20th November 2021
Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: Week 86 Winter Skies
Many times this week I am mesmerized by the stunning colours that streak the skies at sunrise and sunset.
We are now well into November but we are blessed with some lovely, sunny and mild weather so, despite the short days I am able to continue exploring my local area in Dorset. Brownsea Island is closed but I am still able to visit the island by joining a working party. They are now busy getting ready for the start of the new season in March 2022. Colourful autumn foliage is still in evidence in many places and the red berries clothing some of the trees are more abundant than usual. Does this herald a severe winter?
Monday 08 November 2021
After a very quiet morning trying to work through my list of things to do – not easy when every phone call involves having to wait ages to actually speak to a person I go for a walk around Poole harbour. There are a lot of birds around including geese and swans in the harbour. I have my digital SLR camera with me and spend some time trying to capture some good images. I start with a gaggle of geese on the mud flats in the harbour as the tide is out.
I cross the road and walk through the public gardens to Sandbanks Beach. These gardens always look good whatever the season and I play around with different compositions before heading back to the flat.
COVID cases hit record high in Germany The country has seen 201.1 new cases per 100,000 residents over the last week; the previous high was 197.6 in December 2020. It has set alarm bells ringing about what has been called a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”
Tuesday 09 November 2021
A new experience today. I am going to join a working party at the outdoor centre on Brownsea Island. After some rain early this morning it is developing into a lovely morning so I cycle to the National Trust jetty to get the staff boat. We walk to the Outdoor Centre. A lot of trees have been felled since the island closed at the end of October and it has created some openings looking out to sea.
We start with coffee and flapjack as we discuss the allocation of jobs. Two of us are sent to the South Shore Lodge to clear out a large store cupboard in one of the bedrooms. In the past this lodge has slept up to 36 people. But, due to the coronavirus pandemic that number was reduced to 12 this summer. It will stay the same next summer so our job was to empty the cupboard and then work out what should stay, what should be thrown out and put everything else in store. We have a short break for lunch but are very pleased with ourselves when we finish our task by the end of the shift. We walk back to the quay to get the staff boat back to Sandbanks.
Coronavirus Cases Surge to Record Highs Across Some European Nations Germany is averaging more than 28,000 daily infections. Austria has ordered unvaccinated people to keep out of cafes, barber shops and other public spaces. Russians returned to workplaces around the country Monday after a mandatory nine-day break ordered by President Putin.
Care chief opposed to mandatory Covid vaccine as home care 'did not have same losses as NHS and care homes' as, for the domiciliary workforce in England as it is all about “balancing the risk” and says “if you look at the amount of people who died in home care from Covid as a result of home care compared to care homes, it is so small in comparison".
Wednesday 10 November 2021
Work and housework take up the whole day but still have time to enjoy a wonderful sunset this afternoon. As the days get shorter the sunrises and sunsets are glorious and a great opportunity to practice with my new digital SLR camera.
Over-65s could be banned from public spaces unless they have Covid booster such as restaurants and trains according to the Health Secretary during an interview on Sky News. Concluding that in these uncertain times nothing can be ruled out.
Right to insist on Covid jabs for NHS staff - Health secretary Sajid Javid defends mandatory Covid vaccinations for frontline NHS workers in England but vows to do "whatever is necessary" to support workers who are reluctant to receive the jab.
Thursday 11 November 2021
It is Remembrance Day today and I proudly display my poppy on my jacket. I notice this year the little enamel poppies have the date printed on them. There have also been memorabilia stalls dotted around the town giving this important event the higher profile it deserves.
My day starts with a fabulous sun rise over Poole harbour. Fortunately, this did not herald rain later in the day. I am very grateful it stays dry as I am on outside duty as a COVID-19 vaccination marshall. The small pharmacy near Castlepoint in Bournemouth where I am based has a very sensible approach as they have very limited space so, with one appointment every five minutes it can cope with two people waiting to be vaccinated and five people sitting for fifteen minutes after they have been vaccinated. I have several tasks to perform, checking people in, sanitizing the chairs and chatting to the patients.
Thousands of double-jabbed over 50s have died from COVID in the last 4 weeks - over 2,500 as revealed by new data but, proportionately this is still less than the unvaccinated.
No Jab no Job - Care homes in England set to lose 50,000 staff as double Covid vaccines becomes mandatory from today.
