Tag Archives: uk

Three Months of Grim Winter Lockdown Easing, at Last

The children are going back to school as this long winter lockdown finally begins to ease. In the UK, cases of Covid-19 are now low, most vulnerable and older people, including myself, have been vaccinated. I believe the chance of any of us getting the illness, and especially of getting it so severely that we need hospital treatment, is very low. At the moment I feel positive, more so than at any time in the past year (apart from perhaps July/August 2020).

I’d be happy for our children not to have to wear masks all day at school. I think it’s still a wise policy for adults in confined spaces, but for kids to have to wear them every day, six hours per day, is too much, and probably not even necessary. Let them be free, I say. I very much doubt my kids are going to give me, or anyone else, Covid, especially since they’ll be doing lateral flow tests every week.

The Beginning of the End?

Yesterday was a big day. The UK became the fist country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for widespread use. People will be getting the jab from next week. The first to receive it will be those in the extremely vulnerable categories, the elderly and health care workers (which will even include me due to my work volunteering for Macmillan). I must privately admit to being a little apprehensive, if I’m being totally honest. I know the vaccine is not made of a live virus so there’s no possibility of me getting Covid-19, it’s not that that worries me. It’s more the fact that it’s been developed and approved so very quickly and that it is an RNA vaccine – a type of vaccine which has never been done before. I feel apprehensive about it, as I think many people do, because once it’s in, it’s in, and there’s no going back. I’m worried about side effects. But then again, the side effects from catching the virus and possibly getting Long Covid are said to be far, far more unpleasant than any possible side effects from having the vaccine.

Today, three ex-Presidents of the United States of America have pledged to have their vaccination jab live on television (Obama, Bush, and Clinton). In this particular case, we do want to see our leaders go first. I think it will reassure us.

Meanwhile the UK has come out of Lockdown 2.0 and into a new, stricter three tier system. My area is in Tier 2 (High). Restrictions apply, but shops are open. I will test this by buying a pair of new winter boots tomorrow.

A Spider in the Heat of Summer (50 excerpt)

OH JESUS CHRIST A TARANTULA HAS JUST RUN ALONG THE CARPET IN FRONT OF ME!!

I’ve been typing this diary entry at the computer in the living room and I’ve just dashed to the kitchen to get a mixing bowl whilst having a sweaty panic attack. This is what comes of having to keep all doors and windows open to combat the intense heat. Now I’m trapped and terrified. It’s ten o’clock in the evening. I don’t think I can deal with this enormous monster by myself. I’m not sure what to do.

I’ve just messaged Lindsay to come and save me. I’m desperately trying not to look at the creature whilst at the same time never taking me eyes off it, so I don’t lose it if it runs off. It’s so big. It’s disgusting. It’s making my toes curl. I’ve put an extended umbrella on the floor next to it and laid a chair on its side in order to keep the thing from running under a desk and into a bunch of wires where it would be difficult to get at. On the other side I’ve put three Asterix books on top of each other. I’m trying to box it in. But I won’t be able to get the mixing bowl over it because it’s right up against the side of the bookcase so the angle isn’t right and I could accidentally chop it in half or tear a leg off or something revolting. I’m sweating with fear and trembling all over. I hope Lindsay gets here soon. This is an awful situation. I hate being a single mother and having to deal with spiders.

I’m frozen. I daren’t move, and I’m praying to God that it doesn’t move either, because then I’ll have no choice but to advance on it with the bowl all by myself. But what if it moves when I go and answer the door? How will I keep it in sight if I’m walking away from it?

Oh thank God Lindsay has arrived.

She has just said, “Oh fuck it’s a tarantula. It’s massive. It’s come straight out of the jungle.”

We are both sweating and swearing and wondering what to do. I don’t think she expected something THIS BIG. We’re also desperately trying not to wake the twins, who are asleep in the sauna upstairs.

“I’m naming him Cedric.” Lindsay is staring at it with deep respect.

We discuss optimal methods of approach. We try out different ways to hold and utilise the mixing bowl for when Cedric moves and she needs to quickly ram it down over him.

Now she’s having difficulty getting him into the bowl because the horrible thing won’t move! How loathsome is that? She’s just prodded it, and all it did was shift a leg slightly. Now she’s stabbing at it with the corner of a magazine… and she’s done it!!!! She’s managed it. Oh thank fuck for that. She did yelp and jump backwards, but the deed is finally done. The monster is underneath the mixing bowl.

