Everyday life Life

June 2021

June was a very busy month for me. I finished my course at Oxford and had two exams. I loved the course, the tutors, and the colleagues, it was such a great place to study. Besides that we went out a few times, we visited a local tourist attraction, underground tunnels from the 19th century which is not clear how far they go and neither why these were made in the first place; the tour was great. I also did quite a lot of gardening and got a new pear tree, that fits in a small pot. I am really pleased with the garden and I relax there daily, unless it rains, when I stay in the conservatory instead. Also… England is now in the quarter finals of Euro 2020; what a fantastic game last night, with England beating Germany. I watched about half of the round-of-16 games and it was great.
Until we get to the serious stuff, let’s see a picture with Festus, unimpressed by the lawnmower.

Festus and the lawnmower

I mentioned in the round-up from last month that I will continue to blog about vaccines until 90% of adults in UK had their jabs. Well, we are at 85% at the moment, so this month I will talk about variants. In May I talked about excess mortality, in April I talked about the morality of getting vaccinated before others, in March I talked about Oxford-AZ vaccine and its safety, while in February I talked about EU’s poor vaccine rollout, and it is still lagging behind.

As I said, this time I will talk about variants. Australia was shown as an example for their covid management, they closed their borders fast and almost everyone had to quarantine in a hotel. With the Wuhan virus or the following variants, this was enough and contact tracking was working. But, viruses evolve and mutate and the ones that are more transmissible have an evolutionary advantage. This is why now Australia is pretty much in a strict lockdown, after there were cases of people in quarantine who caught the virus from someone who was staying in a separate room. The low vaccination programme made the situation very dangerous in Australia, as people get sick quicker and their health system can be overwhelmed in a short period.
In Europe, Reuters reported yesterday that the Delta variant represents 20% of cases in France, when last week was less than 10%. The same happened in UK, from a few cases to over 90% of the cases in the country.

Variants

Even if we go past this new variant, new ones will emerge and this is not talked about as much as it should be on the TV news channels. The Delta/Indian variant was only 1 of the 3 to be identified from India, B.1.617.2, with B.1.617 and B.1.617.3 being present in UK, but they were not as problematic. Delta is much more transmissible than Alpha (Kent), which was much more transmissible than the original one.

In UK the sequencing is amazing, about half of the world’s is being done here. But this is also a problem, as there are dozens of countries where there is little to no sequencing and new variants can start there. We just don’t know if a new variant, which might be even more transmissible and/or deadlier is now evolving in a village in Africa or in South America and we will find about it in a month or two. All the vaccines used in the UK are efficacious against these known variants, even if their efficiency is slightly lower, they still offer a great protection against the serious effects of COVID. So, please take the jab if you haven’t, if someone you know is reluctant tell them to talk to their GP or look online on reputable sites, like the NHS. I shared links to articles on NHS with people who are not living in UK because it’s helpful.

As we can see, the only way to get out of this is to get vaccinated, but enough people need to get vaccinated to work, and even at 85% of adults vaccinated with a dose and 62% fully vaccinated, we are still a long way, because there are teenagers and children who are not vaccinated and they can catch and spread the virus. On Monday Public Health England released the data, gathered in partnership with the University of Cambridge, which shows that the vaccinations prevented, in England, a staggering 7.2 million infections and up to 27,000 deaths.

Everybody has the choice of taking the jab or not, but if they are influenced by conspiracy theories and trolls and bots on social media, we all have a duty to explain to them that the reality is different, to show them the data. In the end this is what we can do. Hopefully some of them will change their minds.

June

1. Smores on the BBQ. 2. Old picture from Indigo Greens, as I forgot to take the picture on the day. 3. Celebratory burger, at home, for lunch. 4. Burger at Planet Vegan, a new restaurant on Lark Lane. 5. Desserts at Planet Vegan. 6. New Dahlia for the garden. 7. Festus with long hair. 8. Knowsley Safari Park. 9. Peonies from my husband. 10. Book on Prince Philip’s childhood and the Greek succession. 11. Reading in the garden. 12. Roses in the park. 13. England’s first game and win at Euro 2020. 14. Festus having a roll. 15. Bees are really keen on the allium. 16. Last exam as I finished Trinity Term. 17. Cocktails with the colleagues and tutors at the end of the term. 18. Vegan Kind subscription boxes. 19. “our” magpie, one of two who are having their meals in our garden had a bit of water from Festus’ bowl while Festus was keeping a close eye on him. 20. Another Verstappen win, another glass of Champagne to celebrate. 21. Festus was watching cartoons. 22. England won to get into the Round of 16 as Group leaders. 23. Celebrating with English Sparkling Wine. 24. My garden. 25. Williamson Tunnels. 26. Harvest. 27. Max won again, so we had Champagne again. 28. Walk, from the previous day though. 29. England won!!!! 30. Books I read in June.

Books

I finished only 6 books in June. As usual, most of them are either history or memoirs/biography. I loved all the 5 stars books in the list and I would highly recommend them. I almost finished two more books, but didn’t. I liked Captain Tom’s book so much, it is lovely and worth reading. The book on Rowntree’s is fascinating, the author also talks about their competition, how they were treating their employees, and so on.
The book on Prince Philip was interesting, dealing with his family, his childhood, and, of course, his claim to the Greek crown, with lots of details about Greek history.

