A World Turned Upside Down pt 25

It’s been a year since Covid 19 reared it’s head in the Uk, and pushed the country into the first lockdown, a year that has changed the world, and changed how we behave and interact as humans.

We now habitually wear masks when indoors in public places, we make a huge effort to stay away from each other, avoiding contact as much as possible as we walk down the street. As a social being I find this part quite difficult, others of course may welcome this separation from their fellow humans, but I thrive on physical contact, I welcome hugs with open arms!!

Wearing masks hides facial expression, another major form of communication, if I had 10pence for every time I have smiled at someone as I pass them in the corridor at work, only to remember I’m wearing a mask and my smile can’t be seen, I would be a rich man! As long as you are all aware, I am smiling behind the mask!

There are indications that some level of normality could be achieved in the near future, summer festivals tentatively getting ready to go ahead, pubs and shops opening up, UK holidays starting. Let’s just hope that as a population we take it steady and don’t dive in too quick, things could still quickly turn around, this virus is very unpredictable in how it behaves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to meeting all my wonderful “festival family” in the summer fields, and dancing like a loon! I’m not too bothered about going abroad, there is plenty of lovely parts of the UK I have yet to see, and people to meet. There are still problems in Europe with the virus slipping into a third wave, whether this is due to them getting behind with the vaccination or due to a virus variant it’s difficult to tell, personally I wouldn’t be too quick to run to the sun.

Anyway folks, it’s been a funny old year since Boris and his cronies announced the first lockdown, let’s be thankful we are all still here, and raise a glass to those we miss. Crack on folks, spring is officially here, it’ll be summer before we know it, hot sunny days in the garden with a book and a beer, hopefully meeting (socially distanced) with friends.

Keep on trucking, we’ll get through these weird times and look back on them in our old age!

Stay safe guys, see you soon!

A World Turned Upside Down pt 24.

Oh dear, what a mess! Yes we’ve got a vaccine, and we’re cracking n with delivering it – the hub I work in has vaccinated over 10,000 people, that’s quite good. We are concentrating on the first dose, with a ten week gap until the booster – I can see the logic behind this, but going against the manufacturers guidelines, is that a good thing? We’ll have to wait and see.

But, and it’s a big but, we are rapidly closing in on 100,000 deaths. 100,000 deaths on an island! 100,000 deaths that could have been a much lower number if we had quickly, efficiently, and forcefully closed our borders, introduced an efficient track and trace system, and closed down the borders much much quicker. And that’s not mentioning the madness of “eat out to help out”, or should that be “eat out to spread it about”!

Have the government made mistakes in controlling the virus ( in favour of keeping the economy running for the fat cats). I think they have, just look at how New Zealand quickly got to grips with the virus – a great example of how things should have been done. Should there be an enquiry, should the government be held to account for their mistakes? I would like to think so, but in reality………

At least we have the vaccine and that gives a glimmer of hope on the horizon, so let’s grasp the opportunity with both hands, get vaccinated when your opportunity arises, and let’s together get the virus controlled and a semblance of reality back.

So carry on folks, stay safe, stay healthy, and look after one another. We can win this fight, and when we have normality back, I have a whole pack of hugs to deliver – so get in line!!!

A World Turned Upside Down Pt 23

Phew – that’s been an interesting year!

Well, it’s Christmas Eve, who’d have thought last Christmas that for almost a full year the country ( world?) would have been brought to its knees by a bug? At least we now have the vaccination, and as this rolls out we can look forward to a return to some sort of normality, whether that will be the normal we were all used to, we’ll have to wait and see.

Right enough of the doom and gloom, let’s look for some positives!

From my point of view, my family bubble ( 7 adults in our house since the March lockdown) have ( fingers crossed) managed to remain virus free. ( And that’s with three NHS workers), so that’s a plus. We’ve managed to see some live music, thanks to some careful planning by the independent promoters – Wroot Rocks, Screaming Tarts, and Hull Adelphi / Fast and Boublous crew. We’ve also managed a couple of holidays in the van, which was nice. We’ve been lucky as we have still been working through all of this, my thoughts and best wished go out to those who have struggled this year.

