Herd Immunity

Ok social distancing may have gone out of the window in my country but really. In the farmers field as well. Boris Johnson wants to go for the herd immunity approach. Well here it clearly is in operation.

Spain have deemed it’s not safe to open schools up until September. On Monday Boris Johnson is trying to force some English schools to open. According to him – it’s safe. According to an increasing number of the scientists who advise him – it is not.

Over the last three days Spain has has 3 Covid related deaths. The UK has had over a 1000 covid deaths in the same period. Let’s put that further into perspective. The UK total covid deaths yesterday was more than the combined numbers across most of Europe. Adding together the covid related deaths in Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Portugal, Belgium, Ireland and Poland and the number is still much lower than here in the UK. This is a virus which has not yet been contained. Yet our Government tells a different story.

Johnson is not fit to lead. He is not my PM. I will ignore him and we will chart our own course. This is one household where schools are most certainly NOT reopening in June….

Many other people are now completely ignoring this shambolic government. People are making their own rules up.

  • When to go out and when to stay in.
  • If they use a face mask (if ever) and what type of mask to use.
  • How close to stand next to someone.
  • To self isolate or not. What symptoms to look for and what symptoms to ignore.
  • When to go to work and when not to.
  • When to stockpile and when not to.
  • Whether they limit travel or are free to travel as far as they like.
  • To use the incomplete contract tracing system or not.
  • Using public transport or not.
  • To go to a packed beach or not.
  • And yes to send kids back to school or not.

I can’t blame people for doing this. I’m doing it. That’s what people do when you give clowns and charlatans the keys to power. My worry is this

Yes many will be cautious and act responsibly. But how many will be reckless and endanger the wider population. From the photos and videos the answer appears to be – far too many.

Cows

The grass cutters have finally arrived. Always a great watch. Even the cows seem to be practicing a bit of social distancing.

Dad did I hear that right we have a track and trace policy going now.”

Yes, after abandoning it in March (as it was deemed to be pointless by the Government) they have now decided it’s a good idea. They have apparently employed 25000 people to do the tracing. Unfortunately the software still doesn’t work.

We don’t believe that number do we.”

No Son we don’t. It’s just lie after lie now.

Apparently it’s cool to go on the beaches now. Maybe they have decided the virus doesn’t like sand and donkeys.”

Sniggering. Yes that might be the case. Since last weekend many of our beaches have been crammed full with tourists. Basically people started ignoring what the government was wittering on about. If it’s ok for the Governments Top Man then it’s ok for us. They have lost control. Now the so called PM is saying it’s official policy to get the beach towels out as so many were doing it anyway. ”

“The science has stopped being used.”

Yep Son it’s gone out of the window.

So if someone goes onto a beach with the virus. Extremely likely given the numbers still with it. Then those trackers are supposed to find who is now at risk.”

That’s the plan. Basically the conversation will go something like this.

  • So you have tested positive, we need to trace who you came into contact with?
  • I went to the beach, used the toilet, rode on the donkeys, queued for chips and went into a shop to buy ice cream.
  • Who did you come into contact with?
  • Thousands of strangers. Best of luck tracing them….

Well Dad at least the donkeys can be traced.”

Don’t forget the seagulls who pinched the chips.

You know what Dad. Let’s give the beach a miss for 2020.”

Can’t really blame him….

Dear John

I seem to have upset someone with my last post. The person clearly didn’t want his name mentioning. Sorry I blocked you John. I assume that’s his name from the email address. My finger must have slipped. Ok John, to help hide your identity how about I call you something like Dork Head.

According to my new friend, I apparently was disrespectful to the President of the United States. Really…. I must have missed that one. I was also patronising to the British Government and our fine Brexit leadership . Ok you might have caught me on that one….. John (sorry I keep forgetting to call you Dork Head) thinks I was showing my left wing bias and I was still having a tantrum over Brexit. Apparently Cummings did act like any reasonable parent would do and the government is doing a brilliant job in controlling the virus. To doubt that is to be a traitor.

Ok lets set a few things straight Dork Head.

