First of all, from a personal point of view, July was pretty amazing. I received my results back and I’m delighted. I got more than I hoped for at my IELTS (English language test), even if I didn’t have time to prepare and I already had two more exams that week. I received my results for the Oxford course and I got more than I hoped for. I can’t wait to share the news of what will happen next. I read some pretty amazing books, do check them out, especially the first one if you have a child.
These two small apples are part of my crop from the garden. We still have plenty of apples in our small tree. We got it last year and I didn’t have high hopes for it as it was small. Love it!
I will continue with a quick chat about sports, as we’ve been watching Euros 2020, the Olympics, and motor-racing this month (not going to say anything about F1 because I am too annoyed). First of all, what a shame about the Euros. I expected Italy to win, until I saw them play with Spain, which was not great and they won on penalties. In the game, I was amazed to see that Chiellini did not receive a red card for his move on Saka, it was appalling. It was particularly puzzling as the Dutch referee must have been aware that a fellow countrymen of his received a red card in the tournament for a handball, which is not exactly as bad.
We all love Olympics and watch it daily. Festus is keen on horses, gymnastics, and anything with fights. I am not as keen on what the commentators say. For example, after an athlete got a bronze medal, the commentator said that they surely wanted gold… and they are wondering why Biles left the competition due to having mental health problems. Just for attending the Olympics all these athletes should be applauded, they are the best in their fields.
I booked my 2nd jab at exactly 8 weeks after the first one, which was really good from my part. Professor Anthony Harnden, from JCVI, said that the studies showed the 8-to-12 week interval is better for triggering a great immune response. The day before my jab, Boris Johnson said the interval between the jabs will come down to 8 weeks as the cases were rising. So, I’ve anticipated incredibly well what the authorities decided. Now I’m fully vaccinated and incredibly happy about it!
The above graphs shows the covid-related deaths at 4 points. It must be worth keeping in mind that different countries count covid deaths differently. By comparing EU countries with UK and US, it is easier to see the impact of the vaccinations. On 8th December UK started the vaccination programme and it was 4th in the list. On 1st January UK was sliding back to the 6th on the list. This was due, in part, to the fact that many of the most vulnerable started to have a bit of immunity at that point. UK kept its 6th place in April before going down to 10th place a couple of days ago. With over 88% of the adult population vaccinated this will only go down. It’s important to get vaccinated, to protect ourselves and each other.
Of course, it is not a competition and it’s unfortunate that people in EU are still dying because of stupid mistakes made by their leaders. UK offered a masterclass in the vaccination rollout, with the decision of delaying the 2nd dose to get more people protected, which actually improved the immune response.
I hope the new decisions will be just as good in the long term. Many EU countries are asking for these covid passports the British newspapers are talking about. In Greece this is needed for indoor restaurants, cafes, bars, and cinemas. Even outdoor clubs and music venues need the passport. Italy, Cyprus, and France has similar requirements. Going back to lockdowns due to outbreaks will not be good for anybody. Australia is now in lockdown with the military drafted in to support the police. Incredibly, they recorded 13 deaths from a total of 2,800 cases… but are not vaccinating because of the risk of dying of blood clots of 1 in half a million. It makes no sense at all. The benefits outweigh any risks.
I discovered a Turkish place where they sell home-made baklava. They were delicious!
1. I got an 8 (out of 9) to the new IELTS test. 2. New EcoEgg order. 3. 4 – 0!!!! England is in the semi-finals after defeating Ukraine. 4. Verstappen won…meaning we had a glass of Prosseco to celebrate. 5. Homemade bread. 6. 2nd Jab! 7. England went to the final. 8. Alpine on tour, in Liverpool city centre. 9. Coffee tasting session at home. 10. Gorgeous mural. 11. Sam Bird won the race. It was amazing. 12. I talk about masks. 13. Festus in the garden, guarding. 14. Japanese lunch. 15. Celebrating the exam results. 16. Our new (used) car. 17. Knowsley Safari park. 18. Butterfly on a woodland walk. 19. My husband working from the garden, with Festus at his feet. The water hose is in constant use for quick showers for Festus and to create a cooling mist on the grass near him. 20. My favourite lily in bloom. 21. Festus, at 11 and 10 months old. 22. Take away from Gannoush. 23. Pizza at Purezza, Manchester. 24. Rashford mural. 25. The vegan kind box. 26. Delicious watermelon. 27. Watching the Olympics. 28. Cocktails. 29. View when I had lunch at the museum. 30. A friendly buddy in the park. Sadly I did not have anything to give him. 31. Books I finished in July.
In July I finished 7 books, most great, one meh (Grimm stories were pretty grim), and one really bad, hence the 1 star. The Apartment by Alexandra Litvina must be the most unusual one, a book for children which is fascinating for adults too. It’s about the story of an apartment in Russia and its history throughout the 20th century. Much of the book is made up with cartoons, but they are interesting and it offers a unique view into the lives of ordinary Russians. It’s great for children and I think it’s also a great book for parents to read with their children and engage with them on different topics, including politics and war.
The history books for adults were really good, I would highly recommend all of them. The last book, Forty Autumns, was so incredibly heart-breaking, but a must read. It is the story of a family divided by the Berlin wall. I reviewed all on the book blog, so check Coffee&Books if you fancy reading more about any of them.
Books I read in July:
The Apartment by Alexandra Litvina – 5 stars
Fighting for the United States, Executed in Britain by Simon Webb – 4.5 stars
Selected Tales by Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm – 3 stars
The Forgotten German Genocide by Peter C Brown – 5 stars
Humankind by Rutger Bregman – 1 stars
The History of Sweets by Paul Chrystal – 5 stars
Forty Autumns by Nina Willner – 5 stars