Monday, March 15th
A terrible thing has happened 😦 . Thorntons are closing all their shops. Their chocolate will still be available online and from some supermarkets, but all their shops are going. I can’t believe it. There’ll be no High Street shops left at this rate.
Sunday’s Census Day, but you can fill yours in early if nothing’s going to change. I decided to fill mine in today, then read it over later in the week, then send it in. I appreciate that the decision to go ahead with it was taken before Lockdown III, but it’s going to be rather a mess. You’ve got to fill in it as things are now, so loads of people will be putting that they’re not working, even though they have actually got jobs, and loads of people will be putting that they’re working from home and therefore not using any form of transport to get to work – so how are the authorities meant to make decisions about the transport network?
Nice sunny day today. More and more daffodils coming out. And we’re stuck in this limbo. And hairdressers in Wales have reopened … but we’ve got to wait another four weeks.
Some countries have suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, this time because some people’ve got blood clots after having it, but there’s no evidence that the blood clots are linked to the vaccine or that the incidence of blood clots is any higher than it would be anyway. You can now e-mail the doctors’ surgery, so I’ve e-mailed to ask if there’s any news on vaccinations for Group 10. No harm in asking.
And Portugal’s off the “red list”.
Tuesday, March 16th
Bleurgh. First, Indian Wells was cancelled. Now, Rafa’s pulled out of Miami. He says that it’s so he can focus on getting ready for the clay court season, and that sort of makes sense, but I’m bothered about just how bad this back injury is.
Also, infection rates are up in 7 out of the 10 local boroughs. Not ours, but it’s probably only a matter of time. It’s because secondary school kids are now being tested regularly. There doesn’t seem to be any panic, because kids are rarely badly affected, but a) it shows how many asymptomatic cases there are around, b) a small number of kids *are* badly affected, c) it could be passed on to a vulnerable classmate of family member, d) it means that some kids have been sent home from school again, already, and e) with no plans to vaccinate under 18s, and no vaccines even licensed for under 18s, the issue of infections in children is a problem.
On a happier note, Prince Philip has been released from hospital. And the first tulip’s out in my garden.
Boris’s hair is horrendous. Mine is pretty bad, but his is ten times worse.
And the surgery e-mailed me back to say that they’re still on over-50s.
Wednesday, March 17th
I don’t believe this. Just as my turn for the vaccine was getting close, the NHS is warning of a “major contraction” in supplies and saying that it might have to suspend appointments for first doses. This may or may not be connected with Ursula von der Leyen again threatening an export ban, in her continued attempts to blame everyone but herself and her team for the complete balls-up they’ve made of the rollout in EU countries.
We’re also being told that people in their 40s will have to wait whilst the NHS chases up people in Groups 1 to 9 who haven’t yet come forward.
I am not very happy about this 😦 .
It’s been a nice sunny day – blue sky, and more and more daffodils in the park.
But this latest news about the vaccines really isn’t very good.
Thursday, March 18th
Oh, how annoying is this? I do appreciate that it’s not aimed at me personally, and I also appreciate that we were always going to hit a supply hitch at some point and have done very well to get this far without one, but I was so close. The word was that some people aged 47-49 in our area had been contacted, and that people aged 45-46, i.e. including me, could probably hope to hear next week. And now it’s probably going to be another month. Another month of not being protected. And, whilst I do get that it’s not about holidays, if I’d had my first vaccination in late March or early April, I’d have had my second in time for the summer holiday season. So near, and yet so far.
It seems that one shipment of 1.7 million doses is being held back for extra testing, and that a shipment of 5 million doses from India’s been delayed by 4 weeks because of production problems. I thought it was great that Boris praised the “herculean” efforts of the production facility in India, rather than slagging off the people whose hard work’s offering us a way out of this nightmare, like that nasty piece of work Ursula von der Leyen’s doing, but it is, nevertheless, annoying. The original target was to complete groups 1 to 9 by 15th April, and we’re 4 weeks before that and I’m group 10, but … ooh, it’s so, so frustrating. So nearly there … and now I’m not.
On a happier note, we won 1-0 at AC Milan, 2-1 on aggregate, and are into the Europa League QFs. And it’s been another nice sunny day. More daffodils out in the park. Please, please be nice in April!
Friday, March 19th
After a third fortysomething friend posted on Facebook that she’d had the vaccine, I rang our surgery to ask what was going on. The answer was that a small number of people in their late 40s had been contacted, because the walk-in centre had had some doses which were nearing their use-by dates, but that, following the announcements on Wednesday, no-one outside the top 9 groups would be being called for the time being. Existing appointments are being honoured, so my friend must just have been lucky in that her area was slightly ahead of ours and she’d been contacted before Wednesday. Which is great for her, and I’m very pleased for her, but it’s very frustrating for me!
