Back to Normal – Not Quite

You would think that the PM said ‘it’s all over you can go back to being the same morons as before’ rather than ‘maintain social distancing and be sensible’. Judging by the pictures on the news, even allowing for the fact that journalists will always take the worst case film they can find, it will not surprise me if the infection rate goes up in the near future.

As for me – we will remain in lockdown for a bit longer and ponder why history has a habit of repeating itself:

image

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Escape!!!

After two and a half months of lockdown we are told that we can now go out for a walk provided we maintain social distancing; those who have read my earlier posts will know that the boss is in the ‘At Risk’ category so neither of us has been out of the house, except for a naughty 5 minute drive up the road and back to give the car a little exercise.

So we put on our outdoor clothes and off we went for a walk around the block. Mary yelled out ‘I’m free; I’ve been released from prison’ when we saw a man and child walking a dog; for some reason he gave us a funny look.

I also took the opportunity to take the bike for a run out for a short ride. For one reason or another I haven’t been out on it since before Christmas, so I wrote this Facebook post when I got back; “Just took the old girl for a ride after changing her battery; first time for quite a few months. It reminded me just why I keep her around even though she is getting a bit old – I had a smile on my face all the way ”; Got a few strange comments about that one.

Anyway, on a slightly more serious note, I’m not so sure we are ready to face the wider world yet; there are too many idiots out there taking any excuse to gather on beaches and open spaces and, judging from the photos, ignoring the rules. The ‘me, me’ society is still alive and, in this case, risking spreading the virus in a second wave.

I read one of the stupidest articles going in the Independent (no I don’t normally read it but this article was in my online news feed) it suggested that the quarantine imposed on travellers coming in to the country was not necessary and, here’s the funny bit, that the best way to cut the infection rate in the UK was to allow everyone to go abroad on holiday, and to allow those from countries, where the infection rate had dropped, to come here on holiday. I’m not sure that the other countries would like adding our infections to their totals. I’d like to think the author was trying to be funny but it’s the Independent so s/he was probably serious

Take care out there – it isn’t over yet

Oh and I’d like to welcome ‘eisev’ who, apparently, has started following this blog. As far as I know you are the only follower I have, since the last person got bored and left. Enjoy!! – correction – Just looked and I also have another, ‘whughson’ so you are joining an elite audience.

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Crew Dragon docks with ISS

Just watched the Crew Dragon docking with the ISS and managed to take some great screen captures

Crew Dragon 1             Crew Dragon 2Dragon Cab             Space station

Doug Hurley, the Crew Dragon commander, was the pilot of STS-135, the final flight of the Space Shuttle program on the orbiter Atlantis 8th – 21st July 2011 – so 9 years between visits

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NASA–Space X & Crew Dragon

Watched the launch of the Space X Demo-2 Falcon carrying NASA Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley in the Crew Dragon today.

KSC-Hurley_Behneken_large                  demo2-launch-1024x584
https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2020/05/30/nasas-spacex-demo-2-launch-a-great-day-for-america/

Back in the early 1960’s we were fortunate to read about and watch mans first exploration of space starting with Yuri Gagarin on 12th April 1961 in his Vostok 1 spacecraft:

3829076a        Gagarin_Capsule 
Picture By SiefkinDR – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12403404

and followed very quickly by Alan Shepard on 5th May 1961 on the Mercury spacecraft Freedom 7

800px-Alan_Shepard_in_capsule_aboard_Freedom_7_before_launch                            1024px-Freedom_7_U.S._Naval_Academy
Picture By HrAtsuo – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18049282

Then followed the Gemini and Apollo projects, culminating with the highlight of the Apollo 11 launch on 16th July 1969 atop a Saturn 5 rocket from Kennedy Space Center launch pad 39A; crewed by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. The Luna Module Eagle landed at Tranquillity Base at 20:17 UTC on 20st July 1969 and, at 02:56 UTC on 21st July, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step foot on another world.

Apollo_11_Crew         Apollo_11_Lunar_Module_Eagle_in_landing_configuration_in_lunar_orbit_from_the_Command_and_Service_Module_Columbia
By NASA – NASA Human Space Flight Gallery (image link), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=102412

By NASA – NASA website; description,[1] high resolution image.[2], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4934985

I watched this historic event as a 21 year old and remember feeling very emotional and proud of the achievement even though I’m not American.