Work wise I am currently busy delivering the Covid Vaccine at our vaccination hub at Castle Hill Hospital. I have a feeling I will be wearing two hats at work for a while, fitting in my Digital Nurse role around my vaccinating shifts. The Covid wards are still busy looking after poorly patients, in our trust we have around 150 Covid positive inpatients, so please ignore the deniers, it is real and still causing people to be seriously ill. Carry on with the social distancing and wearing face coverings, and we will get through this.

I know some of you will be quite frustrated by the restrictions placed on us by the government guidance, (especially at this time of the year), but please be patient and follow the rules, if we all play the game we will get the infection rates down much quicker.

Anyway, enough doom and gloom, as I said before, happy Christmas, happy yule. Enjoy your celebrations, however you celebrate the turning of the year, and we’ll all meet up in the fields soon for a party when all this is over!

A World Turned Upside Down pt 22

This beautiful old Oak stands in the grounds of Castle Hill Hospital, quietly, sedately, measuring the passing of time in the changing of the seasons, regardless of what is going on around it, it just gets on with life – I feel there is a lesson to be learnt there!

The last time I wrote, a month ago, I was in Norfolk, escaping for a few days, with the second wave of Covid was just starting to appear. It’s a different story now, here in Hull and East Yorkshire we have one of the highest Covid infection rates in the country ( we also seem to have our fair share of Covid deniers and members of the anti- mask brigade, which I’m sure hasn’t helped.). The local NHS trust continues to escalate their plans to cope as the numbers of Covid positive patients rapidly increases, opening more wards for infected patients and having to stop routine surgical admissions. The picture in the hospital changes from day to day. While the deniers happily witter on about government plots to control the population – don’t you just love ‘em!

So we find ourselves back in a lockdown situation, although this feels less of a lockdown than last time, the roads are busy compared to the last lockdown, there feels like more shops open, and more people out and about this time round. Still at least the pubs an restaurants are closed, and people are not allowed to gather in groups from outside their household, so that should be of some help in reducing the infection rates. Hopefully!

Autumn is already in full swing, and the end of the year rapidly approaching, it’s been a strange one so far! But we can go for walks and appreciate the things around us, the wonderful colourful trees, the autumn fruits, the birds and beasties fattening themselves up for winter – nature carries on all around us, even in these worrying times, so enjoy what you can see around you, there’s plenty to be positive about!

The Christmas lights are on in Cottingham village, they’ve been turned on early to cheer everyone up, normally I’d say “not before December”, but this year, go for it!! It’s certainly had an effect as there are a lot of families walking round the village after sunset ( all socially distancing), enjoying the lights, which is nice.

So there you have it, we’re properly upside down again! But roll with it folks, there is a clearer future as a vaccine is not too far off being delivered, which is a good thing. Forget the conspiracy theories, the vaccine will help to reduce the effectiveness of the virus, protecting the vulnerable in our society, and allowing us to get back to normal, which would be nice. Even those who believe in herd immunity have to accept this can only be achieved fully with an effective vaccination program.

Stay safe out there folks, we have a lot of partying in various fields to catch up on next year, so hang on in there!

Blessings and hugs to all of you xxx

A World Turned Upside Down Pt 21

The Beach near Dunwich

The weather at West Runton remained duff, so we went to visit the Shire Horse Centre in the village, we did manage to come back without one, which was a plus!

Onwards once more, as the lockdown areas extend – but this is ok, as these are local lockdowns organised by the local council / health authority, and as such obviously can’t be blamed on the Government. In fact better still, Boris can blame the locals in each area, in particular the Youth for the spread of the virus, obviously!

We are travelling further south, heading down the coast via Southwold. Southwold has a pier and some beach huts, and a beach when the tide is out, but much to Rhubarbs discust dogs aren’t allowed on the beach till the 1st of October, which when we were there happened to be the next day!

