Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tragedy after tragedy….

As of 5 pm last night, 34,466 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 across all settings in the UK. More than 307,000 people have died across the world and 4.5 million are infected – Johns Hopkins University tracker

All of those numbers represent a person. An individual whose life has ended amid this crisis. I am amazed and appalled at the attitude of some members of this human race that I am a part of. I have always tried to see the good in everyone but whilst I am certain that the majority are aware of what is going on I still see so many who are turning away from the truth and not facing up to the seriousness of the situation we are in.

Every day we hear of a new family tragedy. The NHS staff and their support are to be commended for being there for us in such dangerous times. We owe it to them and all key workers to be responsible and do all we can to stop the transmission of this virus.

Keith Dunnington, 54, a nurse for more than 30 years, died at his parents’ home in South Shields on 19 April. His mother Lillian, 81, died on 1 May and her husband Maurice, 85, died days later in hospital. NHS staff, well-wishers and fire crews paid tribute to the family outside South Tyneside District Hospital.

Joanne Rennison, 52, died in an East Yorkshire hospital on 5 April. Seven days later, her father David Whincup, 79, died at Hull Royal Infirmary.

Pause for Thought

14th May 2020 …………….. The UK government’s daily figures released today show that a further 428 people have died with Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. This brings the total number of deaths in hospitals and the wider community to 33,614. The first recorded death was on the 6th of March. That is an average of over 487 deaths a day over the 69 days. Every individual an important person to the bereaved left behind to grieve. Lives lost; families broken; careers ended; children without parents, the list is endless and heartbreaking.

Mass testing is the order of the day now

More than 300,000 deaths have been recorded worldwide. A testament to the virility and speedy transmission of this extremely contagious disease.

Population is sticking to the rules

We are living in unprecedented times and history will record how we behave now. We must all do our part and my part has been very easy. I am a shielded individual as I am in a group most at risk. My only hardship so far has been to stay at home. Easy for me as that is where I am happy and safe. I am eternally grateful to all key workers who have been keeping the county going during this awful time.

Sunday 10th May 2020

Our NHS Staff

The R Number

…..and if we can’t do it by those dates, and if the alert level won’t allow it, we will simply wait and go on until we have got it right. We will come back from this devilish illness. We will come back to health, and robust health. Though the UK will be changed by this experience, I believe we can be stronger and better than ever before. More resilient, more innovative, more economically dynamic, but also more generous and more sharing.

Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP Prime Minister

VE Day 2020

It is seventy five years since the end of the last World War and today on the anniversary of that day the whole country is paying tribute to those that came home and those that did not. The photo below consists of quite a few members of my family. The men who went to fight arent on that photograph. They weren’t back home yet and if they had been I wonder if they would have been in a party mood. I think maybe not.

I am 75 years old so I was born in that year in January and was present at the street party that took place in the street where I was born. However, I was shocked today when I heard of the dead of other countries that became involved and died to defeat the Nazi regime. As I have mentioned in my diary before, I heard no stories about the war as I was growing up. Indeed I heard more about the Great War. World War 1, that was fought by my grandparents’ generation.

Half Asleep

by Catherine Turner

The dawn is gently breaking,
The air serene and still,
No mans land, a grassy field
Just beyond the hill,
The battery, a homestead
With windows welcoming,
The tangled wire a 5 bar gate
Where bluebirds sweetly sing,
Each muddy trench a furrow
Furnished by the plough,
Each tortured cry of misery
The lowing of a cow.
The acrid stench of cordite
Like heaven’s perfume drifts,
To mingle with the belching smoke
Of Autumn’s cooling mist,
Faces dressed in terror
Are smiling as they rest
In crumpled khaki uniforms
As sharp as Sunday best,
This blanket torn, how soft, how warm,
A silken downy sheet,
How sweet, this quiet moment
With all the world at peace.
The dawn is gently breaking,
Sweet Saviour I implore,
Hold back the sun, and let me dream,
For just one moment more.

copyright Catherine Ann Turner, my talented sister……..2014

https://worldofremembrance.wordpress.com/

The Steep Price Of Victory In Europe

As the world celebrated victory over Nazi Germany and the boys eventually did come home, the war they fought thousands of miles away came home with them. It came home with them in their wounds, in their memories, in their daily life…in their nightmares.

My compassion today then goes to the 85,000,000 plus that died in that conflict worldwide. It was a terrible loss of life. What is even more heartbreaking is the fact that war is still going on. Our focus, as human beings, should be to heal our planet and then to heal ourselves. Death, famine and suffering are happening to someone every hour of every day. Not having any religion at all myself I feel very seriously that religion is at the root of a lot of dissent and conflict. Live and let live is an old adage but rings very true.

Quite a few of my neighbours are in party mood tonight but having just seen the latest death toll I can see nothing to celebrate. The next time that they think of breaking the lockdown maybe they should think of the virus as a Nazi.

Blue Skies

The number of deaths recorded in the UK today is over 30,000. Extremely sad news. However, the government and the scientists are telling us that we are past the worst and that the first steps back to normality are in sight.

