Saturday, 12 December 2020

COVID Questions

Welcome to South Manchester on a grey rainy day. Autumn is over and winter has effectively started which means short, grey and cold days that are normally buoyed by Christmas parties and celebrations as we head towards the big day. This year is different; no parties and the only celebrations are going to be a small one on Christmas Day itself. 

Still, the end of the pandemic is nigh as people are starting to be vaccinated here in the UK. They have started to vaccinate NHS staff and care workers and those over 85, the most vulnerable people and the people who care for others. 

Also, and this is true, the second person to be vaccinated was a guy called William Shakespeare from Warwickshire, the county were Stratford-upon-Avon is. Straford-upon-Avon is of course the birthplace of the bard. I am not making this up. I thought they were starting with the oldest people but I didn't know that we had a guy who was 456 years old. 

In other news, I have taken a chance and booked a gig ticket; I plan to see Steven Wilson in September – a little risky because we don’t yet know what will happen in 2021. Nevertheless I am going to take the risk because the worst that can happen is a postponement to a later date or a total refund if it is cancelled completely.

Talking of pandemics, the questions from Sunday Stealing are all COVID related so let’s launch ourselves into that COVID space, shall we?

1. Day 1 of serious isolation behaviour:

The company I work for had the foresight to close the office before the UK-wide lockdown occurred on March 23rd of this year. I began working at the desk where I am typing this on 16th March and have been doing so all year. The first thing that I did was get into a routine, a habit that I have kept up throughout the 274 days (so far) that we have had to suffer lockdowns and restrictions. And to be honest it has kept me sane. The good news is that with the advent of three vaccinations (one approved already) I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully I don’t have to put up with this for much longer. I am ever the optimist.

2. First trip you had to cancel.

We planned a trip to Palermo in Italy to celebrate Mrs PM’s 50th birthday with friends. We have another friend who was 60 this year and our trip in June was to celebrate both. We cancelled it, but this is just a postponement because as soon as normality is resumed, we will rebook the same trip.

3. Other trips cancelled     

Mrs PM and I had planned a trip to Brussels and Bruges but we shelved that idea as soon as the pandemic struck. We had also booked a trip to Estepona on the south coast of Spain; that had to go. Also, we were planning to go to Mykonos in Greece in September. Fortunately we hadn’t booked that so we just kissed it goodbye.

4. Last trip out of town before isolation.   

That depends what you mean by “out of town”. Our last trip abroad was to Skala in Kefalonia in Greece in September 2019. After that, we stayed in the UK apart from a trip to Blackpool at Christmas to see Mrs PM’s parents and to Delamere Forest near to Chester for a weekend away with friends in February.

5. Farthest from home since isolation.

In July and August, our restrictions were lifted enough for us to be able to visit friends in Chester (about 40 miles away) for a weekend. We have not been anywhere else.

6. Last Meal sitting in a restaurant before Isolation.   

There is a good Italian restaurant within walking distance of our home and we were allowed to eat out in October (just after my birthday) before the restrictions became really tight again. We had a very good meal. It was just Mrs PM and I (as we haven’t been allowed to socialise with other households since the end of July).

7. How many books have you read?

During the pandemic I have read about 15 books. 

8. First event you didn’t attend due to virus.

I was scheduled to see Whitesnake and that was cancelled fairly soon into the lockdown. 

9. Date and event of last over 200-person event.

I managed to see Delain in February. They are a Dutch symphonic metal band whose latest album, Apocalypse and Chill is one of the albums of the year.

Here they are in their full glory. 

10. Last live music event.

See previous question. However, I also saw the Wildhearts a week before Delain, a British rock band I have loved for years. Here they are:

11. Things you are eating more of since isolation.

At the beginning of the lockdown Mrs PM and I decided to relieve the boredom with cake and biscuits (cookies to Americans) to “treat ourselves”. The problem is that we don’t normally eat a lot of fattening food and, within a few weeks, I noticed the weight creeping on. So we stopped it. And now we eat normally, apart from the odd indulgence.

12. Things you are eating less of since isolation.

Nothing – as I said above, we are eating normally.

13. What restaurants have you gotten take-out meals from?

We’ve eaten Indian, Chinese, Italian and even ordered fish and chips to be delivered (something we have never done before). 

14. Have you found yourself bored in isolation?

Yes, as I said above. And I am still bored. We can go out and go for walks etc. but we can’t socialise, go to the cinema, go to the theatre or travel – the things that keep me going. What is keeping me going is the fact that I can now see an end to this – plus a little bit of inventive fun that I will mention in a more relevant question below.

15. Have you gained or lost weight?

I am exactly the same. As I said above, I gained weight at first and now I have stabilised. I actually weight slightly less than I did on January 1st of this year.

16. Do you drink alcohol?

Of course – I am British – alcohol is a way of life.

