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A tale of two countries

Having been defeated in the football, Johnson is going to want to give the English something to smile about. So it still looks likely that he will plough on with Freedom Day when everybody can cast away those awful face masks, give up on the idea of social distancing, and hurry up the spread of Covid (most likely the Delta variant) to as many people as possible. Well, at least the ones that somehow failed to catch it from the football matches and the assorted gatherings and celebrations around the country.

France, on the other hand, is introducing a sanitary pass for the fully vaccinated as of the beginning of next week and/or the beginning of August. This will be necessary for entry into places with more than 50 people - theatres, theme parks, cinemas, and concerts as of next week. And then shopping centres, planes, long distance trains, for entry into hospitals/clinics/doctors, as well as bars and restaurants as of the beginning of August.

While I generally agree with this, I think that for the first month the restrictions should be relaxed slightly for those who have had their first vaccination and can show a paper with an appointment for the second.
I say this because my second vaccination is on the 4th of August. Normally it should have been done about now (three weeks after the first) but in order to get as many people as possible given their first shot, it's the medical system that is pushing the date back. Six weeks, which is when mine will be given, is the limit recommended by the CDC. I was not the one that chose this date.
While it will only affect me for a short while (four days), think of those scrambling to get an appointment after the television announcement. If it takes two weeks like it did for me, then six weeks after for the second... assuming that this is when you're considered fully vaccinated, and not two weeks after the second shot... well, we're already into mid-September.
So the initial rules need to account for those who are actually making the effort to get themselves vaccinated, even if they have not completed the course. For many, this is out of their hands. It took forever for the vaccinations to be opened up to the healthy under-50s, and those who are being vaccinated are having their second shot pushed off as far as possible. This is out of their control.
The rules really need to make a distinction between "those who want to be vaccinated" versus "those who refuse to be".

But, yes, I do agree that people who have been vaccinated should have more privileges than those who refuse. In a medical pandemic, one must do some things in order to protect themselves, and others.

 

Another change coming in is that the PCR tests, which are currently free, will cease to be so as of October. This is because there are a number of people who view regular testing as a perfectly acceptable alternative to vaccination. It isn't.

 

For the medical service, it is now obligatory for nurses (and other medical staff) to be vaccinated. This includes non-nurses and volunteers who are in contact with vulnerable people, whether in a medical facility or in the person's home (as in home help).

This is horrific. It is appalling that we're talking, in mid July, about obligatory vaccination of carers and staff of the vulnerable and immunocompromised. These people should have been fast-tracked and vaccinated right in the beginning, back in late Winter and early Spring when the vaccines were being made available.
It's also kind of horrible that 61% of elderly residence workers, 63% of hospital workers, and 81% of general practitioners have been vaccinated... because that means over a third of employees of hospitals and elderly residences have not been.

 

So, soon, in France, it will be necessary to have a little barcode thingy to grant access into numerous places.
And in England, well...

 

A screw loose

I made, to my postman, the sarcastic observation that the weather was miserable because of all the airplanes. Clearly, since very few planes flew last year and it was a lovely summer, while there are loads of planes this year and it's all a bit rubbish (there are already people in the woods collecting mushrooms! in July!), then clearly and obviously it's entirely the fault of the airplanes...

Big mistake.

He launched into a long and rambling explanation about chemtrails.
Basically, a "chemtrail" is a conspiracy theory where those trails of water vapour that airplanes leave in the sky is actually some sort of chemical or biological agent being emitted by the plane for undisclosed (and always nefarious) purposes. Typically the crazies that believe this shit think it's for altering the weather, population control, altering people's moods or sexuality, or some other similar nonsense. I didn't ask which dingos-ate-my-baby theory he subscribed to. Life is too short and I didn't fancy my chances at keeping a straight face.

He advised me to stock up. Not to rush out and buy loads of things as that would be noticed (noticed by whom, other than my bank?), but just to add a few extra things each time I shop.
Which is kind of what I did back in the confinements, in order to be able to feed myself autonomously for at least a week if things got bad. Plus, it's useful to have things to fall back on. I'm not a believer in JIT.

