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UK 2020 – A year of Waiting

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Since March 2020, we have entered a period of waiting, caused by the pandemic. Belatedly the UK entered the first of three lockdowns, which resulted in only essential shops and services staying open and everyone who could do so, was told to work from home.  We formed alliances called “Bubbles” Apart from this contact, we were told to literally stay away from each other, as being the only way to “Stay Safe”
 
The Queen broadcast a rallying call to the Nation, reminding us of the bravery of the generation who fought in WW11, and assured us that “we will meet again” Sadly not everyone will, as the death toll from covid 19 has now exceeded 150,000.
 
The summer passed, marked by low key celebrations of VE Day.  Neighbours practised social distancing by having afternoon tea in their front gardens, in lieu of street parties.  We showed appreciation to the NHS by applauding the staff from our doorsteps on one evening a week.  Apart from these displays of solidarity, the passing of the year was unmarked by the usual national events, such as the Glastonbury festival or the Wimbledon lawn tennis championship. 
We waited like this to try to ensure that the hospitals were not overwhelmed with sick and dying people. We waited to visit distant relatives and elderly residents of care homes, many of whom didn’t understand why family members, no longer visited. We waited in a sort of limbo, clutching hand sanitiser and wearing face masks to go food shopping, if we were able to go out and not “shielding”. On no account must we touch the mask for fear of contamination and breathing in of viral particles!
 
Finally, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, when news reports started to come in, that vaccines were being developed. The vaccines will prevent the severity of the disease and lessen hospital admissions, freeing up the NHS to further treat non covid patients.  Such admissions are largely comprised of elderly people, BAME people and people with underlying conditions.  
 
One in three people may carry the virus asymptomatically, with no sign of illness, but can pass it on to others. Others, while not needing hospital admission may be ill at home and one in ten develop “long covid” with persistent symptoms. 
 
 
We waited for the vaccines and by now half the UK population has had the first jab of either the Astra Zeneca or Pfizer vaccine.  The older age groups are waiting for the second jab, to gain full protection. I may then feel confident to visit the Optician and have the boiler serviced, two of the necessary appointments and jobs waiting to be done.
 
We are waiting for everyone to be vaccinated in the hope that families will be able to meet up again properly, although social distancing and the wearing of masks is likely to continue in public places for some time. There is even talk of vaccine passports, documents to be shown before gaining entry to pubs and places of entertainment. 
 
We are waiting to see if there is a further outbreak near Christmas and a further lockdown.  We are waiting to see if further jabs will be needed then, to cope with new variants of covid 19. It is almost certain that in future annual jabs will be required to keep up immunity from the virus. 
 
In the meantime, there is a large Notice displayed on the side of our local theatre, which advises us to “act as if you’ve got it and stay at home”. This only appeared recently and replaced an even more scary public warning, in the shape of a video showing people wearing oxygen masks in hospital, which I referred to as the Screen of Doom!
 
Despite this, we are waiting for the new normal, which we are hoping in time will become more and more like the old normal.  Take comfort in sayings such as   “All things come to those who wait.”  and “This too shall pass.”   Waiting …. Waiting….

In the nineteen sixties I worked in London stores. Worked as an Insurance Clerk in the City of London during the nineteen seventies. Divorced in the nineteen nineties. Now I am a retired Civil Servant, managing home and garden and escaping onto social media whenever possible.

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Home & Garden

Dressing for Comfort

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Since the advent of Covid, it is not news that people have been spending a lot more time at home. Social isolation and lockdowns have kept people indoors, some shielding, some on furlough and others working from home. This has inevitably had an effect on the choice of clothing for day wear, track suits replacing smart casual and suits for office workers. The recent heatwave endured in houses without aircon has had an added effect, with as many garments as possible, probably being discarded!
 
The actor Colin Firth recounted on a chat show (VIDEO HERE), an incident that had happened to him.  He said that he was wearing only “non presentation underpants” and fluffy pink slippers, when he had an accident. trapping his fingers in a sash window that slammed down on them,  when he was trying to open it. He tried calling for help to no avail, eventually breaking the glass and screaming for attention! A neighbour then came over the fence and finally rescued Colin, finding time to say how much he and his wife enjoyed his films. Other neighbours then turned up to view the scene! I am sure that many of us have suffered, hopefully, lesser embarrassment, when forced to answer the front door wearing clothes meant for our eyes only. 
I have a friend who always wants to look her best, even when alone in the house. This makes me uneasy skyping with her, as I have become aware of my own shortcomings.  I now feel obliged to powder my nose and change my T shirt, before viewing her from across the miles. 
 
