Astra Zeneca Vaccine

Yesterday afternoon I had my first vaccine jab, and it was the Astra Zeneca variety. I arrived at the vaccine centre, had my name ticked off and followed the signs down to the basement, using hand sanitiser a couple of times. I answered a few routine questions and had my jab, all very quick and painless. I was also given a leaflet detailing possible side effects. My brother in law had his first jab earlier in the week and he felt sick all night. I was warned that I might feel tired, which I definitely did when I took Nelly for a walk around the park, although that could have been because of the 100km bike ride I’d done that morning.

Anyway, that evening I started to feel very tired and as suggested I took a couple of Paracetamols. In bed in the wee small hours I started to have the chills and couldn’t get warm, even though I was burning up. In the morning my temperature was 37.8 and I had a banging headache.

It is now 11am the morning after and my temperature has dropped and I’m starting to feel a little more human, but I am not planning on doing anything strenuous today. In fact a day on the sofa reading is my plan.

Edit: Update a couple of days later and it took almost 48 hours for me to feel human again, but I was back out running again on the Monday morning so the side effects are very short term, which is good. Mentally I feel much better. I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that me and Helen (not forgetting Nelly) will be able to go on mini-adventures once again, up to the Lakes or even further afield. This last lockdown has been tough, especially seeing so many people ignoring it and just heading off for long walks or runs in different counties. On a brighter note, swimming pools will be open in a few weeks and then in early June parkrun will hopefully be back again.

Have you had your vaccine jab yet and did you experience any side effects? Apparently one in ten people will suffer from some kind of side effects.

Lock Down Day 5 – Run From Home

By now you should have seen that driving somewhere to go for your one form of daily exercise is liable for a £30 fine, as it is deemed to be unnecessary travel. I absolutely agree as the scenes on Snowdonia last week were a disgrace, and I don’t blame the Lake District for stating that they are closed.

Our planned run in the north Howgills obviously had to be curtailed. Instead we went for a run from our front door, heading onto a few footpaths that Helen and I had never run.

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We set off up the large hill past the park, dropping down before climbing again. Near to the top was a footpath on the right, our first footpath of the day, and into a field full of chicken sheds. All too often when a footpath goes through or near to a farm, there is a dearth of signs, as there was here. I knew from the map that the path went straight through the farmyard, but there was a Heath Robinson style electric fence to duck under, before we came to a ‘Bull in field’ sign. It is illegal to allow a bull to roam free in a field where there is a footpath. There was no bull, but at the other side of the field, where a style should be was a broken stone wall with barbed wire strung across the top. Fortunately we could open the gate, just. This is one farmer who really doesn’t want anyone to use the footpaths through his land. However, there was a great view of Langthwaite Reservoir, which can’t be seen from the road, as well as Blea Tarn Reservoir, seen below.

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Joining the road we ran down the steep Proctor Moss Road and then up onto our second footpath. We walked up the grassy field to a broken style, over a small stream, over a small fence and into another large field, before once again joining the road. On the map there was another footpath opposite where we came out, but on the ground there wasn’t a sign anywhere. We therefore stayed on the road until we reached a farm track which dropped down to a ford. I’ve run and cycled over this ford a few times, and in winter when the water level is too high to use the stepping stones, your feet don’t half get cold. Nelly decided not to use the stepping stones.

Another missed footpath before we joined the University Trim Trail. Dogs are not allowed on campus, but seeing at the Uni was closed we risked it. We’d run along this trail for a Santa Dash in December 2018 (read about it here), and it is kept in very good condition.

At the end of the trail we sat on a handy felled tree for a few minutes, giving Nelly a drink and having a snack. Down into Bailrigg, and if you didn’t know where the footpath is, you would think it was someones drive. It wasn’t clearly marked, but it took us across a couple of fields (a planning application for 700 houses has been submitted for these fields) and into Hala.

Through Hala we followed Burrow Beck until we reached the Barton Road Playing fields. We let Nelly off the lead for a romp and to find some poo to roll in. She’s the best dog in the world. From there it was a steady run back home. We’d been out for almost exactly two hours and run almost nine miles, taking it nice and easy.

It isn’t always easy trying to find new and exciting routes from your front door, but in these times of trouble exploring closer to home can be just as rewarding as driving somewhere.

Chicken Corner

I don’t take enough photos when I’m out cycling. Yesterday I saw a cat with a squirrel in it’s mouth. I cycled past when I should have stopped to catalogue this cat’s achievement. Today, for the first time, I spotted chickens at chicken corner.

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My lovely wife used to live in a small village a few miles south of Lancaster called Cockerham. A few miles down the road is the village of Pilling, but just before you reach it there is the Lands End Amenity Area (closed at the moment due to Corona). Helen has been telling me for years how old chickens have been left there and have formed their own chicken commune. I’ve cycled past there dozens of times and we’ve walked Nelly there a couple of times, but I’ve never seen or heard any chickens. I came to the conclusion that my dearest Helen was gently winding me up.

Today there were chickens. Maybe it’s because the area is closed and they were feeling brave, but there they were. Three straggly chickens having a walk. When I posted on Strava, my old friend The Prof commented;

“I trust those 3 were from the same household and had not driven there to commence their walk?”

It is day 4 of the UK lock down, and my one form of outside exercise was a bike ride. Helen will be taking Nelly out later, after learning to play the ukulele. If you’ve been reading the news or looked at social media, you will have noticed that driving somewhere to exercise, or to walk your dog is liable to an on the spot £30 fine. I saw a couple of cars with dogs today, and the small car park over Harris End had three cars. Yesterday when Helen was out for a run with Nelly she spotted a police car at the park entrance.