Our next camping spot is near Dunwich, a small village on the coast who’s claim to fame seems to be that there was a Franciscan Friary here, and they had a special cottage by the sea where the Lepers stayed, so that’s nice! Dunwich is a nice spot with a nice pub, so that’s good.

The campsite we are staying at has access on to the beach, much to Rhubarb’s delight, and has a nice walk across some lovely heathland to Minsmere RSPB reserve, where “Springwatch” / “Autumn Watch” is often filmed, we had a wonder round the reserve and saw some ducks, pheasants, and a Heron, but the Bitterns were apparently hiding and refused to be seen!

A World Turned Upside Down pt 20

Cobwebs in the Gorse ( with Cromer in the distance – honest!)

Our escape to Norfolk continues, while the Government sit back and consider the effects of their decision to close the pubs at 10pm. All this has done has made people leave the pubs and head straight to the late night supermarket to top up their booze supplies, causing chaos in the supermarkets, or having parties in the street / houses again destroying any notion of social distancing – one up for the Tories then, they’ll get my vote – NOT!

Anyway, Norfolk. We had a couple of days camping at Utopia campsite in Lyng, there’s a pub in the village – although it looks a bit posh and as we had the scruffy dog with us we decided not to venture in! There is also a shop in Lyng, and that’s about it. But with the view of a lake from the van, we didn’t need to go anywhere, we sat and watched ducks, swans, moorhens and a grebe while avoiding the rain – just what we needed really.

View from the van

Before getting to the campsite we did visit Hunstanton, or “Sunny Hunny” as the locals call it, we just found 40mph winds and sideways rain – so a brisk walk on the beach and we called it quits!

We are now parked up at a campsite in West Runton near Cromer for a couple of nights, we found the beach yesterday and Rhubarb had a run on the beach. We also had a pint in the pub next to the site of the West Runton Pavilion, which back in the day was a punk rock venue, seeing the likes of the Sex Pistols, the Skids, XTC, the Undertones etc grace the stage – not bad for a place in the middle of nowhere! It was also used as a rehearsal rooms where bands could try out their new set away from the prying eyes of the press.

There is a lot of rain today, but it makes the cobwebs in the Gorse look amazing!

It’s good to escape!

A World Turned Upside Down Pt 19

A world turned upside down pt 19

Big skies over Norfolk

Ok, first of all apologies for not updating sooner, I guess as things were settling down I felt less of a need to rant. But now I’m back!

Ok, let’s get Covid out of the way – it does now look like we are heading for a second wave, infection numbers are rising, and hospital admissions are rising – in my trust we’ve gone from no admissions due to Covid two weeks ago, up to nine recently, so the pressure is starting to build. I think one of the reasons for this was the wonderous eat out to help out scheme, let’s cram people into pubs and restaurants with the offer of cheap food, and then sit back and see what happens ! – Back to the herd immunity theory? Then there was the track and trace fiasco – an efficient early track and trace system was needed in the early days of the pandemic to enable hotspots of infection to be identified and acted on swiftly – our government failed to deliver, too busy trying to develop an app that collected far too much personal details that they could then surreptitiously sell on at a later date – this app failed and they went back to working with Apple and Google who already had the technology and could have pushed it forward much quicker when needed. Government fail in my eyes!

Well, now we have an app, and we have a potential second wave rearing it’s head, and parts of the country going into local lockdown .

Anyway – we’ve run away, that is me and Nikki have run away accompanied by Rhubarb, we’re on an adventure – we intend to discover Norfolk ( as apparently it has yet to be discovered!). Today we discovered Congham, a tiny village, well more a collection of houses with a pub, outside Kings Lynn ( the local metropolis). It’s a lovely place, and the Anvil is an excellent pub, what’s more we can stay over night in the car park in our van – so that’s a win! We nearly didn’t get here as the first road into the village we tried was blocked by a fallen tree, but some excellent manoeuvring by Nikki on a very narrow road got us back on track and into the village! It is, and has been all journey, exceptionally windy – I think it may always be windy in Norfolk, that’s why there are so many windmills – you see, it all makes sense!