I felt the same way today as I watched the Space X launch with it’s modern and sleek lined  crew module launch from that same pad, 39A.

Hopefully I’ll still be around in 2024 to see the next landings on the moon and be able to still say “I belong to a generation that has seen it twice”

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Happy Birthday Mary

Fifty years ago today (28/05/2020) I wished my future wife, Mary, Happy Birthday and gave her a box of Cadburys Milk Tray wrapped, as she is fond of reminding me, in a brown paper bag; those were in the days when a shop would automatically place goods in said bag free of charge.

Three months later we got married; It occurs to me that I never actually asked her to marry me; I had told my mother that we were going to get a flat together and she went off on one (i.e. started  telling me off in a forceful manner) with words along the lines of “she is a guest in this house and there is no way she is leaving it to live with you unless she has a ring on her finger”; I replied, somewhat heatedly, “alright make the arrangements then”.

That was on a Sunday and I disappeared for the week, back to where I was gainfully employed. By the time I returned the following Friday night, my Mum and Mary had been down the registry office and booked a date.

And before anyone askes  – our first child was born three years later.

Then and now:

Us_11-10-11_0070                    Cruise_2016-03-01_808

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Arriving Home

Had it not been for the Virus we would have arrived home from the States this morning, nice and brown and knackered because of the overnight flight.

As it happens I awoke at around 04:50 this morning, went to the loo, got back in to bed and promptly fell asleep again. I was quite shocked to see it was 09:50 when I opened my eyes; I put it down to the traveling but we must have needed the sleep I suppose.

NASA2

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VE Day 75th Anniversary

This morning we watched HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall lay a wreath and flowers on behalf of the Nation, in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary VE Day.

On a day when most of the UK expected to be out on the streets, it was kind of eerie looking at an empty street during the two minutes silence. Normally there would have been a crowd with one or two coughs and shuffling feet in the background, but today not even a bird.

There are a few houses around our way decked out in flags and bunting; We don’t have any bunting so this is our contribution:

20200507_094454

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The Credit Card in Credit Conundrum

I’ve had Credit Cards for many years and in all that time I have owed money to the bank or, more recently held a £0 balance.

Having had to cancel our holiday, where I had used a Halifax Clarity Card* to pay for both the RV hire and Car hire for both ends of the road trip, I found myself in the very novel situation of having a credit balance.

Since, having already cleared the credit card, this was money that was not really needed immediately. I didn’t want to make the phone call and sit waiting in a queue when others might need their refunds more urgently. Yes I know it would be better in a savings account or ISA, but the interest rates aren’t that attractive at the moment so I held back.

Yesterday I went online to check my account and found that Halifax have added a message to the screen telling customers that refund credit balances can now be transferred without incurring any charge using the Money Transfer system. I know other banks have already done this so well done to all of them. I’m now back to a £0 balance until the next refund comes in.

*Halifax Clarity Card: this is a great card to have when you need to use a credit card pay in foreign currencies, such as vehicle hire. It is a MasterCard, which means you get their exchange rates which are way better than the Post Office or any currency exchange office, and Halifax don’t charge a transaction fee.

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Hindsight is always 20-20

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m sick and tired of hearing the media, and people who should know better, moaning about the governments response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

It is the easiest thing in the world to say ‘you should have done this or that’ when you are sitting in a chair after the event with the results to play with, but in real life the decision makers don’t have that luxury.

When you are on the front line, and in this case I also mean at the strategic level as well, you make decisions using the best information you have at hand at the time. Some times you make mistakes; that’s life; hopefully you make as few as possible and correct as you go along.

It is OK to analyse and make constructive criticism after the event so people can learn by their mistakes.

It is NEVER OK to pontificate for political or self aggrandisement, or to sensationalise headlines to sell newspapers by scaremongering.

Stay safe folks

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End of the Road (Not)

We didn’t reach the end of the road for our RV trip yesterday when we didn’t hand over the keys at Orlando. From there it was not over to the Orlando International Airport, to pick up the rental from Hertz, and then down to the Villa at Kissimmee via lunch at the Longhorn Steakhouse.

In our mind we had a great trip and we have resolved to do it (again) as soon as we are able and can fit it in.

Not a good start to our golden wedding anniversary year but we are still together and that is the main thing.

In the mean time, in the real world one month on, we are still on lock down and we haven’t killed each other so all is well.

WP_20190301_15_15_42_Rich

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