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Floating in Mid-Air

Since my first Eurovision party in 2004, with its memorable Ukrainian winner, I’ve only watched the final every few years. There have been some good songs and performances along the way, but not many from the UK. So when I caught the tail-end of the first semifinal on Tuesday and the rest of it the next day, I was left wondering if this year’s entry was any good. When I heard it, I was stunned to realise that the UK actually had a shot at winning for the first time in twenty years.

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15 May 2022

Reinfection Misconceptions

Britain still believes the three big myths about Omicron.

Covid restrictions have now eased in Scotland (as of 18 April), and at least two-thirds of people seem to have abandoned masking in the shops. Two of our household caught it again in March, one pretty badly, so we had another few weeks of disruption as a result. I had another faintest-of-faint test result, but didn’t come down with it this time. Is this going to be the story every three months?

The grief of a million US Covid deaths isn’t going away.

The first US cases may date back to mid-December 2019.

30 April 2022

Good Friday

Gorse at Chesters Hill Fort, 15 April 2022

When the kids were little we used to visit North Berwick a couple of times a year, but for some reason hadn’t been in eight years. (Possibly because finding a parking space there on a warm dry day is almost impossible.) I took them out there on Good Friday for a beach picnic of hot cross buns and some soft serve, for old times’ sake. On the way back we spontaneously stopped at Chesters Hill Fort to admire its earthen ramparts, cows and gorse. Click through for more photos.

19 April 2022

Gartmore House

A few days ago we visited Gartmore House in Stirling for our son’s performance, which I’ve since discovered was the home of Robert Cunninghame Graham from 1883 until 1900. I took a few photos of the grounds while we were there… click through to see more.

Gartmore House, 8 April 2022

11 April 2022

Notts Landing

The gallery-building has had to go on the back-burner for a while, but a few weeks ago I managed to put together a small selection of photos of a city we’ve visited off and on since moving to the UK, thanks to having some friends there. Most of my photos from Nottingham are of them and their home and garden, but a handful capture the city and surrounding Nottinghamshire, although when I look at them now they’re all pretty overcast and significantly lacking in sheriffs. Our friends moved a few years ago, so I’m not sure when or if we’ll be back, but in case not, here’s a reminder to myself.

Nottingham

28 March 2022

Have Yourself an Isolated Christmas

Self-Isolating Calendar

We had a faint positive lateral-flow test in the family last Saturday and so have to selfisolate until next Tuesday, despite negative PCRs all round and no definitive Covid symptoms (although with Omicron it’s harder to tell). The chance of false positive LFTs is low, so we have to assume this one wasn’t, and Track and Trace want us to isolate either way, even with negative PCRs and multiple jabs. It’s not how we would have liked to spend the week running up to Christmas, but the rapid rise in cases was already putting paid to those plans; everyone here seems to have entered voluntary de facto lockdown in lieu of actual lockdown. The street has been unnaturally quiet all week.

What a fitting end to another difficult year. Looks as if January 2022 won’t be much better either. Hope you and yours can keep safe.

24 December 2021

On a Dark Desert Highway

Omicron, I can’t believe it, I’ve never been this far away from home.

How Covid stays one step ahead of us.

How one scientist concluded that Covid began with a spillover at Wuhan’s wet market.

Why some people pretend Covid doesn’t exist. ICU is full of the unvaccinated.

How protein-based Covid vaccines could change the pandemic.

Pandemic nostalgia.

28 November 2021

Firth of Forth

A month ago today I took the kids out to a place J. and I had visited a couple of times when we first moved to Scotland: Culross in Fife, former Royal Burgh and home to a striking ochre-harled palace. We spent an hour walking around the town admiring its seventeenth-century buildings, before driving to nearby Valleyfield Woodland Park for a walk in the woods to admire miscellaneous fungi. We finished the day at Queensferry at sunset, taking in the red glow of the rail bridge while eating some of Edinburgh’s finest ice-cream and fish and chips. It was an enjoyable afternoon, captured in these galleries of Culross, Valleyfield and Queensferry.

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20 November 2021

Breathing Room

Two weeks ago today I wasn’t feeling quite right, and thought I’d better do a lateral flow test from the kit we’d recently been given, just in case. Within moments I was confronted with this:

My positive lateral flow test result, 7 September 2021

Damn.

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21 September 2021

Begone

After last year’s non-holiday summer, everyone in our family was yearning this year to get out of Edinburgh for a proper summer holiday. With the Delta variant on the rise, international travel was off the cards, whatever the state of vaccinations, so like the rest of Britain we were looking closer to home. Luckily, school holidays in Scotland start earlier than in England, so we faced less competition for holiday homes in remote locations, and were able to book one without much trouble. It wasn’t cheap, but not as bad as some reports of costs down south.

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26 August 2021