We had been thinking of going for a run tomorrow on the northern Howgills. We wouldn’t have seen another person, but the rules are in place for a very good reason (7,500 deaths in Italy and counting) so we will go for a run from home along a few footpaths that we’ve never run along before.We can still have mini-adventures, and did I mention that I saw three chickens!

 

Boycott

I’m making a list of firms that have acted odiously during the pandemic, and I will be boycotting them once normality resumes. The first three are listed below;

J. D. Wetherspoons

No real surprise there. Tim Martin, the owner of said pub chain, has always come across as a money grabbing gob-shite. Initially he wanted to keep his pubs open, in defiance of the shut-down, and only complied when he wasn’t given an option. He then refused to pay his staff until the Government rescue package came into effect, telling his 40,000 staff that they could apply to work in Tescos. He then came out saying that he wouldn’t be paying his suppliers either. This isn’t a small business struggling financially. Last year Wetherspoons made £100 million profit, whilst the majority of his staff are paid minimum wage. I’m not in the least bit surprised to see that one of his pubs has been covered in graffiti, saying ‘pay your staff’.

Mike Ashley

The billionaire owner of Sports Direct, House of Fraser and Evans Cycles, defied the shut-down stating that his stores were essential business. Possibly Evans, but definitely not the other two. Putting profits before the health of his staff, or the health of others. The majority of Sports Direct and House of Fraser stores are in city centres, so the staff would have to use public transport to get to work. Once again, his staff are mostly paid minimum wages, so taking time off isn’t really option for them. His factory is still open and MPs have asked if staff who have been temporarily laid off will be paid.

Britannia Hotel

13 staff at the Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore were handed a notice evicting them from their accommodation in the hotel and told their employment had been terminated with immediate effect. It’s bad enough to lose your job, but to be made homeless at the same time is unforgivable. The bosses at Britannia had no option but to perform a U-turn after the massive public backlash they quite rightly received, blaming it on an ‘admin error’. They also own Pontins, and have re-hired staff that were laid off, now that the Government furlough scheme has started. Added to all this, Which? have declared the Britannia Hotel chain to be the worst in the UK every year since 2013. Have a look at their website, and then when this is all over, book somewhere different to stay.

Prince Charles

I’m not suggesting that we should all boycott the 71 year old Prince Charles, but he gets an honorary mention for testing positive for the Coronavirus. Why was he tested? He isn’t a front line NHS staff member. Why can he get tested and my wife who works in a care home can’t? Prince Charles has announced that he is self-isolating at Balmoral, which is set in 50,000 acres of land. If the land was in a square, it would be approximately 14km across. That’s quite a good run without leaving your garden. There are also 52 bedrooms inside the Castle. Not your average self isolation.

This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list, and unfortunately I’m sure that over the coming weeks I will be able to add to this. On a lighter note, 500,000 people have signed up to be NHS volunteers in less than 24 hours. On the whole people are good, but companies often forget that their staff are not just items on a spreadsheet.

The Zombie Apocalypse has Started

That might be a little over dramatic, but it sure feels like it. The panic buying is ridiculous. A couple of extra tins and a loaf of bread in the freezer and you’ll be fine. There is no need to stockpile like it’s the end of the world. Before work on a Monday I nip into Asda to get some healthy snack so that I don’t raid the tuck box at work in the afternoon. (Spoiler, I always raid the tuck box in the afternoon). Asda is generally quiet at that time, but yesterday there were people with fully loaded trolleys all over the place.

Closer to home and we’re putting notes through the letter boxes of our 6 nearest neighbours, with our phone numbers and letting them know that if they have to self isolate and need anything, to give us a ring.

We did panic buy on dried dog food. Usually we buy 2kg bags, but yesterday I came home with a 15kg bag, much to the delight of Nelly. The ratio of dog food to dog is much to her liking.

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I had entered the Oldham Way Ultra, and as expected it has been called off. They don’t have a alternate date yet, but have given runners the option of swapping to one of their other events, or staying with the Oldham Way when they have a new date. Disappointingly, if you can’t make the alternate date they are only offering a 60% refund. It would also have been nice to have received an email, as it was only announced on Facebook, which I’m not on, so my lovely wife had a look for me.

Parkrun is still on, but for how long, and I could go for a swim yesterday (apparently the virus doesn’t like chlorinated water), but again, for how long. We’ve made a decision to only go to our local parkrun in Lancaster, and not be a ‘tourist’. With the swimming, we’ll keep on until the pools are forced to close.

As for work, I usually work from home one day a week. This has now been changed to as many days at home as I would like. For now I’m going to go into work one day a week, until the government mandates that no-one goes into work unless they absolutely have to. Fortunately I will still get paid.

I used to work in a pub for 15 years and, Boris Johnson’s advice not to go to bars, cafes or restaurants is the worst of all worlds. Tell them to close, offer some compensation, offer to cover wages and allow those with insurance to claim. Telling people not to go in is a death knell for the industry and if I still ran a pub I would be very angry.

Things are changing daily, and I don’t know what the next few months will be like. If shops, restaurants and sports centres all close, will their staff still get paid? If me and my wife have to self-isolate, Statutory Sick Pay will not cover the bills. I don’t believe that the UK Government is doing enough and that there will be tough times ahead, especially as both my mother and Helen’s mother are over 80.

In short, stay safe people, and look after each other.