L3 (Day 57): Norwich

Appointments for Covid vaccinations confirmed at the local centre approximately 500 metres away.

My mood lightens.

Thank you NHS and all who sail in her.

~

CLP 04/03/2021

L3 (Day 55): In The Post

I receive an invitation to attend a Covid Vaccination Centre within the next week or so. The nearest centre offered by the NHS website I am directed to is 36.7 miles away. Meanwhile, 500 metres up the hill here is a Covid Vaccination Centre.

It was brassic today, the weekend was clearly a Fools’ Spring. We bathe in cold light caressed by winter’s freezing fingers.

~

CLP 02/03/2021

L3 (Day 28): At the Window

Another day of tears. A venerated old man died along with one thousand, four hundred and forty-eight other UK victims of the pandemic. Tomorrow Will Be Good Day is the title of his book.

With that hope in my heart I withdraw from this one.

~

CLP 02/02/2021

Lockdown 3 (Day 23) Norwich

I received a phishing scam email purportedly from the NHS about a vaccination.

Given my age this was a nice surprise. I am not on the priority list, but who am I to question an email from the National Health Service? No one knows quite what is going on, so I was quietly pleased about this.

Did I want to accept the invitation for a vaccination, or reject the offer? Why would I want to reject an invitation for a vaccination?

All the type faces / fonts and logos were good copies of the NHS official documentation. I was directed to enter all sorts of information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Mother’s maiden name

MOTHER’S MAIDEN NAME?

This is not an NHS data requirement.

I checked who the sender was. Right click the mouse on the sender’s name and the actual address is revealed. It showed a private hotmail.co.uk address. The NHS does not distribute such information from a UK Hotmail address.

Delete. Report.

I called by my brother-in-law’s flat at his invitation. We haven’t seen each other for a while. We are each other’s half of a support bubble. We talked about end of life care. This was an important discussion to us for a number of reasons.

After we moved onto talking about football and cricket it was time to head for home. The rear tyre of my bicycle had suddenly blown while he was on the phone to one of his daughters. The pop came as surprise to him and disappointment to me.

It was close to midnight. There was just one other pedestrian on the street. No traffic. Light rain was falling. The rain was soft and cool. It felt like springtime.

A few blackbirds were issuing alarm calls from the wooded escarpment to my right.

I enjoyed the walk. There is a full moon somewhere behind the cloud cover.

CLP 29/01/2021

Lockdown 3 (Day 9) In the Rain

I went out to deliver a loaf of bread and spent time talking with my friend who was taking a few moments outside her front door taking in the bizarre combination of fresh air and tobacco smoke. She smokes quite theatrically, turning her head to the side when exhaling the toxic gases she has moments before inhaled quite deeply. I haven’t spoken to a smoker for many months and it was a novelty to observe her process.

A recent study from Kings College London showed how vulnerable smokers are to covid-19. As I may have mentioned before, I think that banning tobacco sales would have been a good move when the pandemic measures were implemented. If saving the NHS was such a big deal, why not remove one of the main sources of ill-health in the country (in the world!) from the market?

It is my only pleasure” you might hear a nicotine addict say. Will they say that again when dying of pneumonia after having a lung removed and their loved ones witnessing their ghastly and untimely demise?

Rain started to fall as we stood about four metres apart. Here and there tiny white balls of ice fell that appeared too white and too light to be hailstones. They melted on touching the ground. Snow balls? The Inuit have a word for this form of precipitation I suspect.

As I cycled back home through Chapelfield Gardens two police officers were talking to a homeless man. One was writing into her notebook. The man’s worldly possessions, including a sleeping bag rolled up and tied with string, were lying under a bush. I hope the officers were able to direct him toward some support. They will have plenty of information to tap into. The question will be whether he wants any help they can offer.

The first lockdown illuminated the size of the street homeless population. It is a growing problem as jobs are cut and incomes fall due to the economic impacts of the pandemic and Brexit.

Goldfinches litter the air with their excited song. The days are a little lighter, despite the cloud cover.

~

CLP 13/01/2021

On Numbers (1,162)

Oh My! This is bad

Each one a human being

May they rest in peace

~

n.b. Dark days indeed. Read this article published online by The Guardian today to try and get a grip on what the hospital teams have to deal with…clapping for them is an irrelevance. This is a disaster.