So he tells me that he has full provisions to be able to go home, barricade the doors and windows, and live peacefully for a month.

I kind of imagine him to have a cellar with a hundred bottles of water, a hundred tins of cassoulet (Google it, it's like sausage and beans gone horribly wrong), twenty packs of coffee, and an old WW2 hand grenade that may or may not work.

Me? I maintain water for at least a week of tea drinking. I have some stuff in the fridge (a lot of milk and yogurt), as well as some long life meals. And, yes, even a tin of cassoulet (though it's unidentified bird pieces rather than unidentified pig pieces). Plus various types of fruit juice on rotation (mostly mandarine and pineapple, mind).
I also have at least four gas cannisters for the camping stove and two tin openers. Certainly, one must think if there's ever a situation where one is forced to rely upon food stocks in such a manner, it would be foolish to imagine the microwave will still work.
This isn't paranoia. It's a basic fact of life living out in the middle of nowhere. A point beautifully rammed home in the summer of 2019 when mom was in hospital and I spent most of my summer holiday here, alone, with no car. A friend took me to the shops a couple of times - which was necessary. I also made an order with the now-defunct Amazon Pantry service. But it certainly tested my ability to think about and plan for longer periods of time.
But I only really think of planning for "a week or so". Beyond that, it's likely that whatever the situation is would be bad enough that I'd have bigger things to worry about. You know, war and zombies. Or war with zombies, that's always a possibility.

I don't have a hand grenade. I do have a replica katana and a sharpening stone. That said, I'm not Errol Flynn. I understand that waving a sword in the air a lot may make for cool scenes on television ... and what the hell was with all the choreographed spinning around in Into The Badlands? it's just all sorts of wrong to expose an unprotected side to an enemy ... but more than that I understand that the object is to shove the pointy end into the bastard repeatedly until they stop making noises. Unless you're fighting Indiana Jones, in which case he'll just shoot you.

At any rate, when I look up and see a plane flying overhead, I don't think "oh my god, they're trying to kill me / poison me / make me a girl / make me sterile (delete as applicable). Yeah, sure, there's some nasty crap coming out of the engines as a side effect of the internal combustion engine, but if that was what people were worried about, they'd surely freak out over their vehicle's exhaust.
Besides, why bother with stupid ideas like mixing weird stuff in with plane emissions when it's just so much simpler to create a potent virus in a secret lab and unleash it on an unsuspecting world.

Oh, whoops... ☺☺☺

 

The other strimmer

I was given an unwanted strimmer many years ago, on the proviso that "it probably doesn't work". And so it sat in the barn for... well, probably coming on fifteen years now.
Until today, when I tripped over it.

It is a McCulloch MD320i AV. It's a bigger beast than the strimmer that I normally use. The obvious problem is that there are no fuel lines. They have perished and disintegrated.

Using my calipers, it looks like the main fuel line is 4mm internal diameter, and the secondary fuel line is 3mm internal diameter. The holes in the fuel tank appear to be 5mm.

I have ordered from Amazon a 50cm fuel line that is 3mm internal and 6mm external. The 3 claims to be able to expand to 4mm. As for the tank? Well, I'll make it fit somehow. ☺

I am guessing that the larger diameter pipe is the primary fuel line, and this is connected to a clunk in the tank (which probably doubles up as a filter). There's nothing but oil in the fuel tank, the petrol evaporated away long ago. But, then, this entire machine needs a thorough clean.
The thinner pipe will be connected between the carb and the primer button, and the purpose of this will be to suck fuel (from the main line) into the carb. It will be working in reverse in that, rather than sucking up fuel and squirting it into the carb, it will be sucking causing fuel to be drawn in.
The final pipe will go from the outlet of the primer button to the tank - fuel return. In this way, it should be possible to prime the carb without flooding the engine (as would happen if it's a suck'n'squirt primer).

In other words, something a little like this:

Fuel pipe wiring diagram
Fuel pipe "wiring diagram".

