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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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Food

The best Fish & Chips shops in the UK

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Many tourists would like to try real fish & chips when they come to the UK. Unfortunately, in central London and other tourist spots, decent fish & chips are not easy to find According to the ‘Fry Magazine’ these are the 50 best fish & chips in the UK.

As you can see there is only one in London and it is in Harrow, not exactly in the centre of town. But on the list ( not by ranking) there are some shops in fairly touristy places like Alnwick, Norwich, Dorchester, Weymouth, Kendal and Penzance.

Finn’s Traditional Fish and Chips, Reading, Berkshire

Fintans Fish & Chip Co, Llanishen, Cardiff

Fish ‘n’ Fritz, Weymouth, Dorset

Fisherman’s Bay, Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

Fochabers Fish Bar, Fochabers, Moray

Fraser’s Fish and Chips, Penzance, Cornwall

Frydays of Kendal, Kendal, Cumbria

George’s Fish And Chips, Hanham, Bristol

Harlees Fish & Chips, Westbury, Wiltshire

Henley’s of Wivenhoe, Wivenhoe, Essex

Hiks, Brynhyfryd, Swansea, Glamorgan

Hooked On The Heath, Knutsford, Cheshire

Jason’s Fish And Chips, Rackheath , Norwich, Norfolk

Land & Sea, Sowerby, York, North Yorkshire

Linfords Traditional Fish and Chip Shop, Market Deeping, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Market Hill Fisheries, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire

McLeod’s Fish and Chips, Inverness 

Auckley Friery, Auckley, South Yorkshire

Callaways Fish & Chips, Dorchester, Dorset

Carlo’s, Alnwick, Northumberland

Castiglio’s Fried Fish & Chips, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire

Chippy Chippy, Holyhead, Anglesey

Chips @ No. 8, Prestwich, Manchester Chish & Fips, Norwich, Norfolk

Cox’s At The Lighthouse, St Neots, Cambridgeshire

Croft Street Fisheries, Farsley, Leeds

Davenport’s Fish & Chips, Louth, Lincolnshire

David’s Fish And Chips, Brixham, Devon

Dhillons Fish Inn, Throckley, Newcastle

Dunkeld Fish Bar, Dunkeld,  Musselburgh, East Lothian

My Plaice Fish and Chips, Gorleston-on- Sea, Norfolk

Newington Fish Bar, Ramsgate, Kent

Priory Plaice Fish and Chips, Ulverston, Cumbria

Sea Salt Sole, Dyce, Aberdeen

Seasmiths Fish Chips, Porthtowan, Truro, Cornwall

Shap Chippy, Penrith, Cumbria

Shaw’s Fish And Chips, Dodworth, Barnsley, South Yorkshire

Smith’s Chippy, South Shields, Tyne & Wear

Sykes, Pendlebury, Salford, Greater Manchester

The Cafe Royal, Annan, Dumfriesshire

The Cottage by Haddocks, Rawtenstall, Rossendale, Lancashire

The Crescent Fish & Chip Shop, Flint, Flintshire

The Esk Cafe, Carlisle, Cumbria 

The Fish At Goose Green, Wigan, Lancashire

The Fish Bar, Crewe, Cheshire The Fish Works, Largs, North Ayrshire

The Friary, Carrickfergus, County Antrim

The Golden Fry, Benllech, Isle of Anglesey

The Horseshoe Fish Bar, Pontnewynydd, Torfaen

The Little Chippy Tyldesley, Manchester The Plaice to Be, Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire

The Shire Fryer, Shrewsbury, Shropshire Tony’s, Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire

Towngate Fisheries, Idle, Bradford , West Yorkshire

Valerio’s Fish And Chips, Lanark, South Lanarkshire

Yan’s Fish Bar, Cardiff Every Fish Bar, Harrow, London

Farnhams Fish And Chips, Boverton, Llantwit

Major Fiddlers Elbow Fish and Chips, Leintwardine, Herefordshire 

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Home & Garden

What is Patience?

