Covid Comes A-Knocking.

After escaping more than two years of the pandemic, Covid has finally arrived Chez Beetleypete.

Following a bad headache yesterday, and a persistent cough last night, Julie did a home test this morning, and tested positive for C-19. Because she works for our local doctor, that means a mandatory five days off work, and no return until two negative tests are confirmed.

There is additonal fallout from this. We have had to cancel a family meal booked for next Sunday at a restaurant, and the engineer trying to fix our erratic heating will not be able to come into the house to work.

At least we are both fully-vaccinated, so that should stop the symptoms being bad enough to require further treatment. Fingers crossed for that of course.

Julie worked all through the worst of the pandemic. She often expected to contract the virus, but was lucky not to. In the last few weeks, various colleagues of hers have also tested positive, and she has done extra shifts to cover their absences.

We had probably both become rather complacent about the virus, but today’s positive test has brought home the reality that it has not gone away, and we have to live with its constant threat.

Pandemic Pets

My blogging friend David Miller from sent me this article from America. He thought that I might be interested in it, and I was.

That got me thinking about the recent issue of ‘Pandemic Pets’ here in Britain. From the Spring of 2020 until the end of 2021, pet ownership exploded in the UK. People forced to stay at home because of lockdowns, or working from home permanently due to changes in working practices decided that what they needed in their lives was a pet.

But they didn’t think it through.

Pets need a lot of attention.
Dogs need regular exercise.
All pets need food, beds, leads, collars, toys, and some need cages and straw.
They also need to have innoculations, worming, regular health checks, and in some cases, medication or surgery.

The bills start to mount up, and even if you have Pet Insurance, that doesn’t cover everything. The weather puts people off of walking dogs. They make a mess in the house before they are trained, leave fur all over the place, chew things up, and generally impart their odours into the once clean and fragrant house.

Even a non-pedigree animal has to have a lot of money spent on it on a monthly basis. Some need grooming regularly too.

Meanwhile, the once-excited new pet owners are busy on Zoom calls, or have been summoned back to their former office or workplace once the Pandemic restrictions ceased to operate. That cuddly pup, cute cat, or fluffy rabbit has become a money pit that has to be left to its own devices for eight to ten hours a day, and those new owners begin to resent their new pet, wondering why the hell they thought it was a good idea to get one.

Then comes the war in Ukraine, the global financial crisis, increased fuel bills, rampant inflation, and huge hikes in the price of petrol and diesel. Mortgage rates are set to increase, and money is tight even for those with well-paid jobs.

What happens next is that animal shelters and rescue centres are inundated with unwanted dogs, cats, rabbits, and other animals. The Pandemic Pet owners are even resorting to giving away their supposedly beloved pets via Facebook, or selling them cheap to anyone with the cash who will collect them. Some owners are crowdfunding to cover the cost of operations on their pets, or in the worse case scenario having perfectly healthy animals put to sleep because they can’t be bothered with them any longer.

I know this doesn’t apply to everyone who bought a pet during this period, but you only have to look at animal shelter websites to realise there is a huge issue to deal with.

Let’s hope if we have another pandemic, people who didn’t want a pet before don’t go rushing into thinking having one will change their lives.

Because ultimately, it is the poor animals who will suffer.

Sunday Musings From Beetley

The first **snow** of this winter is falling outside. Luckily, the ground is so wet after 24 hours of torrential rain, it is not settling.

It is almost December, and another year will soon be over. I think this past year will be remembered by me for watching Ollie age, and combat constant infections. Also for second dose of C-19 vaccine, then getting the booster that made me feel ill. On the plus side, it has been unusually warm until this week, (Global Warming probably) and we had a great holiday in September.

I have managed to keep my shorts on since late March, and was hoping to still be wearing them into December. But I fear that yesterday will have to be the last time for 2021, as I returned from the dog-walk chilled to the bone. As today is only 3C so far, and snowing a little, the shorts will have to go back into the wardrobe.


After my recent fall in the bath, it was Julie’s turn a few days ago. She had gone next door to talk to our neighbour, then missed a step as she stood back after ringing their doorbell. That resulted in her falling flat on her back, with a painful rebound head injury as her head hit the pavement. For a few days, she didn’t feel so good, but fortunately is much improved this morning.


Ollie’s fur continues to fall out, caused by those Paintbrush Lesions that I mentioned. There doesn’t seem much we can do, except to wait for it to grow back in due course. It seems not to concern him, and he is still enjoying his walks, and occasionally chasing a deer.


