Monday, 29 July 2019

Water problems. And chemists.

This morning I ran in the sunshine. Five minutes after I returned, the clouds moved in and the rain came down, some straight down and some almost horizontally, blown by the wind. Strange! In the following two hours it cleared and rained and cleared again. There must have been rainbows somewhere. As has happened in the last few days, by early evening the day was fine and bright. Very confusing.

Still, it could be worse. The day before yesterday I saw television footage of floods in Barcelona, water flowing a couple of feet deep down the street. There have been reports of half a month’s worth of rain falling in just 24 hours across parts of England over the weekend. Our daughter told us of places near home which had been flooded. It’s just as well she doesn’t have to travel to work every day at the moment.

And Greater Manchester police tweeted a photograph of a crashed Lamborghini, which demolished a section of barrier after its driver lost control on standing water. The driver fled on foot before police arrived. “A very expensive mistake,” police said. “They don’t make very good boats!”

Seriously weird weather!

Now, if hot weather is going to be the norm for at least part of the summer in the UK, people will need ice cream. It appears that this is one of the things we should be stockpiling in case of shortages after Brexit.

The following is a report from January of this year but still it might be relevant:-

“Unilever is stockpiling Magnum ice-cream in the UK to ensure supplies do not run low if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Alan Jope, Unilever’s chief executive, said the company had taken the decision to import extra supplies of the ice-cream, which is produced in mainland Europe, in case the ports grind to a halt. Brands produced in the UK include Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream but Magnums, for example, are made in factories in Italy and Germany.

“We have built inventory on either side of the Channel,” Jope said. “It’s weeks of inventory – not months or days.”

Who knew Unilever made icecream? Is this globalisation or just the interconnectedness of everything?

Meanwhile, the Arctic, of all places,  is having wildfires, with huge blazes in Greenland, Siberia and Alaska producing plumes of smoke which can be seen from space. Somehow you don’t associate such fires with the Arctic. Spain and Portugal, yes, but not those northern places. And yet it seems the Arctic region had the hottest June ever this year and 100 wildfires have burned in the Arctic circle since the start of that month. Adding to the problem is the fact that these are not just surface fires but it can often be the underlying peat which has caught fire. Such fires can keep smouldering below the surface for months and can break out again at a moment’s notice. We had that problem near our home in Saddleworth last year.

I went out this morning, between rainstorms, on a mission to seek a couple of things from the chemist: antiseptic mouthwash and joint pills to ease Phil’s creaking knees. There were two types of mouthwash, both claiming to contain chlorexadine, an ingredient recommended by our dentist. The chemist sold me one which was for everyday use, which was what we wanted, the other being one that should be used sparingly for specific problems. Looking at the fine print when I got home, I discovered there was no chlorexidine in it.

 As for the joint pills, which Phil wanted to contain glucosamine and something else - glucosamina y condroitina - well, that led to a whole discussion with the pharmacist. In the UK we pick them up from Holland & Barrett, the wholefood store, or my brother-in-law acquires them via the internet. Here, however, the pharmacist refused to sell them to me without a doctor’s prescription. Other countries and other habits, I suppose. Supermarkets here don’t sell aspirin or paracetamol, easily obtainable in Tesco or Sainsbury’s. It’s just a different way of doing things.

Here’s another. Out and about around here I notice bottles of water left outside doorways. In some cases they are tied to fences. There are no explanatory notices and no bowls, the presence of which might suggest that the water is for dog walkers to give to their animals. Maybe they are intended for homeless people. Although they only need to walk to the corner where there is a spring with a tap. People queue up there to fill bottles with spring water.

 I am intrigued!

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