(An Escape From) A World Turned Upside Down pt 17

July 18th 2020

We were hoping to delay our escape from reality and the current insanity that is the real world by heading from Buckden to Malham, but the Yorkshire Dales weather had other ideas. We woke to rain, lots of it! So packed up the van, took down the tent, that was our “annex”, and waited for a tractor. The farmer, Gill, who owns the campsite had already said they would help by pulling the van up the slope, and as it was wet +++ this morning we didn’t even attempt to get up the grassy slope and waited for rescue. Our knight in shining armour arrived riding his sturdy beast, a lovely red tractor. We hooked up the strapping to the towing eye, and promptly watched the strap break as the tension was taken up! Undeterred Robin (Sir Robin, obviously, as he was a knight!), tied a knot in the strap and pulled again, we got a bit further this time, when once again the strap broke, another knot, and our van was on firm ground – job done! Robin took his sturdy steed home while we chatted to Gill about nursing ( turns out she is also a community palliative care nurse!) and said our goodbyes – we’ll certainly be back to this lovely spot!

As the weather was still pants we had decided to give Malham a miss and head back home to the confused civilisation that’s awaits!

So that’s it, the tale of our attempted escape!

Just the van to clean, and the tent to dry, then we’re good to go once more when the chance arises!

(An Escape From) A World Turned Upside Down Pt 16

(An Escape From) A world Turned Upside Down pt 16

A reet lazy day in the Dales. There was no rush today, there was no need.

We had breakfast then sat and read books while watching some builders repairing a roof – well, someone had to!

The “kids” went off on a “five go on an adventure” trip to Aysgarth, while the Grown Ups  stayed in  Buckden and went to the pub. We also went to the shop in Buckden, which was very exciting – let’s just say it’s a good job we bought plenty of provisions with us as they don’t sell much – we did buy a very small loaf of frozen bread ( they didn’t have any thawed out!), and a postcard!

After recovering from the excitement of the shopping, and the “five go on an adventure” had recovered from their adventure, we decided to climb up the valley behind the campsite to see the waterfalls formed by Buckden Beck as it comes down from the top.

The waterfalls are quite impressive, and worth the climb up if you’re ever in the area.

So that’s it, just about, tomorrow we pack up and hit the road home, sadly.

(An Escape From) A World Turned Upside Down Pt 15

(An Escape From) A World Turned Upside Down pt 15.

We had a plan for today, to climb Buckden Pike at 702 meters (2303 feet), around the 5th highest hill in the Yorkshire Dales. This hill looms up behind the campsite although you can’t see the top due to surrounding geography. Buckden Pike is known as one of the wettest hills in the Dales as the top in peat bog and just soaks up the rain in the winter. There are a couple of old Lead mining levels, but it was not one of the main areas of Lead Mining in the Dales. There is also a war memorial on the top built in remembrance of the polish crew of an RAF WWII bomber that crashed into the hill top in a snowstorm, January 1942. Only one crew member survived, and he was saved when he followed a trail of fox footprints down to the village of Cray. There is a bronze fox head built into the memorial.

We set off in reasonable weather with good views to the head of Wharfedale as we climbed up, but the cloud soon started rolling in, obscuring the hill tops across the valley before enveloping us in mist. We were still in the cloud when we got to the trig point at the top, no views, so after a fortifying swig of Kracken, and cursing the runners who got to the top just after us! We set off along the ridge to the memorial. There was a brief break in the cloud when the valley below revealed itself, before disappearing again. From the memorial the path quickly runs into an area of peat bog, which luckily for us was fairly dry, I have read other descriptions of people sinking up to their knees in the bog, so we got off lightly. Our path then set off downhill following the top of Cam Gill with great views of Starbotton and Wharfedale as we dropped out of the cloud cover. A quick stop for a pint at the Fox and Hounds in Starbotton, before crossing the river by some stepping stones, and then walk back along the valley bottom to Buckden. Around 8.5 miles walked, and 1300 feet climbed from Buckden. A good days work I think!

Barbecue for tea and then flopping for the night I reckon!