Freedom? Week 18, November 15th to 21st 2021 inclusive



Monday, November 15th

Round Edinburgh Castle with the tour group today.  Lovely sunny day.

All over 40s in England are to be offered boosters.  And I honestly don’t know what to do.  I was really pro-vaccination until I had the second jab, and we keep being told how important vaccinations are and how it’s silly and selfish not to have them.  But I did have some problems after the second jab, which I now know that a lot of other women have had too, and that was when the medical problems which led to my being diagnosed with a large fibroid really started.  I appreciate that the vaccine cannot have caused a fibroid, but it certainly exacerbated the problems and I’m very nervous about what might happen if I have the booster.  I’ll probably have to have it eventually, but I can’t really deal with it at the moment: I’m struggling enough, especially as it’s been so difficult just to get an appointment with a doctor.  I do have more sympathy now with people who are nervous about being vaccinated – they’re being looked down on as stupid and ignorant and being taken in by conspiracy theories, but there are genuine medical concerns as well.  I didn’t feel comfortable writing about it at the time, but I really did have some very distressing and frightening problems after the second jab, and the fact that it’s so difficult to get any sort of medical help at the moment has made me even more nervous.

On a happier note, we’ve qualified for the World Cup!  Beat San Marino 10-0!


Tuesday, November 16th

We’re in Inverness!   We left Edinburgh this morning, and called in at St Andrews and Pitlochry, then drove through Culloden (sadly no proper stop there) and ended the day in Inverness.  I’ve never been this far into the Highlands before.   We had to have our temperatures taken before getting on to the coach to leave Edinburgh, but TBH I don’t think anyone took it very seriously, and you don’t have to wear masks on the coach as it’s not public transport.

The Republic of Ireland’s tightening restrictions.


Wednesday, November 17th

A day in the Highlands!   We drove past Loch Ness this morning, although sadly there was no sign of the monster, and we saw Ben Nevis in the distance.  We then visiting a) a whisky distillery and b) Glencoe.  Most people were very excited about the former.  I was very excited about the latter.  Then ended up in Oban, which is lovely – although probably a lot lovelier in the summer!

In Covid news, cases here seem to be falling at the moment, but they’re going up in a lot of places, especially Germany and Austria.



Thursday, November 18th

We drove down from Oban to Glasgow this morning, along the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Goodbye to the Highlands!   The Americans and Canadians in the group have now got to do Covid tests before going home … although we’re not sure whether the tests they did on arrival have actually been collected yet!   It seems that most cases here are now amongst primary school kids.  And there’s some talk of a new strain, which is rather worrying.

Friday, November 19th

Most of the tour group people have gone home, but I’m staying on till tomorrow, and have spent the day looking round Glasgow.  I went to the Willow at the Mackintosh tearooms!

Very worried about Peng Shuai, who hasn’t been seen since accusing a senior Chinese official of sexual assault.

In Covid news, Austria’s going back into full lockdown, the first “Western” country to do so this autumn.  Bavaria’s tightening restrictions, as are some other German states, and Northern Ireland looks set to bring back the WFH directive.  Cases in much of Central and Eastern Europe seem to be soaring.


Saturday, November 20th

I finally got to see Glasgow Cathedral just before my train home!   It was closed yesterday and this morning because of Walter Smith’s funeral.

We lost 4-1 at Watford.  Totally humiliating.  What a mess all this is.  Meanwhile, City’s match at Leipzig is to be played behind closed doors because of Covid restrictions being reintroduced in Saxony.   And there’ve been riots in Rotterdam, as anti-restriction protests got out of hand.

I am now home.


Sunday, November 21st

Ole’s been sacked.  It had to happen, but I feel kind of sad – we all love him.  We’ve got how City used to be, a new manager every five minutes and nothing getting any better.  It’s just a mess.

I went to the Christmas markets today.  Lovely sunny day.  Except that now I haven’t done the ironing.  I was naively expecting that, apart from Albert Square being closed, the Christmas markets’d be like normal, but they’re not – there are far fewer stalls than usual, and a lot of the old favourites, including the singing reindeer, are missing.  But at least we’ve got something, which is more than a lot of places have got, and it was nice.