  • I do think Trump is an absolutely appalling example of a human being. The damage he is doing to the US and the wider world is incalculable.
  • It’s equally appalling that the self serving, incompetent buffoons in the British Government, actually think it’s a great idea to copy Trumps antics.
  • Cummings (basically the guy running our government) broke the lockdown instructions. Those with honour have already resigned for far less. If he’s such a great parent why would he strap his young son in the back of a car and then do a 60 mile road trip to test his apparently damaged eyesight. What about the other road users he would be risking. How convenient that the road trip took in a tourist destination. This was when his family was supposed to be self isolating. I bet the locals in Barnard Castle are thrilled with the idea of someone potentially with the virus, visiting their neighbourhood.
  • The fact that Johnson and Hancock are now trying to water down pandemic rules to protect one man is horrifying. The needs of the one are clearly more important than the needs of the many.
  • So a brilliant job equates to 50000 deaths. The highest number of deaths in Europe. The second highest death rate in the world. The carnage which has been unleashed on our unprotected care homes. Our health and care workers struggling without sufficient PPE. Nurses resorted to wearing bin liners as protection against a pandemic – bin liners….. One set of rules for some and no rules for others. No strategy, no plans, shambolic testing. They can’t even meet their own targets even when they fiddle the figures. When a person who has a swab taken from the nose and throat, is counted as two separate tests.

Bottom line Dork Head John. This is no government of mine. I have turned my back on them. If that makes me a traitor then that’s cool with me. They deserve zero respect. Until the likes of Johnson and Cummings are gone then I have no government. I will not follow any instructions from them, I will follow my own principles and my own understanding of the situation. I will chart my own course. If that is against the law, then tough, as Cummings would say – I’m acting as any self respecting parent would do. I also bet that the approach I will take will be infinitely more sensible and far better for the wider society than anything this bunch of crooks and clowns can cobble together.

See you John, enjoy your government. It’s everything you deserve.

Other worlds 2

There was a time when my mobile phone was only used for making phone calls. The phone call function now seems to be an optional extra. It’s now basically my camera, runs the house and sons Pokemon world generator….

As the great Terry Pratchett once said

Always be wary of any helpful item which weighs less than it’s operating manual.

As ever Terry in his hilarious fantasy worlds got life better than many so called modern philosophers. And while we let that thought hang in the air, let’s move onto the last Thursday challenge for a while. Yes people you will be safe from my terrible poetry for a number of months. But as Terry P also aptly pointed out

It’s not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing.

So it’s time for Chelsea Owens last challenge for a few months and my poetry….. Chelsea is taking a much earned blogging break over the Summer. This week’s challenge is about writing your very worst poem possible. Bonus points for squeezing in Douglas Adams like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy references. Truly awful poems need to forwarded to Chelsea by 8.00am MDT on the 29th. As a Yorkshire lad I have no idea what MDT meansbut it does sound kinda cool. Maybe something like Mindless Donald Tweets.

This poem might not mean too much if you have never read the great Douglas Adams books or have not had to endure the UK governments truly disgraceful lies (on a different scale over the last few days). To cut a long story short our PM is not in charge. That honour goes to a bloke called Cummings who is unelected but seems to have plenty of dirt on enough people to make him important. The country followed strict lockdown rules with the police taking action action rule breakers. We were told the rules were not requests, they were mandatory instructions. Stay at home or people will die. Senior People have been forced to resign for breaking them. Well apparently the rules didn’t apply to Cummings. He travelled 250 miles from his home to his parents (also a no no). This was when he and his wife had symptoms. Let’s just hope they didn’t need fuel…. He then decided to apparently test his eyesight by driving his wife on her birthday and with young son and dogs in the back of the car, 60 miles to a tourist site (Barnard Castle). Now this has been discovered the public are what is the phrase I’m looking for – pissed off. But now the government is saying that Cummings acted as any parent should do. So absolutely no action should be taken against him. In fact he’s a great citizen and parent according to Hancock (Health Minister). Basically all the parents who stayed at home and followed the lockdown instructions were stupid mugs.

*************

Douglas Adams wrote of other worlds and evil races like the Vogons

He didn’t need to lie and cheat, no need to come up with patronising slogans

Now we have our very own new fantasy story authors

Cummings, Hancock and Boris, the UKs evil lying rotters

They inspire as much hope as Marvin the Paranoid Android

And are as pleasant as a hot curry to someone with a hemorrhoid

They only look after themselves, just like two headed Zaphod Beeblebrox

They gorge on the finest food while the peasants are expected to stay in detox

We all thought the answer to life was forty two

Well apparently not, that answer was a load of poo

The answer to everything is now apparently the tourist site called Barnard Castle

We are instructed to lockdown but for Cummings that is far too much hassle

If you are Cummings you can test your eyesight by driving your kid 60 miles

Just a coincidence it’s your wife’s birthday, ignoring restrictions with many smiles

Now that’s apparently Ok as it Cummings says his little poodle called Hancock

A man so stupid he’s turned this country into nothing more than a laughingstock

So thank you Douglas for writing some of the funniest stories ever told

And thank you those who voted for Boris, a man as useful as the common cold

***********

*** This is version two. The cleaned up version. It’s amazing what words you can find to rhyme with words like luck, fit and flanker…. ***

Trip

Reminders of what is still out there. So close yet in this changed world, so very far away. Photos from a time before lockdown. Seems almost a lifetime ago.

