Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Friday, July 23, 2021
Thursday, July 22, 2021
England is experiencing an unprecedented heatwave with temperatures up to 30 degrees during the daytime. With very few houses having air conditioning, people are sweltering indoors especially at night when it will be difficult to sleep. Fans help but as we learnt early on here in Spain, they simply circulate the hot air giving the sensation of cooling rather than actually cooling.
Of course, nobody would install air conditioning on the basis of a few days of high temperatures but if this is the start of a pattern of weather to come. they may have to consider it long term.
Just to add to the misery, the rise in cases of Covid has resulted in large numbers of people being pinged by the NHS app. Once pinged as having being in contact with someone with Covid symptoms, they are expected to self isolate. The large numbers of people self isolating has lead to shortages of workers in key industries like the supply industry. Newspapers like the Mail are already reporting empty shelves in supermarkets which of course leads to people panic buying which will then deplete the shelves further.
There is already talk of rolling back on some of the freedoms that were given only days ago and the need for vaccine passports by September to allow people to attend large functions, particularly those held indoors. I can't see many being happy about that.
The combination of being hot and bothered and facing difficulties stocking the larder is not good. Thankfully, the heatwave is not due to last. However, the forecast is for heavy rain and thunderstorms to follow. England is probably not a good place to be at the moment.
Monday, July 19, 2021
When Dominic Cummings was let of the hook for his rule breaking trip to County Durham, Johnson was accused by many of being out of touch with public opinion on the matter. When he dismissed the claims that Priti Patel was a bully, he lost even more credibility. Then there were issues with Robert Jenrick and his granting planning permission to a party donor. The funding of redecoration at No 11 showed that the PM was happy to use party funds if he could get away with it. When Hancock was caught breaking his own rules, Johnson's first reaction was to dismiss it saying the matter was closed. Without all the adverse publicity and public pressure, Johnson would likely have brazened it out.
The latest act was to try and use some little known get out scheme to allow him and Sunak to avoid isolation following a ping from Track and Trace. Only when scores of MPs told him it was a bad idea did he back track and change his mind. It isn't as if Jonson would be holed up in a terrace house in Bradford for his isolation, he will luxuriate in his country mansion for the 10 days with every need and wish taken care of.
I can't decide whether the PM is too thick skinned to care about these things or whether he thinks he is is so popular that he can continue getting away with all this nonsense.
As I have said before, if his Freedom Day backfires as it well could, his party and the public will turn upon him.
Saturday, July 17, 2021
I was looking at the General Classification list for the Tour de France. The first British rider on the list is Geraint Thomas at 2 hours, 7 minutes and 40 seconds behind the race leader. Meanwhile, Chris Froome is in 134th place - 4 hours, 7 minutes and 30 seconds behind the lead.
Damn it, G (as they call him) won the race in 2018. That was following wins by Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and Chris Froome in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. It was a period when the British team Team Sky looked unbeatable. So far, Ineos Grenadiers who followed Team Sky have won nothing this year.
Thankfully, we have the success of Mark Cavendish to celebrate. The come back kid has won four stages this year to equal Eddie Merckx record of 34 stage wins. A win in Paris would be the icing on the cake of a great tour for the Manxman. He is also 35 points clear of his nearest rival in the green jersey competition Our fingers are crossed for him.
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Whilst countries like the UK are dropping many restrictions, here in the Valencia region the rules remain strict. In other words, no fudging, no putting the onus onto individuals to use common sense or institutions to try and impose their own rules.
Everyone six years and older is required to wear a mask in the following circumstances:
In any enclosed space for public use or open to the public. So that means shops, theatres, cinemas etc.
In any outdoor space where due to the mass of people, it is not possible to maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 metres between them, except for people who live together.
On forms of transport: air, sea, bus, rail, including platforms and passenger stations, or cableways, as well as other public and private passenger transport in vehicles with space for up to nine people, including the driver, if the occupants of the passenger vehicle do not share the same residence. For passengers on ships or vessels, it will not be necessary to wear a mask when in individual cabins, or in outdoor spaces on the boat where it is possible to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres.
At large outdoor events, when attendees are standing or if they are seated and it is not possible to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between people, except for people who live together.
