Week 635

Sunday, 21st February, 2021

Our saviour – hopefully!

A mild but grey morning with temperatures at 13C/55F. The earlier light and warmer temperatures is encouraging and so is the news of our vaccine this morning. We had our first jab on Thursday which should take its full effect by March 11th and expect our second jab by May 12th which should give us the all-clear before June.

I wrote last week of accounts of the Pfizer vaccine showing worrying laboratory test signs of low efficacy against mutant strains of the virus. This morning this has been completely reversed by real life studies. Latest efficacy data from Israeli analysis – real, human data – suggests the following:

I think I’m prepared to live with a 1.1% of dying so we can start to think about travelling again. The Europeans, apparently, are balking at the thought of being given the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine because of its rumoured lack of data of its effectiveness against the South African and UK variants. If we are to travel, we will need Europeans to be vaccinated and to be comfortable opening up their borders. We are all in this together …. apart from the Brextremists, of course, who also tend to be Covid-sceptics and certainly can’t see the value in the whole world’s vaccination for the UK people and economy.

We’ve got our 9th Rapid Lateral Flow Antigen Test tomorrow. Another £50.00/€58.00 in our bank account. Something that should really be helping to boost our immune systems to fight infection is exercise. In the past two months since Boxing Day, (effectively 8 weeks) I have missed my exercise target just 4 times. I have walked/run 310 miles/499 km. Quite pleased with that. I’m going to maintain this standard for another month and then, as the weather improves, hope to increase it.

Monday, 22nd February, 2021

This was supposed to be a Spring day. The birds were expecting it. The flowers were assuming it and we were looking forward to it. The gap between aspiration and reality is great. We have, dark, gloomy skies with a maximum temperature of 9C/48F. It doesn’t feel inviting. Consequently, we are stuck inside once again.

More Painting

I am reading and doing some Ancestry work in the Office. Pauline has gone back to her painting. She will finish the ground floor today. The whole house is pervaded by a faint whiff of paint. Therein lies the problem. I am static, seated. Pauline is active standing and stretching. She is thin. I am fat.

Even so, we had Artichoke & Minted Peas Stew for our Lunch. instead of soup today. This is one of our long standing Greek favourites which we ate on a cold, March day in a warm corner of Simos’ Taverna in Kamares Port. After Lunch, we had a visit from a Covid Tester – A Brexit supporter (spit) – which took about 20 mins.

This was our 9th test and we will have now been paid £450.00/€520.00 between us for the privilege. It really is not inconvenient for us and provides us with reassurance of our current health while paying us into the bargain. What is there to complain about?

Of course, we are thinking more and more about going abroad either on a medium term basis – renting for 2-3 months at a time or buying a small, apartment on a sunny coast in France/Spain. The outlay for renting, particularly in Spain, is incredibly cheap. A villa with private pool, parking, 3 beds, washing & cooking facilities plus internet and satellite television for, say, June & July is only around £6,000.00/€7,000.00. A studio apartment on the Murcian coast can be had for about £75,000.00/ so an equation has to be done. Whatever, this is the way forward for holiday makers who want to avoid too much social contact.

As I suggested long ago, the Greeks are suddenly staring this conundrum in the face. Full of hope and bravado, they wrote off last year’s season and the debts they incurred while talking up the new one this Summer. Suddenly, they are beginning to realise that this season may be even worse. From the website, Sifnaika-Fos, this:

A very difficult year in ’21 for rental accommodation – Zero bookings & accumulated debts.

This is the very real danger of putting all your eggs in one basket. I have been warning of this, with relation to Greece’s reliance on the Tourist Industry, for years never even contemplating a pandemic. Now it has arrived and the warnings become reality. Greeks may have to start considering ‘real’ jobs.

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