Trying to reintegrate back into the big bad world will be a challenge for many. Certainly it will be for our little family. We have however taken the first very hesitant steps. The overall journey will not be easy and will require frequent retreats.

A couple of houses close to ours have started large renovation projects. Much scaffolding, many trucks and vans. With that comes workers, strangers on the door step to our sons safe world. Now the safe boundary has shifted from the front gate to the front door. His world has contracted again.

We just have to live with this. Thankfully the back garden is still safe in his eyes.

Over the last week we have been building towards a short journey. A little round car trip. Unfortunately the new strangers to the village disrupted those plans. But we have made it with a few tweaks. We went early before anybody had time to arrive. That way we also had the roads to ourselves. Careful car reversing managed to get the car close enough to the house to allow son to take a few hesitant steps. I opened the car door so he didn’t have to touch any alien surfaces. We then drove for 10 minutes without stopping. No time for walks or photos. Then back home for Son to shower and change clothes.

That’s a start. We may go again next week. We will go when Son says so, not me. I suspect it will be a long time before we have new photos from the trips. But these few shots from winter show what even a little 10 minute drive can reveal. As hard as some governments try to wreck our life’s – it’s still a wonderful world.

Gluten and dairy

Sorry having to milk the red flowers. They don’t last long and then that’s it for another year. Sadly shopping comes round much more frequently.

Another weekend shopping experience to be quickly forgotten. Yes we are always thankful to get some stuff. Things like bathroom rolls (toilet paper) and soap are getting easier to find. Finally some popcorn. Ok it’s just salty but we can add honey to it. But then the inner grump comes out in me.

So many items we take for granted are now becoming a luxury. The words out of stock, no alternatives, unavailable are becoming such a frequent part of the wonderful shopping experience. In terms of our Son it applies to a number of his favourites

  • Tomato ketchup (has to be Heinz)
  • Pasta
  • Skinless sausages
  • Baguettes
  • Tortilla wraps
  • Mini fairy cakes
  • Tinned carrots
  • Corn on the cob.

For me it’s the gluten free and IBS friendly alternatives. Yesterday I drew a complete blank. Yes you could get a few glutenless meat sausages and a couple of soya based meal options. Not great when you are trying to be a veggie and soya blows you up like a balloon. No dairy free milk option except Soya. Not one single gluten free bread based option. Looks like I’m trying to bake my own again – the last one ended up painted and used as Jurassic World play island… Yes we got some jacket potatoes but they look like they have just been used as projectiles in the latest Highland Games, then sent to the army range for target practice.

So unless I can find some super expensive options on Amazon then this weeks meal options will be another challenge. I’m ok, I can just walk around looking permanently pregnant thanks to my inflamed IBS. It’s more of a challenge for our Son with his set eating patterns. Moving from them causes so much anxiety for him.

Dad I’ve got an idea. Let’s just have a week eating crisps and chocolate. Wash it down with full sugar coke. Not good for us but at least it will be fun.”

I’m so into this idea. Yes I will end up very round. Having a body that looks like the perfect figure. A 6. But is that not a better option than looking pregnant from dairy and soya intake. Decision made. Where’s that family sized packet of potato crisps.

Boris Award

We have not awarded a Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson Award for a few months. Remember we set this up to honour the fine body of self deluded, incompetent numpties in our society. Well one chap in the UK is so overdue this award it’s about time he got what he so richly deserves. I give you our much loved Health Secretary – Matt Hancock. This incompetent buffoon is apparently in charge of the NHS.

Photo sourced from Wired

Where do we start with Mr Hancock. He has enough material to write several books. Let’s hope one of those books relates to his trial and imprisonment.