Free circulation of persons during night-time hours between 1.00 am and 6.00 am is limited in the following municipalities: Alaquàs, Alboraia, Aldaia, Almàssera, Benaguasil, Benetússer, Benifaió, Bunyol, Burjassot, Catarroja, El Puig, Gandía, L’Eliana, Meliana, Mislata, Moncada, Paterna, Picanya, Picassent, Puçol, Quart de Poblet, Requena, Riba-roja de Túria, Sedaví, Silla, Tavernes Blanques, Utiel, Valencia, Vilamarxant and Xirivella.
a) Purchasing medications, healthcare products and other basic necessities.
b) Visiting healthcare facilities, services and establishments.
c) Visiting veterinary clinics due to an emergency.
d) Fulfilling work, professional, business, institutional or legal obligations.
e) Returning to the customary place of residence following one of the activities envisaged in this paragraph.
f) Supporting and caring for the elderly, minors, persons with special needs, persons with disabilities or particularly vulnerable persons.
g) Engaging in hunting activities associated with controlling an overabundance of hunted species which may be harmful to ecosystems, agricultural and livestock farming production cycles, and road safety.
h) Cause of force majeure or situation of necessity.
i) Any other activity of a similar nature, duly substantiated.
j) Refuelling at petrol stations or service stations, when this is necessary to carry out the activities envisaged in the previous subparagraphs.
LIMITS ON SOCIAL GATHERINGS
In residences, spaces for private use, and spaces for public use, both closed and in the open air, groups are limited to no more than 10 people, unless said persons live in the same household or unless they come from two households, without prejudice to the exceptions envisaged in the following paragraphs of this decision, as well as any other applicable administrative actions.
a) Non-professional activities related to child rearing and care, such as support and care for minors, the elderly, persons with special needs, persons with functional diversity and particular vulnerable persons.
b) Shared living arrangements for children with their parents who do not live together.
c) Family members taking in minors under any arrangement.
d) Meeting of persons with marriage bonds or couples who live in different residences.
e) People who live alone, who for the entire duration of this measure, may join another single household unit, provided that said household unit only includes one person who lives alone.
f) Work, institutional and transport activities, and the activities of educational facilities that provide the instruction referred to in Article 3 of the Education Act, including university education, nor those activities for which specific measures are established.
BARS, CAFES AND RESTAURANTS
The terraces of bars, cafes and restaurants may be open until 0:30 AM, at 100% capacity and a maximum of 10 people per table, which must be 1.5 m apart outdoors and 2 m apart indoors, where the capacity is limited to 50%, indoor tables may be occupied by a maximum of 6 people. Remember that masks must be worn while not actively eating/drinking, and that only table service is available. Also, there is no smoking on terraces.
The sale of alcohol is prohibited from 08 PM to 8 AM in any type of retail sale establishment, regardless of its operating license, except in hotels and restaurants/bars, to which the rules specified in the point above apply. The consumption of alcohol on public roads is prohibited 24 hours a day, except in hotel and restaurant establishments, in compliance with the provisions of Article 69 of Health Law 10/2014 of December 29, of the regional government of Valencia.
Businesses may remain open until 00.30 am.
Food and beverages must be consumed at tables with the proper safe distance of a minimum of 1.5 metres between the chairs at different tables. Masks must be worn when not eating or drinking.
Occupancy inside the establishment is limited to 50% of maximum capacity. Outdoor seating at these establishments may occupy all permitted tables, ensuring a safe distance of a minimum of 1.5 metres between tables is maintained at all times. Maximum capacity must be posted in a visible location at the entrance.
Indoor tables may be occupied by a maximum of 6 people, 10 people for outdoor tables.
No dancing is allowed inside or outside. No karaoke and periodic or amateur singing performances are allowed. Professional performances by musical groups and DJs are allowed, ensuring sufficient ventilation and a safe distance of at least 2 metres between the musicians and audience in the case of singers and wind instruments.
Smoking is not permitted, nor is the use of any other tobacco inhalation device, water pipe, pipe or similar device, including electronic cigarettes or vaping in outdoor or enclosed spaces.
There is no capacity restriction in museums, but distancing, hygiene and prevention measures must be enforced
THEATRES AND CINEMAS
For cultural activities and outdoor performances, the maximum capacity is 75% of the approved capacity. The measures necessary to maintain a safe distance between persons or, if this is not possible, the application of alternative physical protection measures must be laid down. The use of masks is compulsory, even if the safety distance of 1.5 metres between persons is maintained (except in the case of groups of persons living together who may sit in adjacent seats). The public must remain seated and pre-allocated seats must be provided.
Some European countries have said that they do not recognise Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccines produced in India because they have not been approved by the EMA.
It seems that, unbeknown to them, 5 million Brits have been given the Indian version - some as both doses, others as one of the two doses. The codes on their vaccine certificates show the country of origin of the vaccine used.
In what may seem to be a "tit for tat" move, my wife tell me that the UK will only recognise vaccines that have been administered in the UK. She read this on a Brits in Spain site.
