Am I missing something

A bit of a return to the white stuff again..

Do you get those times when you look at something and you get a completely different answer to the official one. According to the Government the vaccine programme is going so well that it’s time to get ourselves in shape so we are ready for our normal holiday filled summer. Think warm beaches and the sea. The virus apparently is back under control again to such an extent that schools can be potentially fully reopened at the start of March. So that’s the official line.

So why am I seeing a completely different picture.

Vulnerable groups are getting vaccinated but many of those have just only received one of the two doses. The second dose probably not being received until at least 12 weeks after the first one. What happened to the 3 week maximum gap. Even if everything goes to plan by the summer well over half of the population will still not have had any vaccine. The young are not even scheduled to get the vaccine even though they can catch it. The vaccine is not 100% effective and it doesn’t stop vaccinated people still spreading the virus. We don’t even know how long any protection will last and it will be different based on the individual, the number of shots you have had, when you had your last shot and on which vaccine you have had. We have mutations occurring and spreading. We have a health service beyond full capacity, with its professionals beyond exhausted and at breaking point. They can’t run like this for much longer. We haven’t used the time the lockdown offered us to make the required changes to crowded places like schools. They places even the Government yell us are vectors for transmission. So basically schools are in the same position as they were when they were deemed not safe. But this time we will be trying to reopen them with pupils, parents and staff not vaccinated at the time we are desperately trying to control the spread of mutated covid.

Sorry I’m seeing a different picture.

Costs

And finally the rain stops. For the time being….

We needed something for the house. Where we would normally buy it from is out of stock and is unlikely to be getting any new ones in any time soon. It was a similar story in the other online UK stores. Amazon was a similar story. Finally I found an option from a German Store. But here is the new post Brexit reality.

The store were most helpful. If I had ordered the item before we left the EU delivery the store would have added £20 delivery to the £300 item. Now the store had to warn me that another UK customer had just been charged an additional £140 in Customs Duties and Tax. The store had also had to increase the delivery charge to £40 to cover the additional bureaucracy they had to deal with.

Well I’m not paying that….

So we will just have to do without it until some UK stores manage to source some stock – eventually.

Please tell me just one benefit we are getting from Brexit. So far the best one I’ve seen is from the pompous moron who is the Leader of the House of Commons. He said that apparently “The key is that we have our fish back. They are now British fish and they’re better and happier fish for it…..”.

This is the politician who claimed he had more common sense than the victims of the Grenfell Tower Disaster. Our PM kept him in the Government……

What a monumental prat and what a monumental mess….

Yoga, I want some words….

If only sitting with a nettle tea and looking at a beautiful flower was classed as exercise….

Who invented yoga? Really! Who invented that medieval form of torture. I want words with them. The glossy brochures are so enticing.

Wonderful for posture

Stress busting

A pick me up for the soul

Strengthens the mind

Improves confidence

Recover your flexibility

Builds strength and a strong heart

Anyone can do it

Fun

Feel your anxiety ebb away

So what actually is the reality. What happens when YOGA meets a Yorkshire Bloke who is trying to figure out if he is Man or MUPPET….

So the iPad was fired up. A random yoga app was selected. The advanced 50 minute session selected. Surely being an experienced runner, CrossFit, weights, climbing, cycling superhero must count for something. For a start having an instructor who speaks in English would help. Whispering terms like Chaturanga Dandasana and Shalabhasana is just going to get a blank look in Yorkshire. Secondly can we not have an instructor who has the flexibility of Elastigirl. I’m not getting in those positions EVER, not even with scaffolding and a construction team.

50 minutes of basically hearing my body crack and creak. What are the official yoga terms for ‘that pigging hurts’, ‘are you kidding me’, ‘oh no I’m falling over’, and ‘I’m stuck’. Elastigirl, you try relaxing in the plank position when a dog is washing your face and the cat is scratching your heel. And while I’m on with it, Elastigirl my heel has never been designed to touch the back of my head – strangely my backbone makes that a physical impossibility. Lying on my back with my feet in the air might be doing something for my posterior but it’s playing havoc with my acid reflux. Where’s the warning to not get too close to glass windows when you try to balance on one leg while trying to get into the Superman flying position. It’s so far been beyond me to get into one position without farting…. Yes I can hold that press-up position for as long as you want but do you know the agony I’m in trying to hold a position which is basically me tied up in a knot. In fact most of the positions I’ve been instructed to hold while relaxing have quickly deteriorated into violent twitching and shaking episodes.

So yes I want serious words with the person who invented yoga. Tomorrow I’m going back to CrossFit training and weights. Those will now feel like an absolute delight. All that’s to yoga.