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Can we agree that Patience is a good trait of character to possess, variously described by different faiths and philosophers as a virtue?
 The first known recording in English of this expression is in Piers Plowman a narrative poem believed to have been written by William Langland between 1360 and 1387. One line in the poem states that “patience is a fair virtue.” 
 
 It is similar to the Latin expression, “maxima enim, patientia virtus” written by Cato the Elder, stating that Patience is the Greatest Virtue.  A virtue is a standard of behaviour a society or individual believes to be right, determined by conscience. Conscience is a self-awareness that a moral standard has been breached. There are numerous synonyms to describe the state of being patient, unexcited, coolheaded, laid back, level-headed, cool as cucumber, unimpressed, unexcitable, to name but a few.
 
Whatever the etymology of the word or concept, without some degree of patience, life would be very difficult if not impossible. There is the immediate problem of coping with daily hassles and annoyances. Triggers will vary according to the individual. An occurrence that annoys one person may be met by another, with equanimity. Fortunately, with the practise of patience, annoyance can be defused. In daily life, this will lead to better mental health and may lower blood pressure, which rises when constantly on edge. 
Another example of patience that is helpful, is the calm manner of waiting to reach a long-term goal, such as studying for an examination. Also, when dealing with a period of financial hardship or a long-term health problem, waiting it out can reduce stress. 
Then there is the patience needed when interacting with other people. In 1 Corinthians 13.48 it is said that “Love is patient, Love is kind” Some people require a great deal of patience, but forbearance is usually beneficial to all parties. Indeed, there are probably times when we all need people to be patient with us! 
 
 
Of course, there is a negative side to patience, if taken to an extreme. It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Patience and kindness should not mean becoming a doormat and allowing people to disrespect you. Sometimes you need to be proactive to make progress, either at home or at work. Chasing up a hospital appointment, which is on a long waiting list will reduce anxiety and ensure you are not overlooked by the system.  Each situation must be judged on its merits before deciding that “Enough is Enough”.

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Food

Too Good to Go against food waste, how does it work?

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On paper it seems like a great idea and I wanted to try it. This is the Too Good To Go app which would is a system to collect food that shops or supermarkets intend to throw away at the end of the day. It is good to know that food is not thrown away in this way, but there are also excellent bargains to be found.

Of course, the biggest problem with food is that it needs to be eaten right away and those who live alone may struggle to eat everything. Another problem is that once booked we do not know what the bag (Magic Bag) contains. Which for many is a positive aspect to have a surprise. Those with intolerances and allergies or a particular diet can have problems and must limit themselves to shops or restaurants that have everything gluten-free or vegan food.

When I tried this app, I first of all looked at what was next to me, because you have to go in person to get the mysterious bag. With restaurants closed during the pandemic, the choice is a bit limited, but I have a Greggs store very close to home and I decided to try this app.

The shop seems to give five bags a day to those on a first come first served basis, of course, yesterday I found a bag  on the app and reserved it, paid immediately with PayPal, at a cost of £ 2.59. I had to pick my bag up this afternoon and the app reminded me an hour before that it was nearly time to go. Once you arrive at the store, just show the cashier your phone with the order and then you have to swipe and confirm that you have had your bag, in front of the cashier. This done, I was given a paper bag.

Inside I found a baguette with cheese and salad, a tuna baguette, one of the famous vegan sausage rolls that made a lot of noise a couple of years ago, a kind of cheese and onion pasty, and a large biscuit with jam. . In all, if you think about the retail prices, the package is worthwhile, however, I have to eat it all  today. There are also supermarkets that offer food packages for a few pounds and these should last a little longer.

The whole procedure is very simple, at the shop they knew very well what it was and I had no problem. To conclude, I think this is a very efficient way to get cheap food and maybe try new restaurants that may be out of reach. Those lucky enough to live in central London will find a variety of famous restaurants that allow to eat delicious dishes for a few pounds. 

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