Digest- February 2021

Digest- February 2021


February 2021

Advanced old age in when you sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going!


I am deeply disappointed that my direct request for vaccination and National Service experiences have yielded nothing since last month.  I can’t believe that a group of our age has nothing to say about these topics.


The number of residents that have joined the new Trust (started on 1st April 2020) is over 35,000. We have always been proud of our NHS. It is the largest employer in the world. Critical care beds in Southend reached around 200 in January 2021 but is now down to 40 critical care & 40 non evasive beds, with the hope that our hospital will back to normal winter pressure by early March. Well done to every member of the NHS staff. All staff employed on the Covid wards are tested twice a week and do not mix with non Covid wards to avoid any cross-contamination. Our hospital has tried to ensure all cancer patients continue to receive their treatment. Blood tests are now carried out at Havens Hospice. PPE is in good supply with Covid staff being given special masks to ensure they have the best protection. £10m was secured to fund a new extension at the front of Southend Hospital with extra beds.

With thanks to Peter Lovett of Shoebury Matters sent by Margaret.

The virus globally

In the main the politicians will put an optimistic spin on it mainly based on the speedy roll out of the vaccines and point to the falling rate of infections and deaths.  Nobody is certain whether these are due to the current lockdown or the inoculations.  Then the scientists cast a wet blanket on it pointing to the new variants from South Africa and Kent which they are not completely certain will be treated by the vaccines.  When it comes to the end of it all the politicians will give you dates.  I’ve just heard an eminent scientist say we cannot lift our guard until all transmission has been eliminated. 

Here again I would like to share your experience in the lockdown so I’ve added all means of communication at the end. 

The Lighter Side

Food for thought!! One evening a man came home from work to find total mayhem in his house. His two children were outside, still in their pyjamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front garden. The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door of the house. Proceeding into the hall, he found an even bigger mess. The dog bed had been knocked over, and a blanket was wadded against one wall. In the lounge the TV was blaring a cartoon channel, and the room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the worktop, dog food was spilled on the floor, the dishwasher door was open and clothes were piled beside the washing machine. He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she may be ill, or that something serious had happened. He found her lounging in the bedroom, still curled up in the bed in her pyjamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him and smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her in bewilderment and asked ‘what happened here today?’ She again smiled and answered, ‘you know every day when you come home from work and ask me what in the world I did today?’ ‘Yes’ was his incredulous reply. She answered, ‘Well today I didn’t do it’ 

With thanks to Barry Todman of NPC London


There are huge scale engineering constructions around the world.  The pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China, the Suez and Panama canals, the Hoover and Aswan Dams to name but a few.

But none can compare to the billions of invertebrate creatures, the corals.  Over millennia they have built in limestone the largest durable structures on earth – sub-aquatic masses stretching for thousands of miles along the coasts of Australia, the South-East archipelago and the Caribbean. 

The young corals begin life as free floating larvae each the size of a pin head before settling on a stony surface.  Once stuck they form 6 tentacles surrounding a mouth.  The tentacles are armed with stinging harpoons for capturing plankton on which it feeds. 

Subsequent growth is by means of the most profound symbiotic relationships in nature.  Young coral trap chlorophyll containing algae which it stores in its tentacles.  Chlorophyll activated by sunlight by photosynthesis generates oxygen, glucose and amino acids.

These provide the energy and chemicals necessary to secrete limestone that is its protection.

This is a précis of an article by James le Fanu in the Oldie magazine, October 2020.

It bears a close relationship with a lecture I heard on one of my cruises of yesteryear.  The oxygen we breath is generated by photosynthesis by coral which also fixes carbon into calcium carbonate (limestone) so it is not returned to the atmosphere.  Green leaves such as on trees perform the same function by absorbing carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen and fix the carbon within wood.  The big difference between them is that coral permanently fixes carbon but once a tree dies decomposition releases the carbon back into the atmosphere.  It therefore follows that trees are carbon neutral and the pressure to plant more trees is only a temporary expedient.  It is therefore of no matter how much Brazilian rain forest is destroyed.

May be you don’t agree but there is one fact about which there is no argument.  Oxygen in the atmosphere has remained constant at 21% throughout the period of build up of so called greenhouse gasses.  It’s the tropical oceans that are the real good guys.

Now light Relief

This from a relative of a friend in the US.  Hence the spelling.

1. The dumbest thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner.

2. I was so bored I called Jake from State Farm just to talk to someone. He asked me what I was wearing.

3. 2019: Stay away from negative people. 2020: Stay away from positive people.

4. The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house & their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors!

5. This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her dog. It was obvious she thought her dog understood her. I came into my house & told my cat. We laughed a lot.

6. Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.

7. Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands?

8. This virus has done what no woman has been able to do. Cancel sports, shut down all bars & keep men at home!

9. I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him/her with a 6-foot pole” would become a national policy, but here we are!

10. I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.

11. I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to the Backyard. I’m getting tired of the Living Room.

12. Never in a million years could I have imagined I would go up to a bank teller wearing a mask & ask for money.

I particularly like #8.


I get automated calls from Amazon about a large purchase I’m supposed to have made and someone saying my internet will be disabled.  Both invite pressing one or other buttons to get someone to rectify the problem. 

If you are called on these or any other subject that asks you to press keys, in a word, DON’T.  Their motive is to extract some money from you.  If your next response is to hang up then pause a moment.  Unless you are expecting a real call just put aside the phone and leave it for a while.  I figure this jams up the line and leaves the caller paying for it.  So the longer you leave it the greater the expense and the more likely it is they will cross you off their list. 

© JDS/ February 2021.  Tel 01702 472670


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