Differences

Wild Strawberries growing under the blueberry bush. Certainly wasn’t expecting these to grow here but with an open mind, this is such a result.

The decision to abandon mainstream schooling is in our son’s hands. It’s his life. His risks. His anxieties. His dreams. His future. So ultimately he decides. If it was my call then I’ve made my mind up. It would be homeschooling from September. That viewpoint has hardened with the last two communications from school.

The first was a summary of the schools position. Basically son is low attainment and has significant educational needs. Progress will be difficult. His educational needs are best met in the bottom set. With effort he may still be able to get a few qualifications. He is best following the normal teaching programme with no specific interventions (which would eat into tight school budgets).

Ok….

Then the next communication was his school report for the year. It painted a slightly different picture. To quote a few phrases from his individual teachers

  • Strength for creative writing,
  • Worked hard to produce some fantastic work,
  • Excellent attitude,
  • Will progress very well in subject,
  • His remote learning has been great,
  • He is a star,
  • Class work of the highest standard,
  • Superb young historian,
  • Considerable talent in the subject,
  • Very good understanding of the subject,
  • Pleasure to teach.

Ok….

Two conclusions here. One is that the report comments are standard across all the kids and so they mean nothing. Just a way to keep parents happy.

OR

The report comments are the reality and something is seriously wrong with schools overall assessment.

I strongly suspect this is a common pattern across the country. It mirrors current government thinking. If thinking is the right word to use. Basically kids with educational needs do not fit neatly into the factory production line educational approach. Minimise input costs to generate a set and limited output. Discard those items which fall out of the narrow design specification. Educational needs equate to additional teaching costs which will not be funded. Thus the best approach is to dump kids with Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, disabilities and mental health issues into the bottom set. Conveniently forget about them. If these kids then get the odd qualification out of the system then the authorities can pat themselves on the back after a job well done. Let’s not forget the important thing, all this delivered all so cost effectively.

Maybe I am being cynical but that’s the reason I am definitely falling into the homeschooling camp.

Angry clouds

It’s just been days of angry weather.

When I see this type of stormy clouds I remember back to my childhood. As you got older you started to realise that in our seaside town the weather would always seem to come from over the hills and follow the river to the sea. For us that would mean the weather would first appear to the north west. That was in the direction of one of our neighbours gardens. So the following weather expression was frequently heard from my parents.

It’s luking black ower Mr Homans Potting Shed, aye get thy washing in.

When means you have just a few minutes more footy before your summoned in as the heavens have opened. If the weather ever came from over Eddie Cook’s Pigeon Loft then it was time to get the paddling pool out.

Strangely parenting forecasting from the 70s was far more accurate that the current UK Meteorological Service best guesses. Currently the weather scientists are telling us that we have light cloud and less than a 10% chance of light rain. Well tell that to the paving stones which are currently being jet washed in the nonstop monsoon.

So let’s ditch the UK’s dodgy weather science and go old school. So here are a few other old weather laws that were passed down to me.

  • Red sky at night fisherman’s delight, red sky in the morning fisherman’s warning,
  • Mackerel Clouds in the sky then the weather is going to change,
  • The Sun or Moon saying hello means that rain is on the way (saying hello means having a halo around it),
  • The greener the Rhubard leaves the worse the weather will be,
  • Wet seaweed means rain is coming (I never bought into this one as surely that just means the tide has been in recently),
  • Rain at lunch will be gone by tea (basically saying the UK weather is changeable),
  • When rain is coming the spiders will disappear,
  • Rainbows before lunch tells us that rain will be here all day,
  • Cows sit down when rain is due (must admit this is clearly true as I was watching an episode of Ben & Holly where the wise old elf foolishly took shelter under a cow when it started to rain),
  • When smoke rises the weather will be good. When it fails to rise them bad weather is due,
  • Expect a bad winter if the hedgerows produce loads of berries,
  • If you want a dry day best to have dew on the grass in the morning.

One last weather law. I had a friend whose dad was a complete nutter. So funny. I remember him telling me once about his rabbit. He explained that his rabbit would only eat carrots when it was raining. I asked what it had to eat when it was sunny and he told me with a smile – I don’t know, will tell you when we get the sun, patience lad I’ve only had the rabbit 3 years.

So that’s me out of weather law. Can anyone add to my knowledge?

Looking at this photo I think I can confidently predict no need for sun protection….

Yorkshire is good for something

I remember my parents telling me that – ‘You were born in Yorkshire not in England.’ Rather sums up many of the views round here. We like to call it the People’s Republic of The White Rose. Surely it’s time for our county and our neighbours Lancashire to put two fingers up to Johnson in London.

