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)

VE Day: 2020

The War in Europe is over.. we have won! Words like that must have been on everybody’s minds when 7 May 1945 finally broke. It has been 75 years since the event and on this day we can give thanks that we are not living in a Nazi dominated world, and the horror that the Soviet Union inflicted on it’s people and satellite states is no more.  For those at home they could go to bed safe in the knowledge that it was all over bar the shouting, although in the defeated Germany there was not much to celebrate over. Thousands of ex-Nazi’s suddenly grew a conscience and after a suitable period of time slipped back into civilian live unpunished and unrepentant. Millions of displaced people tried to return home, thousands of prisoners of war looked forward to repatriation and families everywhere mourned those who never came back.  

My father was one of those POWs interned in Germany when the war ended.  His records indicate that he  was repatriated to the UK on 31/05/1945. How he got there I do not know, and neither do I know where he was housed in the UK between then and when he boarded the ship back to the Union of South Africa on 26/08/1945.  I do not even know which ship he sailed on either, but he arrived in Cape Town on 11 September 1945 and was then sent to Pietermaritzburg. From there he seemed to have been on leave, until he was due to report back on 13/11/1945. Whether that was at Pietermaritzburg or Johannesburg I cannot say, however, the record confirms him as being at the dispersal depot at Hector Norris Park in Johannesburg on 20 November 1945, and he was finally discharged on the 28th of that month with the rank of Lance Corporal. He was one of the lucky ones. 

Unfortunately it would take two atomic bombs to convince the Japanese that the war was lost, and VJ Day was on 2 September 1945. The world however has never been without a war somewhere since then and millions of civilians  have lost their lives in conflict ever since. We have not learnt our lesson yet. The present pandemic has shown that it does not take much to throw a planet into disarray, and even in the midst of the current crisis we are still killing each other. 

The exuberance of victory was well deserved though. It had been a tough fight and the enemy was tenacious and adaptable, but the Allies had completed their task as best they could.  Reams would be written about the mistakes that were made and the armchair generals would pat themselves on the back and beam at the medals that they received, while the ordinary soldier was just glad to be back at home and able to get on with their lives. 

Both my parents lived through the 2nd World War and my mother lost her brother in Egypt in 1944; the passage of time would never heal that wound and the loss of that family member would always be a part of their lives.   

As we celebrate VE day on the Bank Holiday within the confines of our lockdown let us not forget that freedom does not come without a price, and that price is not cheap. 

Winston Churchill made the following speech to the nation:

“God bless you all. This is your victory! It is the victory of the cause of freedom in every land. In all our long history we have never seen a greater day than this. Everyone, man or woman, has done their best. Everyone has tried. Neither the long years, nor the dangers, nor the fierce attacks of the enemy, have in any way weakened the independent resolve of the British nation. God bless you all. My dear friends, this is your hour. This is not victory of a party or of any class. It’s a victory of the great British nation as a whole. We were the first, in this ancient island, to draw the sword against tyranny. After a while we were left all alone against the most tremendous military power that has been seen. We were all alone for a whole year.

There we stood, alone. Did anyone want to give in? Were we down-hearted? The lights went out and the bombs came down. But every man, woman and child in the country had no thought of quitting the struggle. London can take it. So we came back after long months from the jaws of death, out of the mouth of hell, while all the world wondered. When shall the reputation and faith of this generation of English men and women fail? I say that in the long years to come not only will the people of this island but of the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in human hearts, look back to what we’ve done and they will say ‘do not despair, do not yield to violence and tyranny, march straightforward and die if need be-unconquered.’ Now we have emerged from one deadly struggle-a terrible foe has been cast on the ground and awaits our judgement and our mercy.

But there is another foe who occupies large portions of the British Empire, a foe stained with cruelty and greed – the Japanese. I rejoice we can all take a night off today and another day tomorrow. Tomorrow our great Russian allies will also be celebrating victory and after that we must begin the task of rebuilding our hearth and homes, doing our utmost to make this country a land in which all have a chance, in which all have a duty, and we must turn ourselves to fulfil our duty to our own countrymen, and to our gallant allies of the United States who were so foully and treacherously attacked by Japan. “We will go hand and hand with them. Even if it is a hard struggle we will not be the ones who will fail.”

Amongst my collection is a letter of thanks from Field Marshal Jan Smuts that was sent to every single South African who served in the armed forces during World War 2.  Unfortunately I do not have a good image of it because it is behind glass. 

DRW © 2020. Created 05/05/2020. “Tribute to the Millions” – written by Bruno Peak – VE Day 75 Pageant Master