Your Coronavirus Pandemic 1 Year on

On 11th March 2020 the world health organisation announced that COVID-19 could be characterized as a pandemic and that a pandemic was not a word to be used lightly.

The early stages of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns were hard on many people, in different ways, unemployment, families trying to live, work and study under one roof or individuals having to rely on themselves and draw on their own resilience resources to adapt and absorb the enormity of the situation. There were also many other challenges severely affected the mental well-being of many people around the world and yet here we are, a year on.

It’s a tough subject to write about and one which we are all effected by on daily basis in our own uniquely uncomfortable way. It’s possible to feel both guilt for the good things that have happened as well as joy or remorse for the bad things that have happened and yet relief for the bad things that have not happened too, all in one blink of an eye on a reflection of range emotions and issues.

I do also wonder what would have happened politically, socially and environmentally to our streets, towns, cities, countries and planet had no pandemic occurred and life had continued to race on at its break neck speed into potential oblivion.

It feels like the brakes have been put on a runaway train of consumer capitalism that was our everyday race for life and although consumer capitalism is still very much our way of life and affords us to live, can we now appreciate what we have a little more and aspire to protect and value the sanctity of life in a new found appreciation of what we have and what we hold dear to us. Essential workers can finally feel that well for want of a better word they are essential to the fabric of human life and society.

Who would have thought 12 months ago that to stack a shelf in grocers store was a means to help feed a nation. If I had my way I would give all essential workers and minimum waged workers a huge pay increase not as a thank you but as an acknowledgment to the role they play in a society and economy. This would enable workers to be able to afford to keep an adequate roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. The money that the low paid earn is ploughed straight back into the economy because unlike the wealthy they don’t have the luxury of saving wealth you simply spend to live.

You could tax pollutants such as fossil fuels like they were industries equivalents to humans smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol. You could also create a new digital economy type of VAT where everything bought online had a Digital value deducted tax. It would cause prices to increase but if people are earning more this would still balance out.

Well look at that not been in a pub or had a drink of alcohol for what must be over 3 months and still getting drunk on ideas and trying to put the world to rights. Roll on the open of those bars again so I can go in and start to have a conversation about ideas like this and pretend it is because I am drunk again!   

Massive Attack – Teardrop

Today is a good day

Today is a good day to have a Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine injection.

Today is a good day to finally let myself out of my home after having been told to shield since  Tuesday.

Today is a good day to walk to the doctor’s surgery in town and meet and que with other residents of Exeter waiting to have their injection.

Today is a good day to wait patiently inline and be directed and assisted  by the volunteers, nurses and GP’s working tirelessly to save lives.

Today is a good day for the sun to shine on my brief foray around Exeter.

Today is a good day to have a National Health Service and be grateful for it.

I hope you have a good day today too.

James – All the Colours of You

I have been asked to Shield at Home

Along with an Extra 1.7 million people in England I have been asked to shield at home starting from today. So no more trips to work, the shops or the pharmacy or meeting up with people outside or inside of my home or theirs home.

I have been working full time with 2 days at home and 3 days in the office each week. But yesterday I received a letter from the NHS that said that due to putting new evidence into a risk model with information the NHS already holds, I have now been identified as being someone who might be at high risk of catching and becoming seriously unwell with Coronoavirus.

So I am now classed as being in a high risk category and am now formerly known as clinically extremely vulnerable. People in my category are now currently advised by the government to shield and stay at home as much as possible until 31st March or Be Free Day as I might get use to calling it.

This is so surreal, The whole covid-19 pandemic has been so surreal and I have done my best to aim to obey the rules and do the right thing and follow advice throughout the pandemic but I kind of did it hoping to prevent an infection for a vulnerable person or people not realising I was that ‘clinically extremely vulnerable person myself’!

I do not know for sure because the letter did not make me feel worse by telling me what my risk factors were but I can mainly assume it is a combination of my newly diagnosed diabetes, age, weight and blood sugar levels along with my past mental health difficulties for which I still take medication for.

With regards to my physical health and diabetes diagnosis I had already put measures in place to try to do my best to reduce my diabetes risks as I have been following a new food regime which has resulted in me losing at least 0.5 stone or 3.5kg over the space of a few weeks and I was already very motivated to continue with this new food plan.

Sunday lunch with less roast and more veg!

It is a very simple plan. No snacking, having a sweet or desert only with a meal and weighing my portions or rice, pasta and potatoes instead of just bunging them on a plate like I used to. This plan does seem to be working for me and when I want to have a snack I just have a drink instead.

I am due to have my first phone assessment with a diabetes dietician next week where she can look over what I am doing and hopefully provide me with any hints or tips too.

The diagnosis of diabetes is something that has been hanging over me for years and now finally having it has been a call to arms for my mind and body to really try and focus on losing weight and getting my blood sugars back under control.

Managing diabetes, my weight and blood sugars is going to be an ongoing fight for me now and knowing that I am now described as clinically extremely vulnerable at the age of 45 possibly due to physical and mental health issues is a wakeup call and call to arms to hopefully sort my shit out!

I am also due to get my Covid-19 vaccine jab this Saturday which is one of the reasons I am still allowed to leave the house so that can but only be good news too.

Birdy – Keeping Your Head Up

WW2 bomb detonated in Exeter

A 400m cordon was set up before the bomb – which was 1,000kg heavy, around 2.5m in length, and would have fallen from a Nazi bomber in 1942 – was detonated at about 6.10pm on Saturday 27th February. I could hear the explosion from my house which sounded like a firework going off when they detonated it. Social media in Exeter went a bit crazy as well with reports of what was happening from peoples homes at the time of the detonation.

One friend commented on his FaceBook site about the bomb going off, only to have people that did not know what was happening jump on him, saying that there were no bombs in Exeter and they certanly were not being detonated that night (little did they know).

The news that the bomb had been discovered at first broke on Friday 25th February it was found on a buidling site probably for new student accomodation as that is what most buildings sites are for in Exeter or so the locals would have you believe, this site was just by the university. My boss was one the people that had to go on site throughout the weekend and other staff were also called upon to assist during the weekend.

The video below is an edit of a classic 1960’s film scene called the Italian Job with Michel Cain and the actual expolsion in Exeter edited together.

It was a bloody big explosion on site with many properties being damaged close by. Though fortunaly no one was injured and properties are being checked for damage and people being provided ongoing support.

More than 2,600 households and University of Exeter halls of residence were evacuated after the device was found on Glenthorne Road on Friday.

Police declared a major incident and put up an initial 100m (330ft) cordon, extended to 400m (1,310ft).

Bomb disposal experts used 400 tonnes of sand to create an enclosing “box” before it was made safe at 18:12 GMT.

About 1,400 students were evacuated from 12 halls of residence after the explosive was found by builders on private land next to the Streatham campus at about 09:20 GMT on Friday.

The bomb evacuation zone in Exeter Pictured above

Police said bomb disposal crews “worked through the night to establish a walled mitigation structure” and they had been expecting “a big bang” to be heard “quite a distance across Exeter” during the operation to make it safe.

Any residents who have been directly affected who are in need of support should phone the helpline on 01392 265000. The line is open form 9am to 5pm.