So if Yorkshire did go it’s own way what could the world expect. Apart from weaponised Rhubard. Well as a taste, let’s see what Yorkshire has given to the world already…..

Yorkshire Tea

Cluedo

Cats Eyes

Stainless Steel

Sparkling Water

Guy Fawkes

Wensleydale Cheese (Wallace & Gromits favourite)

Yorkshire Puddings

Steam Locomotives

The Bronte Sisters

The first ever full sized glider (50 years before the Wright Brothers)

Michael Palin

Judy Dench

Sean Bean

The worlds loudest actor – Brian Blessed

The current Dr Who

Captain of the Star Trek Enterprise and the Head of the X-Men

And then we come to the really important stuff. The sweets…

Liquorice Allsorts

Jelly Totts

Jelly Babies

Polo’s

Aero

Quality Street

Terry’s Chocolate Orange

Smarties

Yorkie Bars

Kit Kat’s

After 8 Mints

Rolo

See Yorkshire can be a driving force for good. A beacon of hope and rain. A place lost in time. Where chocolate is still seen as a staple food. Up the Great Republic.

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.

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.

Goodbye

Well it’s almost time to say goodbye to April. Well that was a different type of month. I still can’t believe 2020 has only been going for 4 months. Feels an awful lot longer than that.

Sadly it’s time to say goodbye to a regular friend. This week is the last Terrible Poetry challenge hosted by Chelsea Owen. Thank you Chelsea for the fun. The last challenge is as follows

  1. Topic: A bittersweet farewell to something completely ridiculous.
  2. Length: You choose.
  3. Rhyming: For old time’s sake, rhyme in the worst possible places.
  4. Make it terrible!
  5. Rating: PG or cleaner.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (May 1) to submit a poem to Chelsea.

So here goes with maybe the last bit of poetry on this blog. Let’s make it truly awful. There has been a fairly common theme in many of my terrible poems – someone called Boris. As he is completely ridiculous then let’s finish with him.

Oh Boris isn’t it time you went away

Surely it’s time for another holiday

Its only a few months since your last Caribbean jolly

How you must miss drinking all that expensive bolly

Your country is deep in crisis and finds itself in such a terrible mess

So many mistakes and lapses of judgement, yet you find it impossible to confess

It’s always someone else’s fault and never your own

You haven’t managed this pandemic preferring to blame the Eurozone

You don’t listen to reason, facts are just ignored

But you do listen to Cummings, Britains very own evil Sith Lord

You only had one aim and that was hard Brexit

Your getting your way leaving us deep in the shit

Because of your privileged upbringing you are entitled to rule

You lead by example, bluffing and acting the fool

You like all the trappings which goes with being the top man

Sadly hard work and emergency meetings is not part of your plan

So for the good of your country please take your leave

Go back to your mansion, don’t worry we won’t grieve

So I long for the day when you pack your bags and wish No10 a fond farewell

Go back to your lovely life, do nothing and watch your bank account swell.

The science

Apparently I have to walk or run 50km next week so this chap evolves. Dads do have their uses when it comes to Pokémon Go. That’s probably as far as my usefulness goes. But at least I do recognise my limitations. Sadly sone people have boundless ambition and see no limit to their abilities. That is terrifying.

We foolishly watched the news.

Dad can I ask a silly question. Shouldn’t the science panel advising the Government be made up of scientists.”

Yes you would hope that a panel of scientists is in fact a group of science experts. For months the UK Government has kept going on about how it’s policy on the virus is determined by this secretive science elite. As they are scientists (and clearly they know more than we do) then we should trust Government policy. Ok that sounds like a plan.

He’s not a scientist. He’s that awful man who tells the PM what to do. How come he is on the science panel.”

After months of having to sign up to a science led approach we suddenly find out that the secretive science panel is compromised of some scientists but has key members who are political appointees. Cummings, the key PM adviser is a lead member. This is a man who believes in Eugenics – that is selective breeding and human intervention to improve the human gene pool. This is also a man who apparently thought that high levels of virus deaths was ok as most would be elderly. He’s not alone on the science panel. He has buddies. He is joined by a data specialist who came up with the Government’s online election campaign. He also has some very worrying views on the uses of private data. These two characters drive the science panel while some scientists on the panel can attend but are not allowed to ask questions. These have to be submitted in writing prior to meetings so they can be filtered. Suddenly it’s so much harder to have faith in our science led approach.

But what do I know. I’m only good for evolving pokemon.