17. If so, more or less in isolation?

I have probably consumed more in lockdown to be brutally honest. However, I don’t drink on what I term as “school nights”, i.e. Sunday to Thursday inclusive (although I sometimes have a cheeky beer on Thursday). 

18. What entertainments have you explored?   

Mrs PM and I usually pop to the pub for a couple of beers/wines on Friday nights. Of course in lockdown, you can’t do that so we have basically created three pubs in our own house. The lounge becomes “The Black Cat” – named after our love of black furry felines. The room I am in becomes “The Warrior’s Arms” named after our Chinese Terracotta Warrior. Here he is:

In the summer, the back garden became our third pub, “The Cat’s Head” but that is closed now because of winter.
We have also binged-watched quite a few TV series.
19. Gotten into anything new?
Not really. I have spent a lot of time exploring potential new pastimes in preparation for retirement in a couple of years but not actually taken anything up yet. I plan to change that is 2021 when I am unleashed on the world again.
20. Have you done crosswords? Board games?  Jigsaw puzzles?
No. I like crosswords but board games and jigsaws are too dull for me. Mrs PM loves jigsaws though and has an app on her phone/laptop where she can spend hours with jigsaws. I just don’t get it. I would fall asleep within minutes. That said, I guess a jigsaw is a good thing to cure insomnia.
21. Have you cleaned out some cabinet, drawer, closet, etc. thoroughly?
Yes. We have cleaned out the cupboard under the stairs, the cupboard in one of the spare rooms and I have tidied up and cleared out my work area. 
22. Are you spending about the same amount of money?
Not really – we are spending less on average because there is nothing to spend it on. We can’t go out, it’s pointless buying new clothes and we can’t book any holidays. I guess one good thing about the lockdown is that I am actually saving money.
23. Done Zoom, Facetime, etc. meetups?
Yes. We have had many quizzes and chats. I quite enjoy quizzes and I have 58 years’ worth of useless trivia in my head, which means that I am very good. We have a quiz every Friday with work to end the week and I have won seven out of the last twelve of them. 
24. Had a social occasion with a small group of people you consider safe?
We only did this in July when the restrictions were eased. We had a couple of nights out with some close friends and, as I said above, visited some other close friends in Chester. I miss them all and I can’t wait to see them again.
25. Did you vote? In Person? On Election Day?
No because we didn’t have an election here in the UK. However, had I been an American citizen living in the US I would have made a special effort to vote the Orange Goblin out of office. Good riddance Donald Trump – the one good thing to pop out of this miserable year.


Elephant's Child said...

Sadly the Orange One is still fighting to stay in office - and is being assisted by his enablers. I will breathe a heart sigh of relief on the afternoon of January 2021.
Our lockdowns have been much softer than yours. We are not expecting the first vaccine doses to be rolled out before March next year - when I hope it will go to essential workers and the vulnerable first.

Bev Sykes said...

I love the Trump pic. The more we publicly say he LOST the better. The one thing he hates to be is a loser, the one insult he hurls at others is that they are losers. I want everyone to remind him that he is a LOSER.

Pandora Behr said...

Sounds like you are where we were 6 month ago - and I have never been happier to be in Australia than now.

Ordinarily Just Me said...

LOL-Love the last pic-it got a snorting laugh. Also, thanks for the introduction to the new music-I will explore them more as they have a knarley sound. I enjoyed reading your posts, especially about the home made Pubs. That is classic.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

He may fight - but he knows that he has lost. I would rather be in Australia at the moment (and that's not just because it is summer down under).




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

I totally agree. In the UK when a politician loses, he or she concedes immediately. I understand that the US is bigger than the UK but we trust the system we have.

Hopefully once Trump has vanished into obscurity, things like this won't happen again.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I wish I was there, I can tell you.




Plastic Mancunian said...


You can have a pub crawl around your home made pubs too.




CountryDew said...

Trump isn't going to vanish into obscurity. He is going to continue to rile people up until we have bloodshed. He needs to choke on one of those hamburgers he loves.

Hang in there. This will pass, we will all say, "Remember when," and move on.

Lori said...

I love #18, your pubs in your house. That is awesome! You two are so creative. Loved your answers! Have a nice day!

2 gators said...

Enjoyed your answers, however I do not discuss politics,better that way, the pic is funny. thanks for the new music idea.
hope your week is great

Jen said...

LOL! #16 made me laugh and I am going to tell my husband we need to make pub in our home. I probably drink way too much for my own good. I know the vaccine is going to be here (I'm in Texas), but I am still iffy about it. I abhor needles to the point where I turn white as a ghost and if I don't have to, well then, I won't. 😶

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

I am sure we will still hear more of his moronic nonsense - unless he ends up in jail of course.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lori,

It has helped keep us sane.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi 2 gators,

I know - I shouldn't really discuss politics myself but sometimes I can't help it.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jen,

Pubs - gotta be done :o)

I hate needles too but I will have the vaccination. I want to get back to normal asap.