The number of cases is edging up now. However, we still only recorded 4,802 cases across the UK today, compared to (yesterday’s numbers) nearly 35,000 in France, nearly 30,000 in Germany and nearly 25,000 in Italy. There’s increasing talk of a “third wave”. Will this nightmare ever end?!
I just heard a squeaky noise, panicked that the boiler had thrown a strop, and then realised that it was some birds tweeting in a tree!
For all this talk about third waves and vaccine shortages, there’s been no suggestion that the “roadmap” will be altered for the time being. Everyone really is fed up, so let’s hope that things can go ahead as planned.
And we’ve been drawn against Granada in the next round of the Europa League.
Saturday, March 20th
Over 700,000 vaccinations were given in just one day yesterday, which is amazing stuff, but so, so, frustrating for my age group, left waiting outside with the door shut in our faces! On a more positive note, over 50% of the adult population’s now had their first dose. Cases are creeping up again, but hospitalisations and deaths are falling, which is more important. However, the news from the Continent is grim, with the term “third wave” being used more and more. With fears that rising numbers of cases there could lead to new variants arising, hopes of foreign travel (bearing in mind that most foreign travel from the UK is to the Continent) being allowed to resume any time soon are fading. Poland and many parts of France have gone back into lockdown. Oh, will this nightmare ever end?!
I went to Clifton Country Park this morning. Took my own scone, from The Coffee Sack, with me! It was nice to have a change of scene, but the place was absolutely plagued with people with dogs, and the paths there are very narrow. I went for a walk in Heaton Park later. Much as I like going for walks, I am getting very fed up! And my hair is an epic disaster.
Japan’s said that no overseas fans will be allowed in for the Olympics. My trip to Japan, booked around 18 months ago and postponed from last October to this October, looks very unlikely to happen. Ditto my trip to Iceland, rescheduled from last July to this July. I’m used to going abroad at least twice a year, usually more – I know that sounds “privileged”, but I wear the same grotty old clothes for decades, and use gadgets until they stop working – and suddenly not being able to do so is very odd. I haven’t even been allowed to leave the local area for 5 months.
On a different note, I saw our local Big Issue seller today, sitting on the pavement in the precinct. I got him something to eat, and he’d got some hot drinks, so hopefully people are keeping an eye out for him. He’s a well-known face in the local community: he’s been selling the Big Issue outside M&S for years. But Big Issue sellers aren’t allowed to work during lockdown. How stupid is that? Newsagents are allowed to open, and, OK, magazines aren’t “essential” in the same way that newspapers are, but surely the Big Issue should be a special case. During Lockdown I, a big effort was made to find homeless people somewhere to stay, but it doesn’t seem to be happening this time.
Sunday, March 21st
A record 844,285 vaccinations were given yesterday. That is amazing. However, it makes it all the more frustrating that – whilst I quite appreciate that it’s no-one’s fault – most under 50s now face a long wait. All this talk about vaccination passports is frustrating as well: it makes you feel like a second class citizen. And it’s pretty silly, given that much of it involves activities that are mainly the preserve of younger people. Vaccination passports for summer music festivals? WTF? The vast majority of people who go to music festivals are under 30, and will therefore be last in the vaccination queue, so how’s that supposed to work?!
Everything feels frustrating. When you’re trapped doing boring work for 5 days a week, and get very little time off, weekends are precious. A dry Sunday in daffodil season is like manna from heaven. The Lakes? Chirk Castle? Biddulph Grange? Bolton Abbey? No … another walk round the park, and another walk into Prestwich village for another cake that I don’t need. Everyone has had enough. People are sitting at tables outside cafes, which they’re not meant to. Kids are playing football in big groups, which they’re not meant to. Plenty of people have had their hair cut by mobile hairdressers, which they’re certainly not meant to. The odd sanctimonious person tuts at all this, and says that they’re prepared to endure restrictions for as long as it takes, for the Greater Good. I’m sure people only say that because they think it makes them sound virtuous. It actually just makes them sound annoying.
Yes, I’m sure we’re all aware that we’re in a pandemic, and that the restrictions are not just there to annoy us, but people are getting down. And do scientists think they’re helping by saying that we’ll probably have to wear masks and observe social distancing for years to come, that there’ll probably be a big flu epidemic in the winter because immunity’s dropped due to lack of contact, that overseas travel will be off the menu for months yet, that even vaccinations won’t stop the pandemic, and all the rest of it? They’re the modern equivalent of those people in the 17th century who went around proclaiming that the end of the world was nigh! People can’t deal with hearing all that at the moment.
It’s not been a bad day. Lots of daffodils in the park 🙂 . Just frustrating.
OK, off to watch the Cup QF. At least we’ve got football, which is more than we had this time last year! I know I’m moaning a lot today, but I’m fed up.
… and we lost the Cup QF at Leicester, 2-1. Bleurgh!
Bleurgh indeed …