ve been on Facebook for much of the day 😝😝😝🤔🤔 bloody hate it, but it’s so addictive. I follow a few Camino pages and every day I’m astounded at the number of people who seem to think that they can still walk the Camino this year. A common question is: “my airline has cancelled my flight for June, should I book for September?” Seriously, these people are living in lala land. If they could pull their heads out their proverbial….they might just realise that Spain is not going to be remotely able to deal with a bunch of tourists…pretend pilgrims. Ignorant…!!! So many people who are involved with the Camino have posted on the pages about the devastating effects of Covid-19 and how the infrastructure is struggling and yet these ‘pumpkins’ just don’t get it. Gahhh.

Talking of pilgrimage….I bought the April edition of Countryfile a few weeks ago and am just about to delve into an article about Holy Island and St Cuthbert’s Way. On my list of walks to do….I’m guessing that the Camino I planned for 2021 is going to be on hold…instead I’ll look at walking a few of the long list of UK walks I want to do, 3 of which are pilgrimages following in the footsteps of Saints.

Nothing much else to add really. I didn’t go out again today, had a snooze instead which is a treat. But I think I will make an effort tomorrow. I only have another 8 days here so want to make the most of it while I can. I’m booked to return in July for 3 weeks, and hopefully by then the lockdown will be lifted and I can venture further afield.

I’m looking forward to the return of blue skies….

Stay safe folks……

Read Full Post »

This thing feels interminable….today was one of those days that I felt squished…so I just acknowledged the feelings and avoided Facebook as much as possible and kept the TV on any channel except the news. 5 USA is getting a good airing 🤨🤨🤨 I don’t actually watch or listen but it’s just comforting to have voices in the background.

I communicated with my sister and brother-in-law first thing this morning….just giving them support… He’s doing well and impatient to get up and start walking and looking forward to going home on Sunday. My sister is having a bit of a wobble which is to be expected…so she’s making macaroni cheese for supper. Sensible girl. It’s a staple of our childhood and one of our favourite ‘Mommy’ meals 🥰🥰 I too make it as comfort food, and often make it for my little family when I visit.

I spoke briefly with my daughter…giving her some hints on making, what is in my opinion, the perfect bowl of porridge 😉 I caught an even more brief glimpse of my grandson before he whizzed off…busy busy as usual. 💙👶🏻 The parentals weighed him today…he’s 24lbs now….started life as scrap of a thing at 7lbs ….its so extraordinary how humans develop. Its been fascinating watching him go from that tiny helpless little being into the bustling little toddler he is today …apparently he’s learned to say Daddy 😀😀😀💙👶🏻 and runs around the house shouting Daddy Daddy Daddy 😂😂😂❤

The result..looks good to me 😋😋😋

Okay….Wowwww. I checked Capt. Tom’s justgiving page…its smashed through the £20million ceiling….oh my gosh. Its gone crazy….£20 449 435.47 and growing. Thats a £4million increase since I checked late last night!! 😯😯😯😯 It’s a phenomenal amount of money and so uplifting!! I do feel for all the other elderly people also doing amazing things to raise funds for the NHS…something about this little gentleman has touched a chord around the world…

Earlier today- Extraordinary

They’re now considering a Spitfire fly past for his birthday 👏👏👏 Imagine if they could give him a flight!! That would be amazing.

https://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/spirit-of-kent-spitfire-to-honour-nhs-fundraising-veteran-225836/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Was watching Channel 5 – Stonehenge: Digging Up Britain’s Past. The history of this island is absolutely fascinating. I find it endlessly interesting. We’re so lucky to have so much history to explore. I’ve had the amazing experience of standing in a 5,000 year old burren in Ireland…..beyond description really.

I watched a bit of the news this evening, just to catch up, and I really feel so sorry for the religions; Judaism and Islam, and others that require people to be buried a particular way…within 48 hours of death…they can’t do that now and it must be so hard. 😭😭😭😭😭 This virus has affected us in a myriad of ways that are almost impossible to comprehend.

I read something really interesting yesterday….the Japanese custom of putting their hands together and bowing developed after the Spanish Flu in 1918….a way of avoiding contagion by touching another person’s hands…..the shame is that we Westerners barge in and expect them to shake hands….perhaps we need to develop the same customs….🤔🤔 I wonder what changes we will see in the future? Its certainly going to be a different world 🌍🌎🌏

So yesterday I read that we could expect to see a meteor shower over the next few days…..I got all excited and hung out the window last night, but didn’t see anything…a tad disappointed but never fear its here till next week…except what did I wake up to this morning?? Yup, you guessed it…rain!! Seriously, why am I even surprised. If there’s a hint of an eclipse or a meteor shower, you can almost guarantee it will rain 🤨🤨🤨 anyway here’s the link just in case

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/18382169.lyrid-meteor-shower-visible-uk-tonight—see/?ref=fbshr

Rain rain go away…

So that’s it really. Day 25 winds down and the world has been turned upside down.

I hope you are all well and still healthy….lets hope this nightmare ends soon. Take care and be safe 👏👏👏💙💙💙🌈🌈🌈

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

A Polish odyssey and other stories

The all too infrequent adventures of an Englishman in Poland and, as it says, other stories...

The Art of Blogging

For bloggers who aspire to inspire

ExploreOurWorld

Travel, Adventure and Exploration

The Partying Traveler

Survival of the Littest

retiredmartin

On permanent exploration of places, pubs, people and new music.

Ruth's Coastal Walk (UK)

Coastalwalker.co.uk - walking around the British coastline, very SLOWLY.

Raising My Rainbow

Adventures in raising a fabulously gender creative son.

A Guy Called Bloke

Storytelling My Life For You!

the traveller's path

The blog of L.A. Smith, writer