Monday, August 16th
Dad’s coughing less and, thankfully, is OK otherwise. And, thankfully, no-one else has got any symptoms. The rules change today – any earlier and I, Mum, my uncle, my brother-in-law’s dad and several friends would all have had to self-isolate for ten days. I’ve been in the office today, but I was in a room on my own – my colleague is on long-term sick leave – and haven’t been near anyone else.
“My” entrance to Heaton Park is going to be closed for FIVE WEEKS because of bloody Parklife! I mean, WTF? It’s a two day festival. How can that possibly justify closing a main area of a busy public park for FIVE WEEKS? I can get in a different way, but it’s a bit far for a dinner hour walk, plus it’d mean walking a long way along the side of a busy main road rather than actually in the park. Bleurgh.
Roger’s having another knee op and will be out at least until next year. No news yet on Rafa and the US Open.
In the middle of everything else, the Taliban have retaken control of Afghanistan and over 1,200 people have been killed in an earthquake in Haiti.
So much for being fully vaccinated giving you “protection”. Dad is only one of several people I know/know of who’ve tested positive despite having had both jabs. Hopefully the vaccines will at least stop you from becoming seriously ill, unless you’re extremely unlucky, but I think we were all rather over-optimistic about how effective the vaccines’d be.
Tuesday, August 17th
Oh, this is just the gift that keeps giving! Mum started coughing last night. She did a lateral flow test and it was negative, but apparently the line was very faint, and she thinks she must have it too. So now they are both self-isolating.
I’m going to WFH for the rest of the week.
On the downsides, so much for the vaccines stopping you from getting infected, On the upside, apart from the coughs, thankfully they are both OK. 18 months ago, if someone had coughed for a few days, you wouldn’t have thought anything of it. In most cases, the vaccines are stopping serious illness.
So do we carry on with the testing and the isolation and the daily statistics announcements indefinitely, or do we get to a point where we treat Covid like flu?
Dad’s PCR test came back positive. They asked him to fill in some test and trace stuff online, but he couldn’t work out how to do it! Then he got a phone call from someone who sounded like he was in a call centre abroad, and didn’t speak English very well. Excellent.
And my colleague who has been on sick leave for month has passed away. It wasn’t a big surprise, but it’s still very sad.
Finally, they are apparently closing the Sheepfoot Lane entrance to the park, as well as the Grand Lodge entrance. It is as clear as mud. I rang the office to check, but no-one there was sure either. Nor were they sure how it could possibly be necessary to close off parts of a public park for 5 weeks because of a 3 day festival. They’re putting up a few temporary sets, not building a palace!
Wednesday, August 18th
It gets worse. My brother-in-law’s dad started coughing and sniffling last night, and now he’s tested positive too.
Again, thankfully it’s nothing worse than a cough and a bit of the sniffles. But the Delta variant is clearly incredibly easy to catch, even for people who’ve been fully vaccinated, and that’s really frightening. All the uncertainty which the vaccines were supposed to eliminate is still there. If you want to travel abroad, you’re taking a huge chance – however careful you try to be, you could still test positive before travel and lose the holiday, or test positive before return and be stranded abroad. Or you could suddenly be faced with ten days’ isolation just as you’re supposed to be getting married or doing something else really important. Or, if you can’t WFH, find yourself having to take ten days off work – and a lot of employers will not pay any more than the legal minimum statutory sick pay, and self-employed people get even less than that. I’m really feeling quite downbeat about things.
And Dominic Thiem will be out for the rest of the year with a wrist injury 😦 . Who exactly will be playing at Flushing Meadows?!
Thursday, August 19th
Thankfully, no-one else has shown any symptoms. I am going round to Plague Towers tomorrow, to drop some groceries off outside the door, like people leaving butter on the Prestwich butterstile during the time of the bubonic plague. Mum and bro-in-law’s dad have both had positive PCR tests.