Government corruption and the buffoonery of our current Prime Minister continues unabated. When a party has such a huge majority in Parliament, it appears that makes them impervious to criticism, and immune from prosecution. The exploitation of foreign tax havens is blatant, and disgusting to behold.


Black Friday came and went, as will Cyber Monday. I might sometimes be an old fool, but I am not fool enough to fall for that marketing hype and nonsense.


Still too early for me to talk about Christmas. I haven’t even written any cards yet.


Diet, Obesity, and Covid-19

I found this interesting article online yesterday. It is from an American source, and looks at how the administration in the USA appears to be failing to make the connection between obesity and the pandemic. The government there apparently has no visible policy on the national obesity epidemic either, or the related huge increase in Diabetes.

Still Not Reading

I have mentioned before about how I seem to be unable to concentrate on books since the start of the pandemic. Last night, I went to bed earlier than usual, intending to try to continue with Cindy Bruchman’s second book in a series. The third one might be published this year, and I am only halfway through that second one.

This is no reflection on the story or the writing, both of which are compelling. I read the first half of the book in two sittings.

Then there was a pandemic, followed by lockdowns. And despite all the vaccinations, it continues.

At first, I thought this was a golden opportunity to read more. To really get into the TBR list of books downloaded on my Kindle Fire, and perhaps open some real books too. But it was not to be.

Within days, I could no longer concentrate on books. I would lie in bed at night re-reading the same pages, or flicking back to a previous chapter to remind myself of why a character was in a certain situation. A year earlier, i had read over twenty books, good going for me.

Then it all stopped.

It wasn’t as if I was unduly affected by news of the pandemic at first. I wasn’t worrying about it to the extent of noticeably affecting my mood, or my sleep. I was still reading lots of blog posts every day, and writing more than ever. But when I tried to settle down in some peace and quiet to read, it didn’t happen.

It will soon be two years since I have finished a book, and that upsets me. Not only do I like to read and review books published by friends in the blogging community, I have many more that I was still routinely buying. That has also had to stop, as there is no room left on the bookshelves, and too many downloaded onto my Kindle Fire.

All I can do is to hope that this strange spell will break soon, and I will be a happy and contented reader once more.

It feels like a curse waiting to be lifted.

Freedom Day

Yesterday was the so-called ‘Freedom day’ here. The ending of all formal and legal restrictions in England relating to the pandemic. The country has now ‘Opened Up’.

No more legal requirement to wear face coverings or masks.
No more compulsory soocial distancing.
Theatres, Cinemas, Bars, Nightclubs, Restaurants, all fully open with no more restrictions on numbers.
Outside and inside events allowed without any limit on numbers attending.
Families allowed to visit loved ones in hospitals and care homes after such a long time.

Not everyone was happy about that.

Those with health conditions that give them reduced immunity. Staff at care homes being told masks were still compulsory for them, as well as vaccinations being mandatory. People attending hospitals, health clinics, and doctor’s appointments becoming angry that masks are still compulsory in those places. Despite the high statistics surrounding the vaccination programme, infections are still increasing, especially among those who have refused vaccination, or are in the younger age groups.

To confuse the issue even more, our buffoon of a Prime Minister then announced that from September, anyone attending an enclosed nightclub will have to show proof of vaccination, or will not be allowed in. I can understand their anger. Yesterday, they could go to a nightclub with no vaccination, and no mask. In September, that will not be allowed if they are not vaccinated. It is crazy. Why not wait until September to open them?

Because of money. It’s always about money. Pressure from the entertainment industry, and drinks manufacturers, the need to open during the peak holiday season, and get in as much money as possible before new restrictions apply at the end of that season, in September. The holiday market is equally confused. You can travel to some countries with no need to self-isolate on return, as long as you have had both vaccinations. If not, you will have to self-isolate for 10-14 days on return from your holiday. That means a 2-week holiday requires up to 4 weeks off work, so is not possible for the majority of the population.

Travel on public transport was left to the discretion of the carrier. So in London, the Mayor has made mask-wearing compulsory on all London Transport for the foreseeable future. But in other cities, it is to be left up to the traveller to decide whether ot not to wear a mask.

It’s a complete mess, and full of contradictions. The government has shown itself to be both decisive and indecisive in the same sentence. Many are confused, and that’s understandable.

No other European country facing a steady increase in infections attached to a new variant has taken the chance to open up fully. England has become an ‘experiment’.

An experiment with the lives of its people at stake.

India and Covid-19: The Harsh Reality

Thanks to Australian blogger, Lloyd Marken, I have been following his reports about the pandemic all around the world.

