May was amazing! We, practically, came out of the lockdown entirely. There are social distancing measures in place and clubs and big events are not allowed as yet, but I’m rather happy with the social distancing and also not bothered about big events (unless for work), so for us it’s pretty much back to normal. Also, that doesn’t mean that we are not cautious, as we’ve decided to postpone a day-trip to Manchester because of the rising numbers of Covid. Instead we’ve spent the weekend closer to home, where the situation is great. It’s just common sense. Hopefully in a week or two, we can go to Manchester.
I had my jab about 3 weeks ago! And cake, a tradition started by Lucy Worsley, which I wanted to emulate. I’m going to talk about vaccinations in this update. Also, I’ve been to an event, in person! It was fantastic. There are links in the monthly round-up to the things I blogged about, if you fancy reading more on a topic.
This is from early May. My husband and I joked that people are “crazy” to go out when it’s raining. Well… we were just as crazy, as we went out for drinks when it rained, for one of our anniversaries. It was memorable though, so I highly recommend cocktails under the umbrella.
I was called to get my jab before my age group was announced, so I was so excited about it. I had Pfizer because I’m under 40, but I would have gladly taken an Oxford jab, without any reservation. In the post about vaccination I talked about the averse effects I had, including my very peculiar hunger, which is something I experience when I have a cold or flu, it’s bonkers. In previous months I blogged about vaccinations, so I will continue to do that until 90% of adults in UK had their jabs.
Today I’m sharing a graph with excess mortality in some European countries and US. Different countries count differently COVID related deaths, so excess mortality is more relevant. As of May, only two of the countries are below 0%, as in less people died this year than the average of previous years (2015-2019): UK and Portugal. Despite having much higher numbers during December-March, the data shows that less people died. This is down to vaccination.
From mid-March, UK never went above 0%, which is impressive. In April last year we were in lockdown, so there were less car accidents and things like that, but this year we were in lockdown again, so a comparison can be made, especially when in December-January we had over 50,000 new cases for many days. The difference is due to better treatments too, discovered after the 1st wave (by Oxford), but vaccinations are driving down deaths faster than anything else. I think we all know how poorly the EU is still doing with their vaccination programme, as most EU countries have under 40% of their population vaccinated with a dose and less than 20% with their second. The situation in January-February was dire, due to their political mess. This shows in the data too, as all EU countries, with the exception of Finland and Sweden, have excess mortality in May. Some didn’t release the data for May, but they had a grow in excess mortality in April, as you can see in the graph I shared.
Vaccines are safe or it would show in the data I mentioned. Vaccines are effective, which shows in the data too. If you know someone who is still hesitating, have a look on Our World In Data and show them how effective the vaccines are, to drive down cases, to drive down deaths, and to help us return to a (new) normal. Every single vaccine is important.
LightNight is an yearly event in Liverpool. Last year it was online and a bit disappointing. But, this year, it was live! It took place on the 21st, so only a few days after more restrictions were lifted on the 17th. We’ve spent a few hours at the cathedral, having a lovely vegan dinner, watching dances, and listening to opera, contemporary songs sang by a choir, and film music played at the organ. It was fantastic!
I was also impressed with how many people, almost all, keeping to the social distancing rules, having masks on, using hand sanitisers which were dotted around the cathedral.
Festus was silly. He is getting old, 11 and 8 months, which is amazing, as for his breed 8+ (9 for females) is the life expectancy. We are very lucky that he is still with us and do our best to cherish every moment. He is still barking and guarding, still wants to play but we have to be careful as he doesn’t know when to stop and pushes himself too much. Also, he loves watching TV, especially ads and movies.
We had a laugh as he was happy to video chat with family, but growled when he had a call with the vet. The vet was happy to see him growl though.
The pigeon decided that I was very late with the breakfast and got into the conservatory. The pigeon is not scared of the dog, so he had a little look around. Around 5-6 pigeons are coming daily for their meal(s) in the garden and so do a couple of magpies too.
The second Extreme-E race was amazing! I loved the whole weekend, from qualifying to the final race it was exciting. Also, they talked about their positive environmental impact through the legacy programme: planting mangroves to protect the communities, offering shelter to fish and oceanic life for them to spawn, while giving employment to people who are struggling, especially in this period. The SUV cars are pretty cool too! I’m so excited about this race, it’s incredible.
1. Daffodils and the tulips still in bloom in the garden. 2. Fort Perch Rock. 3. Narrative Economics by Shiller, what I read. 4. Homemade pretzel bun. 5. Cocktails in the rain. 6. Went to vote. 7. Pigeon not happy with the wait for his breakfast. 8. Picture from a walk. 9. Shopping. 10. Festus in the garden. 11. Got my first jab. 12. The fig leaves are growing. 13. Festus is enjoying a movie. 14. Gyoza for dinner. 15. Knowsley Safari Park. 16. Walk in Sefton. 17. Baby apples 🙂 18. First meal in a restaurant, indoors, in months. 19. New order from the Body Shop. 20. Festus enjoying some frozen fries, still frozen. He refuses cooked potatoes though. The picture on the right is blurry because he was keen to take it. 21. LightNight 2021. 22. Coffee at a gorgeous 1320s thatched pub. 23. Celebrating Max’s victory in Monaco. 24. Crazy golf. 25. Book I finished that day. 26. Our neighbour. 27. Poppy from the garden. 28. Mushrooms for dinner. 29. Lunch and plant shopping, our trip to the garden centre was really great. 30. Spotted a horse on our canal walk. 31. Books I finished in May.
In May I finished 9 books, having an impressive 4 fiction books. This is a lot for me. I enjoyed them, especially In Diamond Square, a story of a woman fighting to survive during the Spanish Civil War. I liked that the conflict was not important as in which side did what, but it was important in the way it changed and disrupted the lives of ordinary people. I also enjoyed Narrative Economics, a fascinating book, well worth reading.
As for the history books, all three were interesting, for very different reasons though.
Books finished in May:
Captured by Her Enemy Knight by Nicole Locke – 5 stars
Attlee’s Labour governments by Robert Pearce – 4 stars
The Maiden and the Mercenary by Nicole Locke – 3 stars
Nazi Concentration Camp Overseers by Ian Baxter – 5 stars
Narrative economics by Robert Shiller – 5 stars
Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem – 3 stars
In Diamond Square by Mercè Rodoreda – 5 stars
Armies of the Thracians and Dacians by Gabriele Esposito – 4.5 stars
The Knight’s Runaway Maiden by Nicole Locke – 4.5 stars