This Pandemic has brought out the worst and the very best in people. Strangely, there are signs that a new way of life may emerge following our release from ‘Lockdown’. The government’s recent buzz word since the suggestion and then the mandate for us to “Stay At Home”. Rather than going back to life as it was before COVID-19 it looks like we may have learned lessons about how best to spend the time that we have left on this beautiful blue planet.

At present, the idea is, as this disease is so very contagious, that we keep well away from other people to halt the transmission and hopefully stop COVID-19 in its tracks.

Air, Rail and Road transport has been drastically reduced, the consequences of which have given us blue skies and cleaner air. All countries are reporting less pollution. Businesses are closed and those people that can are working from home. Those that can’t have been helped financially by the government to stay at home. Key workers like the health services, military, delivery drivers, postmen, police, shop workers, etc have had to carry on to help the rest of us. They have shown that they are essential to our way of life and so we need to look after them in the future.

Schools have been closed too resulting in parents and children being able to spend time with each other at home. All over 70s have been told to stay at home as if they should contract the disease they are more likely to develop a serious illness. This also applies to any other sick or vulnerable person. Pubs, clubs, take away food businesses and restaurants are closed so more people are eating a home-cooked meal together. Some children’s school lessons have been held online so no school runs. No more rush hour!!! Less pollution.

Supermarkets are doing many more home deliveries to help with the ‘stay at home’ order. Garden centres were talking about destroying many plants as nurseries were closed. Now new websites have been set up where we can order our plants online. On second thoughts deliveries mean pollution but perhaps not as much as previously as most nurseries are delivering in their own area.

Farmers were having real problems as the restaurants and bars are closed and so didn’t need their usual deliveries. However, now they have changed their business methods and are selling to the public directly via a website or word of mouth.

I hope that some of these beneficial changes will continue when the battle with the pandemic has been won. I hope less travel will be the order of the day and those business meetings will be held virtually as is the new normal. I hope doctors’ appointments will continue to be carried out online too wherever possible.

Finally, and very importantly I hope that our government has realised that we need to carry out much more of our own manufacturing and not rely on buying in from abroad. When I was younger jobs were easy to come by as our manufacturing industry was flourishing. It seems that we have been a country supporting the rest of the world instead of looking after our own people.

Support for new emerging businesses is needed. Good affordable housing and jobs for people so that they can afford to live well. Also, much more support for the Health Services and other key workers that we have relied on so much throughout this crisis. They deserve higher pay and better conditions across all the sectors. This would encourage new nurses and doctors to fill the many vacancies we have in the NHS here instead of going overseas to work.

We need to hold on to cleaner air, less traffic on the roads and in the skies, and more sensible shopping. More local food producers delivering to their local area cutting down on carbon emissions. Blue Skies, that’s what we need for the foreseeable future.

“This is War”

Richard J. Hatchett, MD, is Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a partnership of public, private, philanthropic and civil organizations that will finance and co-ordinate the development of vaccines against high priority public health threats and vaccine platform technologies to respond rapidly to emerging infectious diseases with pandemic or epidemic potential.

UK March 6th 2020. The CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, CEPI, Dr Richard J Hatchett MD, explains the long-term dangers of the COVID-19 coronavirus, saying it’s the scariest outbreak he’s dealt with in his 20-year career.

This man warned the world on the 6th March and here we are on the 23rd of April. Personally, I decided to go back and have another look at this and having listened again, I am wishing that he was Scientific Advisor for the UK. ‘War is an appropriate analogy‘ to quote Dr. Hatchett and, based on the evidence so far, it makes sense to me. Over eighteen thousand deaths in the UK since the 6th March. He says that he thinks COVID-19 will be endemic on our planet forever. If the long awaited vaccine works maybe we can live with it but I think we shall have to adapt our lives according to COVID-19.

On 23rd February the UK government pledged 20 million pounds to CEPI to support them in their endeavour to find a vaccine for COVID-19.

Update on 6th May from Dr Hatchett. “We have said from the very beginning when we started our programs back in January that we thought if things went well that we could anticipate vaccines becoming more broadly available potentially within 12 to 18 months. Obviously, several months have passed since then. We are seeing progress with our programs. Three of the vaccines that we’re supporting are in clinical trials right now. I think the timelines that we laid out then are still realistic. Possibly by the end of the year we might see some small amounts of vaccine becoming available but it’s hard to see how those timelines could be advanced much more quickly than that.

Today’s death toll is 616 hospital deaths reported in the UK in the last 24 hours making a total of 18,730 lives lost between the 6th March and today the 23rd April.

How long, I wonder, will I be reporting the daily deaths before it becomes the norm.

The story so far….

