21 October 2021


I popped into a charity shop this morning to donate some things and the young woman serving thanked me for wearing my mask.  She was wearing one herself as it was company policy for all staff to wear one.  Customers were advised to wear one but not obliged to do so and staff were not allowed to insist on it as since mid July government guidance is that it's up to the discretion of each individual.  My observation is that it's mainly the older people still wearing masks and most people are going without.  

Everyone was wearing a mask at this vide grenier at Azay-sur-Cher on 5th September.

In France, at the time when we left four weeks ago to come back to the UK, the wearing of masks was still mandatory in shops and other public places including markets.  In Loches on market day there were gendarmes on patrol checking that everyone was wearing a mask and wearing it correctly, pointing out to people that it has to cover the nose as well as the mouth.  In restaurants we had to show our "pass sanitaire", a digital record of having both vaccinations, before being allowed to enter or even eat outside.  We felt very safe.

Back in the UK we feel nervous.  The graph above shows that the situation worsened here very soon after the easing of restrictions.

I heard a politician talking today on the radio, saying that numbers of infections appear lower in other countries because they aren't testing as many people.  That may or may not be true but the numbers of deaths are presumably more reliable and we are still at the top of the league table in Europe.  I get the feeling that in the UK the idea that we have to "live with the virus" has turned into a perception that a number of deaths is acceptable and, worse still, because it's mainly the old and vulnerable (and the unvaccinated) that are succumbing to the disease, that's fine.  As if these people don't really count.  Two plane crashes a week is what they amount to, at the moment.

I heard an expert in human behaviour relative to health issues putting a very good case for why wearing a mask, social distancing and hand washing are still the way out of this mess because vaccinated people still get the virus and still spread it.  It's just that if they're lucky they don't get very ill or die.  They just pass it on to those that will.  The success of the vaccine programme is effectively wasted if the disease is still spreading and gives people a false sense of security (the I'm alright Jack effect).

Are we taking bets on for how much longer the buffoon in number 10 will carry on pretending things are going well, that we are getting back to normal - and when he will suddenly decide to "follow the science", listen to the experts and restore sensible safety measures to being mandatory instead of advisory?


  1. I'm going to a funeral tomorrow of a man who was in his 80s. I shall definitely wear my mask in church. There will be a lot of people there who will be strangers, and nobody from my 'regular' group of people. And I will not hug or shake hands. Which will be hard, but I think it is necessary.
    I'm fed up with no 10 telling us they do not need to implement their 'Plan B' yet. I keep humming Blowin in The Wind to myself [and how many deaths will it take till they n=know that to many people have died?]

    1. The govt has cleverly shifted the onus onto the public to do the right thing instead of making simple measures mandatory. That way they can blame the public for things going the wrong way. It's sad that it seems that too many people work on the old "I'm alright Jack" principle but hardly surprising.

  2. Likewise. I'm someone who is immunosuppressed, I know that my double vaccination and indeed my booster jab when, I get it, probably give me no useful protection. I am reliant on other people being careful which means I am still isolating because of the lack of mask wearing. The toll on lives, families and NHS staff is appalling.

    1. Kirsten, see my reply to Angela above. The basic safety measures have been accepted in France and are working so they could work here. Sadly I think the govt has dug itself into a hole where it will take many, many more deaths before there will be another u-turn and you can bet Boris will find a way to blame it on others and/or distract from it somehow. (The way the pandemic has been blamed for and distracts from the impact so far of Brexit.) Now that those that don't care much about their fellow citizens have had a taste of their "normal" it will be harder to enforce any measures. Making a promise to remove all restrictions on 19th July come what may has to be one of Boris's most reckless mistakes. Not doing anything about it for so long is even more reckless.