Jesus, that was so stressful. We are both panting heavily, but at least we can relax for five minutes until we feel strong enough to complete the second half of the task. Time to wipe ourselves down with kitchen roll.

Trump is History!

Or will be as soon as January comes along.

The American people have come to their senses and voted for Democrat Joe Biden to become the 46th president of the United States of America. Thank goodness. Proper Covid measures can at last be brought in to protect the people (mainly from themselves) and the US can now rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and the WHO. Nasty, aggressive, policies brought in by Trump can be reversed and deleted. What a relief. Democracy is back in America. Everyone I know is delighted.

Meanwhile the UK is on Day five of Lockdown 2.0. We’re doing okay. I’m taking the children for walks at the weekends and they’re still going to school during the day, so nothing much changes for us, which is good. No eating out though. No going swimming, visiting the shops, or meeting up with friends. No getting professional haircuts. Paul and I did Jack’s hair with clippers in the kitchen on Saturday, and to our surprise it came out very well. Saved us £10! We may continue with this after lockdown (if he’ll let us).

Lockdown 2.0

As expected, the Government has announced that a second national lockdown will take place, although this time schools, colleges, and Universities will stay open. It will last for four weeks and then regions in England will go back into the tiered restrictions that have become familiar recently.

I agree that a lockdown needs to happen – and probably one more stringent. I intend to follow it to the letter. I’ve decided to socially distance from everyone, including Paul (my ex-husband and father of the twins) and my parents. I want it to just be me and the twins in the house, no-one else. Coronavirus cases and deaths are rising alarmingly exponentially in the UK right now, steeper even than during the first wave of the pandemic. I think I’d prefer the children to stay at home this time too. For safety’s sake.

I’m worried about getting the virus again. I feel short of breath from time to time, but as happened during the first wave, I can’t tell whether it’s psychosomatic or real. If it’s real I wouldn’t know whether it’s one of my usual long Covid flare-ups or the start of something new. I have no other symptoms, really – perhaps the hint of a sore throat – but I’m trying to ignore that. In winter I usually have a sore throat and a cold for about three months solid so it’s nothing remarkable. I don’t want to panic myself…

But still. These are very worrying times.

Brace, Brace, Brace!

Much of the UK is living under severe restrictions now, with some places in local lockdowns. The area where I live is unchanged from where it’s always been… but I think a national lockdown could be imposed soon. I’m trying to make the most of my freedom whilst I still have it, continuing to be very careful with hand washing and mask wearing, of course. But the figures don’t look good. France is currently faring the worst in Europe, and today president Macron announced a second national lockdown for the country. I think I will manage to squeeze in one brief trip away before school starts again after half term and we in the UK are all told to stay at home once again.

New Three Level Covid Alert System for the UK

Depressingly, there are now more people in hospital with Covid in the UK than there were in March. This virus is coming to get us once again. A general feeling of fear is starting to kick in… although not for young adults. They don’t seem to care two hoots about the virus. Yet more parties of hundreds of people have been broken up – hosted by people who have actually tested positive, would you believe?! Unbelievably selfish. They may not be severely affected themselves, but they’re highly likely to pass it on to others, who could be.

In response to these rapidly escalating cases, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that there will be a new three tier alert system in England. The categories are ‘Medium,’ ‘High,’ and ‘Very High,’ with each classification determining what type of intervention is needed:

Where I live, the risk level is Medium, so, for now, we have a relatively unvarying way of life, which these days means strict social distancing, frequent washing of hands, and mask-wearing outdoors in crowded public areas and shops. The Prime Minister has ruled out a national lockdown, calling it the “extreme route,” but I have a feeling it’s coming anyway, sooner or later…

Grim and Grimmer

The news in the UK is depressing. Covid-19 cases are rising exponentially, and death rates are fast increasing. Apparently you’re three times more likely to die from Covid than flu or pneumonia. New restrictions are expected to come into force any day now. It’s slightly worrying because Keith and I have just booked a short, two-day break in Bath. He’s paid for it in full and I’ve booked for us to have afternoon tea at The Pump Room. I have no idea whether we’ll be able to go.

We’re starting to feel everything closing in again. It’s been raining for days and I have a headache. Today Amy developed a sore throat, mouth ulcers, and a tummy ache. I hope she gets a good night’s sleep and feels better tomorrow. Thank God there’s no school – inset day, whatever that is.