In very cold weather, people experiencing fuel poverty may be forced to wear outdoor clothes in the house, in an effort to keep warm.  They dress for comfort as far as they are able, or at least to mitigate their harsh surroundings.  Extremes of weather can literally be a matter of life or death, affecting blood circulation when cold or causing dehydration during heat. 
 
On a less serious note, some people find comfort in old clothes and don’t mind wearing cardigans with holes in them or baggy trousers!
There are of course fashionable garments sold with holes in them and ripped. One is seen as a sign of poverty and the other of wealth.
 
Dressing for Comfort is essentially choosing clothes that facilitate concentration on work and enable relaxation. 

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Home & Garden

Can we agree that people hate losing things?

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At least I’ve never met anyone who says “I don’t mind if I lose something” in effect “Am I bothered?  However, It doesn’t seem to bother some people that much, as they keep on losing everyday items.  In the case of keys, these need to be found before leaving the house.
For some people, though, even the temporary loss of an item is a big deal and they may come close to “losing it” themselves. Apart from the irritation at being without the item, the loss undermines self-belief in competence and control over life.
 
Recently, I lost a full-length waist slip. This bothered me greatly. “How could such a large garment go missing?” I asked myself reprovingly. I retraced my steps to the last time I had seen it,  draped over a chair in the bedroom and later on a chair in the sitting room.  In hot weather, I had been wearing it around the house. (What people choose to wear when alone in the house, may be the subject of another story) Its loss bothered me throughout the Euro Cup semi-final and while Harry Kane, only had to score a penalty, I had to find my waist slip!
 
 
After the match, I scrabbled about for it under the sofa. No luck, it was nowhere to be found. I convinced myself that in a fit of enthusiasm about tidying up, I had thrown it away without thinking.  Yes, that was it. At some point, it is necessary to draw a line on searching and move on.
Of course, if the item has great sentimental value, such as a wedding ring, the loss will be especially hard to take, for reasons of grief as well as self-annoyance. Stories of rings turning up years later when gardening, sometimes make a news item. “There is the diamond, gleaming among the cabbages” reads the headline, ending years of hurt. 
 
I am happy to report a good result in the case of the slip that gave me the slip. Irritated with seeing it lying around, I had put it in with the items for handwashing. It was with deep joy that once identified, I lifted its dripping length out of the washbasin. I am glad to say that I had not totally lost it!

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Food

Here where you can find the best pizzas in the world

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50 Top Pizza , the most important sector guide has decided to confer an ad hoc prize to the chains of artisanal pizzerias , the Top World Artisan Pizza Chains 2021 – Latteria Sorrentina Award . 20 the brands present in the first edition of this special ranking with at least 5 locations.

The winner is the brand Da Michele , historic Neapolitan sign that counts well 19 sites
around the world, 8 in Italy and the remaining located in Britain, Spain, Germany, USA, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Japan. In second position another high-sounding name of the Neapolitan school, that of Sorbillo , which includes several stores throughout the peninsula, in addition to those in New York, Miami and Tokyo . Third, which arouses a great surprise, is the French Big Mamma Group , with numerous restaurants in France, in London and Madrid.

Pizzeria Da Michele

So far it has two sites in Britain and both are in London (Soho and Baker Street) that were opened a few years ago and have been well received. 

Immortalized in the film Eat, pray, love , with  Julia Roberts, the pizzeria Da Michele is a must-see if you go to Naples. Michele opened his first pizzeria in 1906 in the current headquarters of the Ascalesi Hospital, whose construction forced the pizzeria to move. In 1930 the pizzeria is moved to its current location in Via Cesare Sersale, often described by experts and journalists as “the sacred temple of pizza”.

Here is the best ten pizzeria chains in the world:

Top World Artisan Pizza Chains 2021 – Latteria Sorrentina Award :

1 Da Michele – Italy, Britain, Spain, Germany, USA, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Japan

2 Sorbillo – Italy and World

3 Big Mamma Group – France and UK

4 Berberè – Italy and Europe

5 Pizza Pilgrims – UK

6 Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana – USA

7 Bráz – Brazil

8 400 Degrees – Australia – USA

9 Peppina – Asia

10 Grosso Napoletano – Spain

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