  • In his time in government he has voted against giving health care workers a pay rise. They have basically enjoyed a pay freeze. As a result the pay of groups like Nurses have seen real terms wage cuts of 20% over the last 10 years. Last year he finally got round to awarding them a modest pay award unfortunately he won’t commit to awarding any further increases. His reasoning (you will notice a catalog of self delusion with Matt) that nurses have received very significant pay awards over the last few years).
  • Matt has said he would see about giving nurses another pay rise sometime in the future. However for their brave sacrifices he will give them a special badge. He is also quiet happy to see overseas medical staff who are working so brilliantly in the NHS, having to face increased registration costs due to Brexit……
  • Matt picked a fight with professional footballers. He thought that during the pandemic that they should take a pay cut and donate to charity. He failed to recognise that many do actually give a lot to charities. He also failed to call for many of the much richer backers of his own party to accept a pay cut. Interestingly when asked if Matt would take a pay cut he replied No as he was working very hard.
  • He might be in charge of the NHS but he has spoken previously about the need to sell parts of it off. He has also accepted thousands from a pressure group who wants to privatise the NHS.
  • In March 2020 most of the country looked on in horror as the government allowed one of the biggest sporting events to continue without any virus restrictions. Even though these types of events had already been banned across Europe. So why was Matt so keen for the Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival to go ahead. Why was it a good idea (apparently backed by scientific advice) to allow 180000 people to group together during a pandemic. Who can tell. It’s fascinating to note that Matt has strong links with the Horse Racing Industry and has received political donations from them. Sadly links are being established with the festival and the spread of the virus.
  • When Matt was questioned about the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kit for front line health workers he got a bit annoyed. He was being questioned by an MP who is working as an A&E Doctor during the pandemic. Matt told her to watch her tone….
  • Key health workers are having to reuse PPE, use bin liners and basically take risks. Those working in other care settings are doing far worse. Yet Matt proudly boasts that he is sourcing enough kit and actually nurses should start looking after the kit better. Then he made a big announcement that 100,000 items of kit had been sourced from abroad and was arriving in hours. Hours turned into days. When the kit arrived it had to be sent back as it was not fit for purpose. Strangely Matt has glossed over that.
  • Matt told an interview in March that he had been working really hard with the supermarkets to ensure food supplies during the pandemic. That was interesting as that appeared to be news to the supermarkets themselves. The message seemed to be we have not heard anything directly from the government as yet.
  • He likes to brag about meeting his personal target of the country testing 100000 people a day for the virus. What he’s less happy to talk about is the number he uses to meet his target includes missed tests, tests which have failed to be processed, tests mailed out to people (so still in the post and not yet been carried out) and tests which have failed (so need to be repeated). The actual number of daily tests performed are well below his own target.
  • He’s been talking about imposing virus checks at UK airports since March. Finally those checks are starting but not at every airport. Even at airports which will begin screening arrivals, it’s not at every terminal. Not even every plane….
  • Dear old Matt has now claimed that he put in place a protective ring around our Care Homes as soon as this crisis hit. That’s really interesting as the perceived view is rather different. Basically Care Homes have been left with no guidance, no protective kit, no testing, no tracing and no support. Care staff with little medical training and no kit have been trying to treat residents struck down with the virus. People have been dying in their thousands in Care Homes with no help from Matt. Until recently they didn’t even count deaths occurring in the care setting. Currently the estimated coronavirus deaths in UK Care Homes stand at over 11000 (likely to be much higher). That’s some protective ring Matt….

Trust me I could go on and on about Matt…..So Mr Hancock you richly deserve this award. Unfortunately your country and in particular the elderly in our care homes deserve way better than you.

What does it teach us

Dad I’m seeing either a new element which will make up the next Ironman reactor or a distant multiverse….”

Strangely I was thinking

Better pull the little blighter up, that’s where the tomatoes are going…..

It’s all about different perspectives. That’s reflected in two conversations I’ve had with teachers today. Same child, two different teachers, two different takes.

  • He’s been doing so well. Worked his socks off. Have to find ways to allow him to shine. Need to try and get him into much higher teaching group.
  • Bottom set is his level. He does struggle with the basics of reading and writing.

Again let’s not forget, teachers are humans and it’s down to individual perspectives. You agree with some you don’t with others. But they are human.

Our current Government and media fail to recognise that human element. For the last few days teachers have been demonised. Their crime being to raise safety concerns about the proposal to reopen parts of the school system. They have been branded cowards, lazy, lefties, traitors. The nurses have risked their life’s so the teachers should pull their weight and get back into schools. Those making these comments are currently working from the safety of their own living rooms. It’s so easy to attack people, to ask others to accept risk when you are bunkered down in your little safe area. To call for sacrifices from the comfort of your armchair. Tell you what why don’t we do something. Before we send teachers and young kids back to school why don’t those demanding these sacrifices volunteer to work in a care setting for a week. Until they are prepared to do this then they should crawl back quietly into their nest of vipers. Leave sorting this mess out to those who will treat people as humans. Understand them, support them, be honest with them, work with them.