Friday 12 November 2021
I wake to the sound of rain pounding on the roof. I am meeting some fellow volunteers for coffee at Compton Acres this morning. As it is a wet day the bike stays in the garage and I get the bus. I am the first to arrive and bag one of the last free tables as everyone is sitting inside this morning. Over a round of hot drinks, we discuss wide ranging issues from WOKE (which we all find totally unnecessary) to Christmas shopping – too early. By the time we emerge from the cosy café it has stopped raining so I make my way into the Japanese Garden. The colours are amazing – one of the Acer trees looks as though it is on fire.
Austria to put millions of unvaccinated people in Covid lockdown in a matter of days while the German government said it planned to tighten restrictions, as infections in both countries soar to record highs and intensive care units face an increasing strain.
Medication holiday may boost vaccine protection as an important trial will test how to boost Covid jab protection in vulnerable patients whose immune systems are weakened by drugs they need for other health conditions.
France accused of Brexit ‘spite’ as 1,000 migrants cross Channel in a day and accused France of "ceding sovereign territory to criminal people smugglers" The Home Secretary, is understood to be furious at an apparent "go slow" by France on intercepting migrant boats.
Saturday 13 November 2021
I spend the morning writing and pausing now and then to watch an episode of The Vigil, a box set. I try to ration myself to one episode a day when I start a box set but never quite manage it. By the time I am ready to go shopping in Bournemouth this afternoon I have watched all six episodes. I walk through the Lower Gardens on my way to Bournemouth Square. The setting up of Christmas decorations is making rapid progress and the ice skating rink is nearly ready. I am very impressed by a new edition, a giant, reflective reindeer.
While I am waiting for the bus I notice a small flock of birds continually circling above me. They are moving quickly and forming patterns as they follow the same route. I later discovered it was a small murmuration of starlings. This small group will join other groups in the area – and the result should be impressive – possibly thousands of starlings flying in formation.
Christmas lockdown should be avoided as winter Covid wave unlikely, says expert whose modelling helped instigate the first coronavirus lockdown. Prof Ferguson said he hopes the immunity levels mean no return to social distancing restrictions this winter.
Sunday 14 November 2021
This morning I head for the Isle of Purbeck with my friend. We get the bus which takes us across the chain ferry to Studland and then get off at Greenlands Farm and start walking from there. I have not walked on this side of the road before and after taking two short paths that end first by a lake and then at a bird hide we finally take to the grass verge and make our way to Studland Village. I am wearing some super walking trousers and a lovely top supplied by Maier Sports to review so I stop to take photos as we walk.
We walk through Studland Village, past Bankes Arms and then take the path to a little café on South Beach where we buy a coffee and then find somewhere to sit and eat our picnic lunch. After eating we decide to get the bus back into town and have an early fish and chip supper at Chez Fred in Westbourne. On our way there we walk through the Westbourne Arcade already displaying Christmas decorations including a huge Snowman. At Chez Fred’s we both have one of the daily specials – hake. It is perfectly cooked and accompanied by a generous helping of chips. A lovely way to end our day out.
Anti-vaxxers boycott Tesco after Christmas ad features double-vaccinated Santa Tesco became the target of a social media hate campaign over the weekend after the release of its annual Christmas advert, which this year features Santa Claus bearing a Covid vaccine pass.
In the News Today
Boris Johnson holiday villa linked to Zac Goldsmith firms accused of tax evasion -according to Spanish courts the luxury villa is linked to Costa del Sol property businesses owned by Zac Goldsmith’s family that engaged in a multimillion-pound tax evasion scheme.
Some Government Statistics
By 5 pm on Monday 08 November, a total of 9,333,891 (total that day 32,322) positive COVID-19 tests have been recorded and the cumulative total of deaths within 28 days of a positive test is 141,862 including a daily total of 57. By the end of the week on Sunday 14 November, the total of positive cases had risen to 9,561,099 (total that day 36,517) positive tests, and the cumulative total of deaths within 28 days of a positive test is 142,898 including a daily total of 63. Total deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate is now 165,534 an increase this week of 1042. (This statistic lags behind the daily statistics as it is updated on a weekly basis).
More next week
Valery Collins is the Experienced Traveller
An excellent raconteur, Valery has been writing about her experiences on the road since she started travelling 25 years ago. After publishing four books she turned to online travel writing.