Difficult to believe that nine days of 2021 have already passed, making the point that unless I improve my blog-discipline I am not going to be writing here regularly and often. Those nine days have seen two momentous events, respectively at personal and then national level.
After re-assurances, acquired with some difficulty on the fourth of January, that second doses of the Pfizer anti-Covid vaccine would indeed be administered despite Government instructions to the contrary, as an 80+-year-old I duly reported on 5 January to the Health Centre in North Islington where I hade received my first dose on 15th December. Clearly much had been learnt about how to organize mass vaccinations from that first event and this time there were no queues and no waiting inside. I sailed in without any trouble, despite being half an hour early, received my jab, was asked to wait for 15 minutes to see if I felt alright, and then left. There have indeed been no adverse effects at all as far as I know. So I am now one of the first, and still one of the relatively few, people in the UK to have the full Pfizer vaccination and therefore to be well on my way to becoming 90% Covid-immune by about 20th January. This is clearly a matter of not inconsiderable interest to me and I am so lucky to be such an early recipient of this miracle of modern medical science. Let’s hope it works for some time and that meanwhile the disease does not mutate into something which bypasses my particular vaccine.
The national event was on the same day as my jab, officially starting at one minute past midnight on the 5th. England was put into lockdown for the third time in a year, with everyone urged to stay at home (legally required to stay at home when the necessary legislation was passed on the 6th) except for essential purposes. In effect the country was closed down, including schools. This was because the rate of infection (and deaths) was rising so fast, first in London and the south east and then throughout the country. It continues to rise as I write, with infections and deaths now logging in at c30,000 and 1000+ per day respectively. The NHS is on the point of being overwhelmed, a ‘major incident’ has been declared in London, and the pandemic is clearly out of control.
What a contrast to such grimness today has been: after a severe frost, a cloudless day of continuous sunshine with no wind. We attended to the NT flock of rare breed sheep (like the one above), now on grass-rich but very wet fields some 10 miles away; the sheep were just thawing out, and were still grazing intently at 11 o’clock by which time they are normally well into their rumination. Clearly the grass had been too frosty to nibble earlier. We then drove cross-country to Orford for Pump Street refreshment. How splendid was the coffee, drunk sitting in the sun on the stone bench outside the church porch; how equally splendid was more coffee drunk sitting in the glorious sunshine on the quay jutting into the River Ore and overlooking Orford Ness. The quay never disappoints but today its quiet beauty was tinged with a poignancy at the thought of the really serious situation inland.