Busy

Running round the small garden for what seems like the millionth time and desperately trying to find an excuse to stop for a few seconds. Thankfully a yellow rose is a suitable excuse for a photo pit stop.

I’m sat writing this during another brief day pit stop. Son is having a wander round the garden, dreaming and working on what we do next this Sunday afternoon. It will be a short pit stop. Maybe 30 minutes at most. It’s an odd busy feeling….

My mind wanders back to pre Aspergers, pre parenting life. Early commutes, days filled with meetings, projects, accounts and people management. The working week punctuated by the occasional long train journey to London. Trying to get the works laptop to link to the train WIFI, so many unread emails to look at. I would return home and think – wow that was busy. Then the world changed three times. Parenting, Aspergers and then bereavement. One overriding thought comes to mind. What was I doing with that career life. Busy maybe, happy not, fulfilled – most definitely NOT. The first two events forced both our careers to alter. Suddenly the careers had to start fitting around our Son. One of us had always to be there for him. Definitely feeling busier. Then with a flick of a switch, two parents became one. The career was untenable and that was it. A new part time job and a full time single parent role.

Now the world has changed again. A social distancing fuelled change.

So I’m sat here watching son dream and I’m waffling on with these words….. Thinking about

  • A backlog of washing and domestic tasks,
  • Getting my head round this weeks school at home project,
  • Laying the groundwork for a switch to full on homeschooling,
  • Preparing the next appeal document to try and source the additional help our son needs,
  • Arranging calls and sending emails to teachers. Trying to make schooling work for son,
  • A garden which looks like an Amazonian Rainforest,
  • Looking at other work from home options as the current ideal role is potentially not outlasting the pandemic fuelled government incompetence,
  • Reading online DIY guides, preparing for the next home servicing and repair task,
  • What to cook for lunch and tea,
  • Scouring the online food supply options. Trying to figure out what we really need. Then trying to somehow book a home delivery for what is available,
  • Picking up the courage to get out the sewing kit and repair those pesky trouser knee holes,
  • Looking at the home finances spreadsheet AGAIN. I must be missing something,
  • Thinking about what things we can line up to fill the half term week off with fun and happiness. All without going through the front gate.

So the meetings, the commutes and professional career have gone. Yes I am at home. Yes my paid work is part time normally but has currently ceased completely. It may not seem like I am busy. But sat here, looking out the window, I have never felt so busy. Busy definitely YES, Fulfilled most definitely YES.

Now I am called back into action. Take care everyone. WE will do this.

Saturday

A Bee with purpose.

I know I’m not the only one who feels like this but this morning I just can’t get going. I should be sat here writing a post after finishing my morning workout. Raring to go with today’s fun and mayhem. But no. Not even got my gym clothes out of the washing machine yet. Just can’t seem to get going….

The Sun is shining and it’s quite warm, so I can’t blame that.

I just feel like a computer stuck in safe mode. Only operating on reduced power. Just going through the motions, slower than normal. Feeling a bit sorry for myself.

  • I’m tired, didn’t really sleep last night,
  • I’m fed up with the thought of having to wear a chemical and biological warfare suit when I want to pop out to buy some chocolate or post a letter,
  • I’m sick of living in a country run by self serving clowns,
  • I want to hear news which does not involve a virus,
  • Annoyed at the thought of forgetting to do routine stuff. Stuff like probably forgetting to press the washing machine ON button last night….
  • I want to go running in the hills without having to stay alert and measure out my safe distance,
  • I want to have a car that basically works and one which has a replacement brake system which has been stuck in China since March,
  • I have had enough of walking into the kitchen and not finding any food which is even vaguely suitable for IBS,
  • AND I am so frustrated at seeing my beloved Son not feel able to venture out through the front garden gate and experience any of the beautiful world we live in.

Well that’s it. Time to start living. Writing those grumpy cat words have done the trick. I finally feel motivated to get my gym stuff out of the washing machine (don’t care if they are unwashed). Going to do some exercise then going to get my big backside back in gear. Going to have some fun. Going to make Son happy. Going to watch some German Football. Going to root about the bottom of the freezer for some nice food. Going to talk to a real good buddy and see if they fancy playing an online game. Then the day will finish with a great movie night, eating full fat crisps and watching a very silly film.

We can do this…..