Category: Gloucestershire

Day 7356474

Yep, it is day 7356474 of our sojourn with covid-19, at least it feels like it has been 7356474 days. There have been a number of interesting developments since I last rambled about this so let us get it done with. From what I read at the Beeb many shops and businesses will be re-opening after the 15th of June and some schools may be re-opening on the 1st. However, it all depends on whether or not the criteria for re-opening is met or not. Unfortunately this is all uncharted territory and businesses will have to comply with a whole lot of rules before they can get back to work. The school issue is more complex though, but I cannot understand why they don’t keep them closed and then reopen them once the long summer holidays happen. It doesn’t affect me though so I am not overly concerned.

The numbers game:
Today Worldometer numbers are as follows: There are 5 601 521 cases worldwide, with 348 132 deaths.  The USA leads the log, with 1 706 226 cases and 99 805 deaths. The UK is still in top 5 with 261 184 cases and 36 914 deaths. South Africa currently sits at number 31 with 23 615 cases and 481 deaths. 

South Africa has moved to level 3 now although the Western Cape numbers may lead to it being reset to level 4. The big alcohol/cigarette ban is very contentious, and people are seemingly more worried about their smokes than they are about the people who do not have food on their tables. I read yesterday that the unemployment rate could rise to as much as 50% as a result of the pandemic. Unfortunately there are many strange rumblings afoot in the country, and the conspiracists are  having a  field day looking for ulterior motives. 

Talk about conspiracies; the whole Dominic Cummings lockdown break in the UK has been causing waves, with people questioning whether there was a set of rules for them and another for politicians. It is a valid point, and that is true not only in the UK but in the rest of the world  Personally I feel he should fall on his sword, you cannot tell people to do something and then do the exact opposite and expect them to listen to you ever again.   

On a personal note I was called up for a regular blood test by my local surgery, and frankly I was not in the mood to go there at this point in time and managed to get it postponed for 3 months. The fact is that it is really an unnecessary procedure given the situation we are in. Apart from that it is almost impossible to get an appointment that does not take me away from work. I would have take a days leave to have it done and frankly that is a bit of a waste too. Our department has been very busy for quite some time and getting time off is difficult. 

I did have a few other things to mutter about but naturally I have forgotten what they are so will end here and continue a bit later. However, be rest assured that I have all my ducks in a row.

On a side note.. today is my birthday so happy birthday to me!

DRW © 2020. Created 27/05/2020


Covid-19. The story continues

My last post about the corona virus situation was on the 25th of April, and to be frank I have not been in the mood to waffle about it much. The situation is depressing, exacerbated by some of the images coming out of America featuring armed men and women shouting the odds about the “plandemic”. It is a pity we are unable to split the populace in half: one half that does not want to die and another that wants to see a conspiracy between the Illuminati, 5G, the lizard people and black hats. The anti-vaccine fringe is also shouting the odds and the numbers do not mean anything to them, because they think its all a conspiracy. Tell that to the family of those who have died so far and see whether they believe it is a conspiracy or not.

How do the numbers look? my usual source of numbers is worldometers although for all I know they may be part of the conspiracy too. 

There are 4 103 537 cases of the virus worldwide ( 2 832 454 cases worldwide on 25/04) with 280 470 deaths. Leading the field is the USA with 1 347 318 cases and 80 040 deaths. The UK sits at 215 260 cases and 31 587 deaths. The UK has the highest number of deaths in Europe and the 2nd highest in the world. South Africa is seeing a gradual rise in numbers with 9420 cases and 186 deaths. Unfortunately South Africa seems to be unwinding even though it has changed to a level 4 lock-down state.  Please note that the image below is only pertinent to South Africa and nowhere else. It was sourced from the SA Corona Virus website 

Locally I found the following table that illustrates the numbers in Gloucestershire where I live: (sourced from https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/

This last Friday was the VE Day commemoration and there were many public festivities planned around the day, but these were all cancelled although local groups did their best to celebrate and commemorate as best they could. I went down to the war memorial in town (I do go out on occasion to “exercise”) and walked down the high street with it’s closed shops and scattered people. It was very depressing. 

I then made a turn around the Abbey which is closed for the duration (or until they are allowed to reopen). It is at times like this that the Abbey would be better off open so that people can find some sort of solace within it’s ancient walls. The building has seen so much in the almost 900 years that it has been standing, and it can add this pandemic to it’s long history. I find it a very comforting place, and it did help me when my mother passed away last year. That reminds me… Happy Mothers Day Mum. 

Outside is it cold and windy and overcast. I may just self isolate today. I am watching an excellent anime called Cike Wu Liuqi or Scissors Seven. It is quite a zany and erratic romp and I have enjoyed it thoroughly. It is in Chinese but as usual I am using subtitles so the language does not bother me too much. However, spoken Chinese is very different from Japanese so it does sound quite odd. I may experiment with changing it to Japanese dub with English subtitles and see how it plays out. At least it keeps me amused.

I have also posted quite a few more ships to our shipping group on facebook and I am surprised at how many memories it has stirred in myself and others. It is just a pity that ships draw such a small interest group in the country, but then it is to be expected. Here is a ship just to cheer me up, I hope she cheers you up too. 

Till next time…

DRW © 2020. Created 10/05/2020 (Day 2893476484)


ANZAC Day 2020

ANZAC: soldiers from the  Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Today is Anzac Day and it is probably a very subdued one given the state of the world at this point in time. It is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served“. 

Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918).  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day).

ANZAC Memorial in Weymouth

The ANZAC Forces left their mark in Gallipoli, with 8,709 from Australia and 2,721 from New Zealand sacrificing their lives in what was a disaster from the start. However, this disaster did not ruin the fighting prowess of the ANZAC’s in future conflicts and they left their mark wherever they fought. The courage of those soldiers from the Southern Hemisphere is the stuff of legend, and in Australia and New Zealand they are commemorated with pride. 

At the Kemal Atatürk Memorial in Canberra, the following words are attributed to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and they pay tribute to the Anzacs and reflects his understanding of the cost of war: 

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours… You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”
 

I do not have any ANZAC ancestry, but by a quirk of fate I adopted one. Many years ago while visiting Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol I photographed the newly relaid ledger stones that were originally placed on the graves of the men buried in “Soldiers Corner”.

Unfortunately over the years some of the stones were damaged and all were removed in the 1920’s. Renewed interest in the First World War saw the stones replaced on the graves but unfortunately many were missing and irreparably damaged.  The CWGC then restored the plot in 2018 and it was unveiled later in the year. One of the newly replaced ledger stones was for Private William Walker A.I.F and it was decided that the unveiling of his new grave marker would be used as an occasion to re-open the newly restored Soldier’s Corner.   I was fortunate enough to be able to see the new plot and meet with some of his family that I had corresponded with through the Lives of the First World War project.  Pte Walker is now one of “mine” too and I have added a poppy to commemorate him at the Australian War Memorial Virtual Wall of Remembrance.

You can read about the occasion in the blogpost that I made for the unveiling

As we face a world wide pandemic it is worth remembering that many of the men and women that were in the forces would loose their lives in the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, and over 100 years later we are facing a similar pandemic, although so far it has not as severe as the Spanish Flu was. 

And while ANZAC Day is really about Australia and New Zealand, it is commemorated around the world in recognition of the terrible price that we pay for war, and that as veterans we are all connected irrespective of whether we are ANZAC, Canadian, British, Indian, Muslim, American or Ugandan. 

DRW © 2020. Created 25/04/2020