A Happy New Year to all Chandler’s Ford Today readers. Is there anything to be happy about? The only good news is that I have had the first of my vaccination jabs against COVID-19 (the Pfizer-BioN Tech for the techies, I can even tell you the Batch number if you like). The next one is due on Jan 9th. Then, at the end of January, I shall be free, protected, like a modern-day knight in armour. The vaccine is 95% effective. Does that mean that, if I get COVID, it will only be 5% as bad as expected? Or does it mean one in 20 of us might get COVID? More important is, although I am protected, could I spread the virus to others?
More important still is that the AstraZenaca vaccine is now approved and is more robust in that it is easier to store and distribute.
Before the latest lockdown we set up a chiminea and an electric radiator in the gazebo with rugs and a bowl of mulled wine for four friends to share with us. With mince pies, manufactured by the two of us, we had a good party. One of us had to sit outside the gazebo or we broke the distance rule.
On Christmas day we visited our granddaughter’s garden and were shown all her presents. Such a bouncy and excited 7-year-old, full of energy and sparkle. She tried not to show disappointment at my presents, a couple of new shirts, but I know she will enjoy seeing the results from my new wildlife camera. Her own present, a car to put her dolls in, elicited squeals of joy.
Home for Christmas
My sister completed her immigration from France back to England and was able to serve a 14-day quarantine just in time for Christmas. Brexit will make living in France rather tricky; but never mind, sunlit uplands and all that. She moves into a new flat in Wareham.
My wife, Brenda, has taken on projects and we have a newly decorated bedroom, a new kitchen with a freshly painted ceiling. I am hoping fervently that she does not decide to re-decorate my study. She has done several things in the garden and left a list of heavier things for me to do, removing some trees and planting others. Today, the garden is waterlogged.
Going on a Date
My wife has instigated a highlight for each week. Every Friday or Saturday is a date night. We dress up as if going out on a date. Our date is with one another to a fabulous restaurant in the dining room. We image it is a restaurant we have visited, on the quayside in Cyprus, overlooking the lakes and mountains in Kandy, the sophisticated Parisian restaurant on the left bank or the lively tapas bar in Spain.
We arrange steak and a tolerably good Burgundy and then flirt with one another.
I won first prize for writing in a competition – and the second prize in another comp. I have won back my subscription to the writing society and made a small profit on the year. Also, my writing ego has been flattered by inclusion of a few pieces in Dancing with Words – an Anthology of the Work of the Society of Civil and Public Service Writers, Rainbow Valley Books, 2020, ISBN 978-1-9999829-2-8. There are contributions from another Chandler’s Ford author and CFT contributor, Gopi Chandroth.
My main activity is to stay out of sight of the virus. I am, perforce, a student of virus behaviour. If I know what the virus will do, I can try to out-wit it. If you understand the virus, there is no need to bother about what the government says, I can work it out for myself. The government have been consistently two weeks behind the curve anyway and there is not a biologist among them.
There is no unusual Hiltingbury activity to write about. We put the bins out, collect the mail, bring the bins in, order stuff on Amazon and decry what vacuous programmes there are on TV; but we have discovered a few gems. People walk past on the road. If I am in the front garden, I offer a greeting, some respond, others swerve away and avert their eyes. The important thing is to be able to do something creative, write, paint, decorate, improve something, read critically, knot, sew, even rearrange a room.
I find Zoom most unsatisfactory but necessary at times. It will be lovely when we can meet our friends for coffee again.