The average infection rate across Greater Manchester is just below 300 per 100,000, which in turn is just below the national average for England. The East Midlands, East Yorkshire, parts of the West Country and seaside towns (including Blackpool) have got the highest rates.
Sajid Javid’s confirmed that a booster vaccination programme will be starting some time in September.
It looks as if my brother-in-law will be able to continue WFH full time until October. Lucky him! It’s very difficult in London – most people commute by Tube, the Tube trains are usually horrendously crowded, and it’s not even as if you can open the windows like you can on a bus or a tram.
And some friends had decided to take a chance, and booked a last minute holiday abroad. Had the pre departure PCR tests. And one of their kids tested positive. Thankfully, the kid is fine, just a bit sniffly, but the holiday is obviously now off. So sorry for them. And this is exactly the sort of thing I meant yesterday.
Friday, August 20th
Just like this week wasn’t crap enough already, Rafa’s announced that he will not only miss the US Open but will miss the rest of the season as well. He never plays well indoors anyway, so it makes sense, but … please tell me that this isn’t the end He’s been written off before and come back, but he was younger then. Both Rafa and Roger out for the rest of the season. Dominic too, but he’ll be back … will they? I hope so, but I feel very sad and very worried.
Went round to Mum and Dad’s to leave the shopping on the plague stone (i.e. outside the front door). They are OK, just bored. Dad is so bored that he’s walking laps of the garden (weather has been better today).
My bro-in-law’s dad has taken part in some weird test to find out whether or not Covid can be detected through sound. He had to say “I’d love an afternoon tea, please”, then breathe heavily three times, then cough three times. I am not making this up, honestly!
The lockdown in Sydney’s been extended yet again, until at least the end of September. Like that’s going to make Covid magically go away. And the whole of New Zealand is also in lockdown. And some people I vaguely know have had the holiday nightmare I’m dreading – went abroad, had the PCR tests before coming home, one of them tested positive despite being fully vaccinated. They’re in a relative’s holiday home, so at least they’re not having to pay for a quarantine hotel, but they’re now stuck there, missing at least 10 days’ work, and panicking in case one of the others gets it and they’re stuck there even longer. This situation is just a nightmare.
Saturday, August 21st
Dad and bro-in-law’s dad are OK, but Mum is feeling very tired. Just hoping that this passes in a few days’ time.
It has poured down nearly all day today. So miserable, especially in August and when so many people are on staycation. I went – in my cagoule and wellies – to do the new sunflower walk at the fruit farm. The sunflowers looked lovely, even if I didn’t!
Then I went to the garden centre, but I haven’t done much else … although I’ve got some boring admin jobs done. Watching the tennis from Cincy now, but feeling rather morose about it.
Thousands of people have protested in Sydney and Melbourne about the ongoing lockdowns, and clashed with police. There was also a peaceful protest in Brisbane.
The news headlines here are mostly about the awful mess in Afghanistan … and the way in which people are more interesting in trying to score political points at home than in actually trying to do anything useful.
Sunday, August 22nd
Well, our great start to the season didn’t last very long, did it? Drew 1-1 at Southampton this afternoon.
The weather was better today, at least. I went to Bakewell, where I went to the Tiroler Stuberl, where scones come with lots of Continental whipped cream instead of clotted cream … wouldn’t do as an ongoing thing, but it does for a change! Then to Matlock Bath.
I love the Derbyshire Dales, but it’s such a nightmare journey! It takes me longer to get to Bakewell, which is 45 miles away, than it does to get to Windermere, which is 80 miles away.
Not much to say about Covid. Locally, cases are slightly below the national average, some boroughs a bit lower, some higher, figures fluctuating a bit day by day and week by week but no major changes. Nationally, I’d hoped deaths would be falling by now, but they aren’t – but they’re not rising either. If this is as good as it gets, how can we go on like this? How can anyone plan holidays, weddings or anything else when they could be forced into ten days’ isolation at any second? How long do we keep being given daily stats for deaths? We don’t get them for any other disease. I just don’t know where we go from here.