Friday, 25 September 2020

Windy weather. What to wear when hiking. Defrosting. Reactions to restrictions.

Today is fine and quite sunny but very windy and decidedly cold! Well, everything is relative, of course. Compared with January or February cold, today is positively balmy. Indeed on my way back from my morning run I came into a sheltered spot where the sun felt delightfully warm. As I said, all is relative. However, I saw at least one runner wearing gloves and I noticed that all the dog walkers were well wrapped up. This did not prevent one pair of hikers from wearing shorts though. I have never quite understood why some hikers have to have big jumpers and jackets and wooly hats and gloves but legs bare below the knee. And then thick socks a pair of chunky boots. It makes little sense. Unless, of course, they just want to show off their tan and maintain it for a little longer.

Phil has just bought new lightweight hiking boots. He has been looking enviously at mine, which date from about 15 years ago, for some time and complaining that his sturdy leather boots are extremely heavy. After much internet research he finally found a pair to his liking. So far they have only had a brisk walk round the village but maybe today he can try them out on a walk up Lark Hill (aka The Quarry Road), a terrain more demanding of boots with good grips. And today is a good day for such a walk - a fine windy autumn day in the old style.

This morning I have been defrosting the freezer, a task I try to put off as long as possible. However, one or other of us has been a bit careless in pushing the freezer drawers into place and making sure the door is completely closed. For last night when I went to get ice cream out to accompany a fig clafoutis for dessert - a nice combination of hot dessert with ice cream, by the way - I found the freezer was busily converting itself into a small iceberg, frosting itself up nicely. This morning, therefore, we had to go through the difficult rigmarole of switching it off.

For some incomprehensible reason the freezer itself does not have an easily accessible on-off switch. Add to that the fact that when the kitchen was installed someone had the bright idea to conceal the freezer plug behind the washing machine. At the back of the cupboard under the sink I could understand but behind the washing machine is just silly. Washing machines are extremely heavy. They have a great weight at the bottom to stop them from dancing round the kitchen floor when they spin. But to get at the plug for the freezer we have to pull out the washing machine. Very annoying! And now the contents of the freezer are in coolbags, waiting for the iceberg to defrost. Hey ho!

Out in the wider world, people are voicing their opinions about pubs closing at 10.00pm. Newspapers have photos of crowds of people massing outside London pubs after closing time, apparently having not-so-distant final chats on the pavement before dispersing to who knows where. As far as I know there were no crowds outside our neighbouring pub. 

People are finding someone or something to blame for this new restriction. Eat out to help out is a favourite blame-hound:

“I think what done it was the eat out to help out,” said Tracey Davies, from County Durham, who was walking to a bar with her husband, Pete. “Everyone went crazy up in the north-east. Everywhere was rammed. I think that’s made the situation a lot worse.”

Others are pointing out again that it’s unfairly all right to gather in a group of 30 to go grouse shooting, forgetting obviously that grouse shooting is an outdoor “sport”. Really? I bet the grouse disagree.

Yet others are saying we should ignore the virus:

“There’s mental issues, cancer, all this other stuff, yet everyone is paying attention to Covid,” said Sophia Warne, outside Cecconi’s on Old Compton Street, in Soho. “Look at how many people are actually in hospital because of it, it’s not actually very much. I think we need to crack on.”

I particularly like this comment from a 29 year old:

“It’s actually disgusting. They are messing up people’s lives … closing at 10pm is ridiculous. I don’t understand why. They haven’t explained it,” he said.

Clearly he is too young to remember when all pubs used to close at 10.00pm or 10.30pm. Oddly enough, we still used to manage to have a good night out!

I hear that France is having a big rise in cases of the virus, with more people going to hospital and going into intensive care. Frightening stuff! Meanwhile Iceland is blaming a couple of French tourists for a cluster of around 100 cases there. It seems the pair tested positive and either did not understand instructions or simply refused to isolate.  

“I have information that it was difficult to get them to follow instructions,” stated the Icelandic epidemiologist. “I really cannot say more.” Despite being unable to say more he went on to comment that the pair brought with them a “French strain” of Covid-19 that has been picked up in around 100 new infections traced back to two establishments: the Irishman pub and the Brewdog restaurant, both in Reykjav√≠k. 

And now I have an image of the mutated Coronavirus wearing a beret and speaking with a French accent. After all, scientists tell us that the virus mutates and adapts and is becoming more contagious, finding ways to circumvent the measures we put in place to control the nasty little beast.

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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