His latest post features a You Tube video clip from the news programme, ‘India Today’. This 4-minute clip shows the devastating effect of Covid-19 deaths in that country. Poverty is so severe that many cannot afford the wood to use to cremate the bodies of their loved ones. As a result, many corpses are simpy floated into the River Ganges instead.

On the sandy banks of the same river, thousands are being buried in shallow graves in the sand, covered by prices of cloth. Unknown, and unmarked, these graves are increasing daily, and when the river floods after expected heavy rains, most of the bodies will simply be washed away into the river.

This is not the sort of thing we see on nightly news bulletins in the west. But it is exactly what we should be seeing, when we still have so many people convinced that C-19 is a conspiracy, and are refusing to get innoculations. This is the reality of life in a poverty-stricken country, facing an explosion in numbers of deaths from the virus.

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Lockdown fallout.

As the lockdown begins to ease in England, it won’t be too long before we can think about eating inside a restaurant, or meeting up with family and friends in their houses. It has been a difficult year for everyone, some much more so than others. I have been lucky, and I am aware of that.

Next Wednesday, I am having the second dose of A-Z vaccine, so even if the ‘Vaccination Passports’ do come in, I will be ‘free to roam’, as it were. We have booked a holiday in England for September, a week away that now seems to be more desirable than at any time in my life.

But with all this progress comes some reflection on the fallout of over a year in lockdowns. The effects, both tangible and unseen, of fear, worry, concern, and being stuck in and around the same place whether from choice or complusion.

For me, the main effects are obvious.

I stopped reading books. I tried, but couldn’t concentrate.

I stopped using any of my cameras. I already had so many photos of the same things and places.

I stopped watching so many films. Again, lack of concentration was the reason.

I ate too many ‘bad’ things, and drunk more wine than before. ‘Treating’ myself was an easy excuse, but not a good reason.

I stopped watching so much television. With a few notable exceptions, it no longer seemed important or interesting.

I stopped ringing friends and family. What do you talk about? The fact that you haven’t been anywhere, or done anything?

My life, such as it was over the past year, moved almost completely online. Although I still went to the supermarket, I spent more time in front of the computer. I wrote more blog posts, kept in touch with people by email, and bought everything I didn’t actually eat or drink by using online sellers.

Now with life forecast to ‘open up’, albeit with sensible safety measures still in place, I feel the need to ‘claw back’ some of the me that was lost over this past year. I want to charge up my camera batteries, try again with some of those books on my Kindle, and wander aimlessly around reopened shops, not intending to buy anything. I don’t know if there will be a ‘new normal’, and there will definitely never be a return to that ‘old normal’.

But I will take whatever comes, and do my best to enjoy it.

10 Items Or Less

I had to pop out to the supermarket earlier. I only needed fresh bread, some of Ollie’s treats, and a packet of bacon. So I went to the nearest supermarket, not the one I regularly use.

It’s always busy on a Saturday afternoon of course, but that doesn’t bother me. I haven’t been out of Beetley since Monday, so a short afternoon drive is a welcome change.

The queue to get in was unusually long. Even with the pandemic restrictions, there have rarely been more than a few people in front of me. But today it stretched the entire width of the large car park.

Luckily, it moved quite briskly, and when I got to the front, I mentioned ot the security guard that it was unusually busy. He nodded. “Mother’s Day tomorrow, always packed out the day before Mother’s Day. Flowers, chocolates, presents and cards. You know they leave it until the last minute”.

Inside, the store was much busier than I had expected. But as I only had four items in a basket, the long queues at the checkout didn’t concern me, as they have a ’10 Items Or Less’ counter right at the front. As I approached that checkout position, a woman aged about thirty suddenly swept in from the side, pushing a trolley full of groceries. She sneaked in front of me, and began to quickly unload her items onto the belt.

Ignoring her rudeness, I did however become quite annoyed when I saw just how many items she was unloading. I started to count them as she placed them down, and stopped at 27. Then she added some more, including a huge box of bottled beer. Catching her eye, I said “Did you leave school very young?” She looked puzzled, and mumbled “Sorry, what did you say?” “You must have left school before they taught you how to count”, I continued, pointing at the huge sign above the checkout. ’10 Items Or Less Only’.

Blushing red under her small face-mask, she ignored me, and loaded her things into bags. When she had paid and left, I asked the checkout lady why she hadn’t challenged someone who had more than three times the number of items. “Not allowed to, sir. Besides, for what I get paid, it’s not worth my while getting stressed out arguing with customers”.

You had to see her point.