~

CLP 07/01/2021

Tier 4 (Day 5): BBC Radio 5 Live

30th December, 2020. I wake up to the news that a stable, easy to administer vaccination has been approved for public use.

GPs will be delivering the mass vaccination programme as soon as possible. A GP on the morning news programme estimates that he could issue up to 500 jabs per day if supplies from the manufacturer are available.

Those who argue against mass vaccination have undoubtedly been infected by fears of their own and a need to feel as if they are “independent” or “free thinkers”, when in fact they are out of touch with humanity and a danger to public health. I suspect most, if not all if them, were vaccinated as children against polio, as a minimum and probably tetanus at some time, so they have had the privilege of health protection from the start of life.

Anti-vaxxers will continue to rely on the humanity of others being vaccinated to allow themselves to continue to enjoy the privilege of pontificating to others about their “free will” and crazed conspiracies.

We need everyone’s engagement in this public health programme from the off to get up to full hugging speed.

This BBC programme will tell you more about how the vaccine has been developed…although it may not be available everywhere worldwide.

In the meantime, my thoughts today are with those currently fighting infection, treating infection, or mourning losses from Covid-19.

I feel particularly humbled by the sacrifice made by those volunteers who were in the vaccine control group that did not receive the test vaccine who became infected and those who subsequently died from Covid-19. Science is not magic.

~

CLP 30/12/2020

On Numbers (1:2)

Too many to cope

NHS intensive care

Two ill for each nurse

~

n.b. The surge in Covid-19 hospital cases has led to the nursing staff guidelines for patients in Intensive Care Units to be changed this past weekend, so that each nurse may have two critically ill patients to attend to throughout a duty.

During the initial wave of Covid-19 hospitalisations the ratio of patients to each specialist nurse was allowed to be up to 1:6.

More information about the situation can be found in this article: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/08/nhs-england-suspends-one-to-one-nursing-for-critically-ill-covid-patients.

~

CLP 08/11/2020

On Nights

While we slide to sleep

Others haunted by nightmares

Work on regardless

.

n.b. For my son, my brother, my niece and all the others working NHS night shifts, tonight and every night.

CLP 2nd May 2020

Day 23

The reed marsh by the mill flooded with the night’s full moon. The earth bank traps the tide as a pool. At the point of turning back toward the sea the water is still. Without a breath of wind on its surface it becomes a mirror to the cobalt blue above, inverts reeds, the grassy bank and the trees to the west. Everything in duplicate; nothing moving.

A pair of marsh harriers patrol in the distance. A kestrel flies down from the wood behind the flint cottages, crosses my path and swoops up gently to stall its flight so it can perch on top of a telegraph post along the beach road. A red kite, its long, loose-elbowed wings at full stretch, pulls away from the bird reserve and heads for the low hills.

Along the coast road, midges and other tiny insects swarm in clouds at head height. One species, (that look like thunder flies), settle on my bare arms, tickle my face, make my hair itch. I move through this chaotic mist tight-lipped.

An RAF jet completes some oppressive circuits of the neighbouring villages. The pilot practises climbing and then diving on full throttle. An employee of the state summoning up the most terrifying noise whilst going about his duty.

In the small grocery store and post-office the staff jest with a familiar customer about the aching desire to just hug each other, those they know, or anyone they fancy. They are getting less choosy, they joke, as the “Lockdown” continues. The physical distancing demanded by the government may soon be getting longer. Social distances may soon be getting shorter.

Strangely, knowing that this illness attacks the lungs, the government’s scientifically-led health advice and regulations still say nothing about selling and smoking cigarettes. I am saddened to see that people still ask for cancer sticks at the pay counter. How does this evil industry continue? The population is being asked to “Save the NHS”, but some of its heaviest users are still allowed to self-harm with the connivence of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, piling wholly unnecessary demands on the health service.

My elder son gets home from the night shift. He sleeps; then later in the day plays with his two children; cooks for his family and plans an early night before Friday’s day shift. Another employee of the state. Another doing his duty.

My younger son, working in The People’s Republic of China, is now able to enjoy spring weather and is happily socialising more freely after the strictures of the past three months. There hope blossoms with the cherry trees along the river. He watches what is happening in Europe with concern.

Christopher Perry

9th April 2020