Sascha won the World Tour Finals.  Olympic officials have spoken to Peng Shuai, who told them that she was OK.  I just hope that she genuinely is.

More anti-restriction protests in the Netherlands, and also in Belgium, Austria, Croatia and Italy.  Things turned violent in the Netherlands and Belgium.


Freedom? Week 17, November 8th to 14th 2021 inclusive

Monday, November 8th

I need to speak to the doctor about the blood test results, but it’s “routine”, not “urgent”, and will wait until I’m finally getting to see the doctor in person on the 24th.  I suppose it’s positive that they didn’t say “urgent”, they said I wouldn’t even be able to book a phone call until next week anyway, and I don’t want to cancel my week in Scotland.

Travel between the UK and the US (for fully vaccinated passengers) has resumed, at long last.

My elder nephew (aged nearly 13)’s getting his jab later this week.


Tuesday, November 9th

Covid vaccinations are to be made mandatory for all NHS frontline staff in England.  I don’t disagree in principle, but we’re already hearing that the NHS is having trouble recruiting and keeping staff, and what’s going to happen if people choose to leave rather than get vaccinated?  It’s already happening with some care home staff, and other countries are having similar issues.  Hmm.


Wednesday, November 10th

Infection rates both locally and nationally are thankfully now on the way back down.

However, things seem to have taken quite a turn for the worse in Germany, as well as in many parts of Eastern Europe.  Is there no end to this?!

And Gerald Sinstadt’s died, aged 91.


Thursday, November 11th

Today is, of course, Armistice Day,  This time last year, we were in lockdown.  This year, the usual commemorative events have taken place.

Meanwhile, things are really not good in Eastern Europe.  Bulgaria, with a population a tenth the size of the UK’s, recorded 334 deaths in a day earlier this week, and Romania 487.  It’s bad in Russia and Ukraine as well.  Will this nightmare never end?

FW de Klerk’s died, aged 85.


Friday, November 12th

Great.  I checked to see what time the Glasgow Christmas markets opened, only to find that one had been cancelled “due to Covid” (2 weeks ago, after I’d made by plans) and the other one (apparently not affected by the same Covid issues as the first one, even though the sites are only a few hundred yards apart) will now not be opening until the day after I leave.  It’s not like I was going particularly to see them, and the ones in Manchester are the best in the country anyway, but it meant I had to rejig my plans slightly.  Then I got an e-mail to say that, at a week’s notice, Glasgow Cathedral would be closed next Friday.  So I had to rebook it for the Saturday, reprint the tickets, reopen the suitcase to put the printout in, and rejig my plans again.   I have no idea why it should be closed.  It’s the Protestant cathedral, so maybe they’re praying that Rangers find a decent replacement for Steven Gerrard.  I can’t think what else can have changed at such short notice!

Also, why does the National Rail website have to put a huge warning sign next to trains from Manchester, just to tell you that the area may be busy due to the Christmas markets?!

Considering that I am the world’s most stressed person even when I’m not panicking about the fibroid trauma, I think I’m remarkably calm!

In Covid news, it looks as if the Netherlands may be going into a partial lockdown, and there’s talk of Austria introducing a lockdown for unvaccinated people only.


Saturday, November 13th

Travelled up to Edinburgh on the train this morning.  The train was quite busy, because of people going to Murrayfield for Scotland v South Africa, but very few people had masks on.   Lovely sunny day – hooray!

Edinburgh Castle, and, because it keeps tourists happy, a piper on the Royal Mile:


Sunday, November 14th

Remembrance Sunday.  Events have taken place as normal this year, after they couldn’t last year.  But, sadly, the Queen was unable to attend due to a bad back.  In Covid news, Austria’s putting unvaccinated people into lockdown.  Restrictions have been announced in the Netherlands too.  And Rafa’s been talking about vaccinations.  It’s still not clear what’s going on with the Aussie Open.

Meanwhile, I’ve had another nice day in Edinburgh – Holyrood Palace and Arthur’s Seat, and the Field of Remembrance:

I met up with the rest of the group this evening.  I was amazed to find that most of them were Americans and Canadians – evidently, all the palaver with testing (people get handed tests at the hotel reception, and are supposed to do them and put them in a collection box) isn’t keeping tourists away.