A BBC report today confirms this: For the moment, fully vaccinated British expats and EU nationals arriving from amber-listed EU countries have to self-isolate for 10 days. only those with a NHS Covid Pass can avoid isolation. Spain is an amber listed country.
So, whilst the Covid Certificates we downloaded will allow us to travel to other countries in Europe without the need to self isolate, they are not being recognised as valid in the UK,
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says the government is "actively working" on ways of letting fully-vaccinated British expats and foreign nationals arrive in England from amber countries without the need for self-isolation.
He says he hopes to say more in the next couple of weeks.
Let's hope that he is as good as his word because we are hoping to travel to Sale for our grandson's birthday in October.
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Boris Johnson has consistently told people to wash their hands as a means to prevent infection from Coronavirus. He even suggested that we should sing "happy birthday to you" whilst washing our hands in order to ensure the job was done thoroughly. Each time the message was changed, "hands" was first on the list.
On the 19th, the roadmap out of restrictions will enter phase 4. Basically, all restrictions will be lifted; no requirement to wear facemasks; no need to observe social distancing; pubs, cinemas, nightclubs, theatres and sporting events can be fully open. The only caveats seem to be that, if you have symptoms - you should get a test, if you test positive - you must isolate.
Since, the roadmap was drawn up though, infections in the UK have risen exponentially. Although hospitalisations and deaths have not gone up at the same pace, they have still increased. Many experts, including leading members of SAGE, have cautioned the Government to reconsider just how far to go with removing restrictions or indeed whether to remove restrictions at all.
Last night, the PM lead a briefing where the public were told that Phase 4 would go ahead as planned on the 19th July. He did however throw a note of caution about people rushing out to celebrate.
That note of caution was repeated several times by Professor Chris Whittie who seemed to be less than enthusiastic about the whole business. It was always clear that restrictions would have to be lifted sometime and now was possibly better than waiting until Autumn when flu and other respiratory diseases would be around. However, Whittie stressed over and again that people should be very, very cautious. Because you can socialise as much as you want to doesn't mean you should. Because you don't have to wear a face mask doesn't mean you shouldn't.
The example of public transport was given as one area where it would be advisable to wear a mask. I would say that there are plenty of other situations where a mask would also be a sensible idea e.g. seeing 60,000 people at Wembley, many without masks, makes me think that the risk of infection at large gatherings is likely higher than on a bus or train.
What the PM has actually done is shift responsibility. If infections rise and another wave occurs, it will be the fault of the public for not acting cautiously. Boris Johnson has now effectively washed his hands and those of his government of the whole business. Everything now relies on the common sense of the people - good move Johnson, I'm sure it will all be fine.
Monday, July 12, 2021
What should have been a huge celebration of football was turned sour. Not by the way the England team played nor by the fact that England lost but by the behaviour of fans.
There are reports in the papers of fans attacking the police before and after the game. Nineteen officers were injured. Apparently Trafalgar Square was trashed.
Then fans stormed the gates and fought in an attempt to get into the stadium without tickets.
Booing the National Anthem of the opposing side and whistling when they have the play is nothing to be proud of.
The worse thing though was the racial abuse of Bukayo Saka, 19, Marcus Rashford, 23, and Jadon Sancho, 21 who were targeted on social media over missing penalties. Would they have been subjected to the same abuse if they had been white players? On the basis of training, Southgate said they were the best hopes for scoring penalties.
Sunday, July 11, 2021
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Spain braces itself for another spell of hot weather.
The “extremely high temperatures” will peak in most of mainland Spain on Sunday, then plummet on Monday as an Atlantic trough sweeps a mass of hot air from Africa to the east.
The trough is set to affect inland areas of Murcia and other parts of the southeastern peninsula, with highs of more than 44ºC forecast for Monday. .
On Tuesday, the forecast is for a drop to 29 degrees
Monday, July 05, 2021
Sunday, July 04, 2021
On the 1st of July, regions in Spain started issuing the so called "green certificates". These are your means to prove you have been vaccinated against Covid, have taken a test for Covid or have recovered from Covid. In other words your passport to travel within the EU and hopefully at some point to Britain.
To get one, you need to apply on this website. You will need to enter your SIP card details. Then you will be sent an SMS message to the mobile number they have on record with a code you need to validate your application. You can then download your certificate which has a QR code along with details of your vaccination status.
Friday, July 02, 2021
Hopefully, it will make turning up towards the estate at that corner safer especially when you meet a lorry on its way down. However, looking at the diagram, there is still a pinch point at the start of the road up to Villas Andrea from the roundabout. The tall bushes make it impossible to see any traffic coming down the road.