Books I read in June:
The Spanish Civil War by Helen Graham – 3 stars
Philip, Prince of Greece by John Carr, Constantinos Lagos – 5 stars
Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day by Tom Moore – 5 stars
The Silk Merchant’s Convenient Wife by Elisabeth Hobbes – 5 stars
Zucked by Roger McNamee – 3 stars
Rowntree’s by Paul Chrystal – 5 stars

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21 Comment

  1. The tunnels sound amazing, we were meant to do one in London but had to cancel it. Then covid hit and we never went back. Really need to rearrange. I have had both jabs, not sure about the children I need to do some more reading and discuss it with my husband. Well done on finishing your course, Oxford must be an amazing place to study.
    Mudpie Fridays recently posted…48 Hours In Birmingham With KidsMy Profile

  2. Well done on finishing your course, sounds like it was a great experience. We have been double vaccinated in our house for a while now, but my brother in law has only just had his first jab and is now in hospital with COVID, so I am still worrying about the effects once we come out of lockdown

  3. I had no idea that there were tunnels in Oxford, must investigate that. Can’t quite believe that I can actually go to Silverstone next week, I’ll be apprehensive surrounded by so many people but blimey the atmosphere is going to be electric. I’d quite like a Lando win and a Russell point! #365

    1. The tunnels are in Liverpool, not Oxford. 🙂 They worth a visit.
      It’s exciting to go to Silverstone. I see you are not a Hamilton fan either. Lando’s pace this year was amazing! I am so happy for him. Also, Russell came so close to get a point and so far nothing, I hope he will get one pretty soon.

  4. Hoping to get my second jab before the end of the month but I admit to being scared about allowing my children to have it if offered. Lots of interesting books again #project365

    1. I think vaccines are safe and teenagers should be vaccinated too, as they have low risk of dying, but face the risk of long-Covid and disruption if they have to isolate like they do now. As long as it’s a choice and not imposed, then I don’t see why not.

  5. Canada is midway through our 2nd round of vaccinations, and the country is slowly opening up. In my province (British Columbia aka BC, on the west coast), we just allowed inter-provincial travel, and relaxed restrictions on groups indoors and out, so that we can have gatherings, weddings, concerts and festivals again. Masks are still recommended (no longer mandated), and businesses (stores, restaurants) are allowed to set up their own rules. Some are still mask/sanitize/restricted numbers, others a mix of those, and some have just gone free-for-all with nothing required. I’m being super-cautious and wearing a mask whenever I’m around strangers and indoor public spaces.

  6. Well done on finishing your course. The emergence of variants with Covid is worrying although I’m hoping that the vaccine programme will continue to weaken things with regards to hospital admissions particularly as we open up things later this month. The Rowntrees book sounds interesting – will have to add that one to my ‘to-read’ list. #project365

  7. Well done for your sharing info about the variants and vaccines! It’s amazing that even intelligent people can be misled by what they read on the internet!
    Fabulous work on completing your Master’s Degree! Great news!
    Your garden is looking lovely too!

  8. Off to read your tunnels post, that visit sounds interesting. Well done on completing your studies, great achievement. I love finding out about chocolate company founders – their history is so interesting (although I’m more of a visit to their museums rather than reading them.

  9. Sounds like you’ve packed a lot in. I love reading but I prefer mindless chicklit. Fingers crossed we get on top of the pandemic so that life can return to normal at some point 🙂

  10. Sadly, my state (Arkansas) is one of those with low vaccination rates. It’s frustrating.

    Festus looks so big and handsome in that photo. So well-behaved, too. 😍

    1. I can understand your frustration. The vaccination rates vary much within the country in UK too, with some communities not keen to get vaccinated, but with more and more people getting the jab, hopefully they will get confident when many people are vaccinated and ok. The amount of disinformation and misinformation is incredible, especially with all the bots and trolls spreading them. I hope that US’ approach will change to make it more effective and get more people vaccinated.

      Festus is not bothered by loud sounds, so the lawnmower is only slightly annoying because he has to move a couple of times.

  11. Sounds like a good June and it’s great you read all those books! I agree with you, we really need the vaccines to get out of this mess here in Australia – and it’s horrible our government didn’t order enough! We won’t get most of the vaccines until the end of the year, which is incredibly frustrating and puts us all at risk – as hotel quarantine, as you pointed out, isn’t the ideal situation when the people looking after those in quarantine aren’t vaccinated! 🙁 There just isn’t enough vaccines here! Hospital workers who aren’t vaccinated have been spreading it sadly.

    Hope you are having a nice week! 🙂
    Mica recently posted…30 Ways To Wear: Jeanswest Olive Soft Pull On Shorts With Floral EmbroideryMy Profile

    1. UK was accused of ordering too much and WHO asked for doses to be donated/shared… when these doses are not even delivered. I hope the situation will improve in Australia, especially as now anyone can book the Oxford-AZ vaccine if they want to.

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