847 people have died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours

Before the arrival of the Pandemic that is COVID-19, most of the news coverage was related to our exit from the European Union. Great Britain had been part of the union since the early 70s and a democratic decision had been made to leave. It had become a long ponderous process but we were coming to the end of the negotiations. I personally was optimistic about the future of my country. I was hopeful that things might revert back to what I had seen in my youth. It wasn’t all roses but work was plentiful and life, on the whole, was good. We did import some food from the commonwealth but mostly our farmers grew what we needed seasonally and most of our commodities were produced in factories here. We had thriving industries and improving commerce. We were close to being a self-sufficient country.

The welfare state and the NHS were born more or less with me. In my lifetime they have always been there. A trusted cushion that my generation has taken for granted. I had the privilege to spend a large chunk of my working life in the NHS both in a hospital setting and in general practice. After retirement, I had a couple of years of respite before I was thrown into the heartbreak of caring for my youngest son, Adam, who contracted MND in 2011. Adam died on the 20th of February 2016. Adams’s death hit me very hard both mentally and physically. My life was on hold.

Suddenly this crisis happened, it happened all over the world and has made everyone sit up and take notice. As soon as the pandemic started the cracks in the British way of life began to show. The NHS was on its knees after years of cutbacks. Unemployment was rife. Our shops were full but most of the goods were sourced from abroad. When we suddenly needed increased supplies of medical equipment and medicines our government ordered it from abroad. First big mistake.

The country hadn’t had time to put things in place. Promises made by our government about massive improvements to our way of life following the exit from Europe hadn’t even been realised yet. This is a global problem. Each country was having to look after its own people. It seems that the impetus to source what we need has had to come from the people. Manufacturers, engineers, scientists, private labs and so on have stepped up and the government has had to be prompted to take advantage of the many skills that we have available here.

The people of my country have shown that they can adapt and produce the goods needed and adapt quickly. Precious time has been lost and as a result, many lives have been lost. I hope that from here on our government will learn from their mistakes. There is no end in sight as yet but we are nothing if not resilient.

I live in hope that we can eventually recover from this and make the country the exceptional place that it could be. Thriving and productive, self-sufficient, no jobless, no homeless, a good welfare system for sick and vulnerable, free education and health, clean and efficient buildings, good housing with gardens for everyone. A country to be proud of again. It will take a long time and I may not live to see it but we can do it. Our people deserve it.

A vaccine may be a long time coming

COVID-19 where will it end?

Today’s deaths are reported as 778 in the last 24 hours bringing the total deaths recorded in hospitals in the UK from 6th March to 12,107.

ONS – More than one in five deaths in England and Wales is linked to coronavirus, figures show. The Office for National Statistics data showed the virus was mentioned on 3,475 death certificates in the week ending 3 April. It helped to push the total number of deaths in that week to more than 16,000 – a record high.

So many families of victims are grieving as a result of the virus. We were repeatedly told way back in February that younger, fitter people would only get a mild illness as the virus affected mainly the elderly and vulnerable. We know now, in April, that this vicious virus is relentless. It attacks and kills people from any age group. From neonates to a hundred and four years old. Sick and well. weak and strong. It is heartbreaking to read the news every day. The whole world is grieving.

Many more NHS and Health Care Workers are also losing their lives to COVID-19. Every day brings news of another family coping with the loss of another dedicated nurse, doctor, surgeon, health care worker.

They have had to go out there and do their job. Add to these an army of postmen and women, bus drivers, shop workers, farmers and many other key workers who have no choice but to go into work and risk theirs or their family’s lives.

Just at the moment, I can see no end to this crisis.

Courgettes Peppers and Tomatoes – Summer Salad

This morning I am sowing seeds of a variety of courgettes, bell peppers and tomatoes. They are all late going in so I am being very optimistic when I dream of Summer Salad. The only things I am confident of are the Sungold Tomatoes.

Green, Red and Yellow Bell Peppers

I already had saved seeds of Bell Peppers. I have put a generous amount of seeds in a large pot to allow for some of them not to germinate as they are quite old. This large capsicum form is known as bell pepper. The only difference between bell peppers and capsicum is the presence of capsaicin which is a lipophilic chemical that produces a burning sensation in the mouth. Bell peppers do not contain this chemical.

My other tall black pot contains seeds of both Long Sweet Red Chilli Peppers and Yellow Sweets Banana Pepper. Banana pepper seeds need high soil temperatures to germinate. Start them indoors 40-60 days before transplanting time. You can grow banana peppers from seeds or buy young plants.

Tomato Sungold

There are three substantial plants of Tomato Sungold sitting on the window ledge. They were purchased last year from thompson-morgan.com and delivered a week ago as posti-plugs. They have come on well since I repotted them so I have high hopes of a good harvest from them. I have grown these tomatoes from seed before and was amazed at how tall the plants grew and how many fruits we had from them. The taste was perfect.

Tomato Sungold F1 is a cherry tomato firmly established as one of the sweetest and tastiest available. Produces an abundance of golden coloured fruit throughout the summer. A cordon tomato that is suitable for growing in the greenhouse, allotment or garden. Tomato Sungold will produce small orange, tasty tomatoes that are perfect for salads.

My Sungold from 2008