Before I ordered the pipe, I threw some two-stroke petrol mix into the carb and cranked the engine. It actually did start. Very poorly and erratically - but then it's just burning fuel that's been thrown at it rather than a proper mixture. But it suggests that the engine is not only viable, but a heck of a lot easier to start than my normal strimmer (which is even worse than me at getting going!).
This strimmer has a partially-broken mechanism (it no longer auto-feeds) for string connected. I can try getting some fairly heavy duty string for seeing if this, when running, can help deal with brambles and other heavier duty stuff. I'd like to fit a metal blade, one of those shuriken shaped things, but I'm not exactly sure how to remove the string head. If it comes off at all? This will be a future idea if the strimmer works well, in order to justify the cost of taking it to somebody who knows what they're doing. ☺

 

 

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David Pilling, 13th July 2021, 22:47
...in England, France is being held up as example of authoritarianism - vaccine take up here amongst the young is turning out to be low. Bit of a contrast between the opposition who are saying unvaccinated being put at risk of long covid, and the young who believe the vaccine is the bigger risk. Controls are being scrapped but people urged to remain cautious - there's an attempt to make people prove their vaccination status, as a way of encouraging uptake. Here in Blackpool cases are higher than they have ever been, but mostly among the young, fourth wave, exit wave, more like a shock wave. 
 
On the bright side, longer between doses the more effective the vaccines are. 
 
Is that why they call them "con" trails. 
 
Aliexpress is a useful source of cheap spare parts for strimmers. It's a two stroke... loads of fun ahead. The agonies I have gone through with two stroke engines. 
 
I Gooogled upon a question about how to get the head off - seemingly in the manual, which is available online. Some strimmers have a left hand thread (opposite to the usual screw to the right to screw tight one). 
Frank, 14th July 2021, 08:14
"dingos-ate-my-baby" 
Bad example. It's actually true: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dingo_ate_my_baby 
Ivor, 15th July 2021, 14:46
David - the UK media were coming out with that line even when the very vast majority of young people were not yet eligible for it. Now that it’s opened up to 18 plus I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had at least their first jab, and would happily take the second sooner if the system wasn’t forcing the 8 week separation. Of course this would likely explain why they are forming the bulk of the hospitalisations 
 
England at least is also offering “Covid passes” based on either vaccination or test result, though in true Boris style it won’t be mandatory.
David Pilling, 15th July 2021, 18:34
Ivor - "opposition" I should clarify I didn't mean politics. A lot of things are said online and who knows if they're true - but vaccination rates do seem to have fallen recently. I know old people who won't get vaccinated, I know young people who are aggressively anti-vaccination. Perhaps they will change their mind when limits are put on them due to lack of vax proof. 
 
One thing about the whole 18 months is that there has been a range of opinions. 
 
The media tend to report a nation of law abiding folk. In reality I see some people behaving very badly. 
Rick, 15th July 2021, 20:03
Frank - I know. It was the name of Oz's band in Buffy. Regardless of whether or not it is true, it's a crazy story...made even crazier by actually being true! 
 
David - a lot of things are said online, and unless they are being said as a medical professional speaking in the context of their job (such as CDC press releases), then it's just some person's opinion and it should be weighed upon how actually trustworthy that person is. They may be a trained doctor and still quite capable of spouting QAnon-style rubbish. 
 
The people-behaving-badly thing was quite well demonstrated here yesterday. Macron made the announcement that a sanitary pass would be required, and it was obligatory for medical staff, carers, etc to get vaccinated. So out went the French to the streets to protest, to whinge, to smash shop windows and set cars on fire. Ho hum... And they behaved badly, especially in the capital, and got tear gassed. Ho hum... 
 
But, the interesting thing is that authorities reckoned it was about 11,000 protesters in total, across the country. So that's probably around nine thousand anti-vaxxers, conspiracy nuts, and egotistical twats that don't like to be told what to do...and maybe two thousand people that don't care what the protest was about as they just turned up in order to smash stuff (they are known as "casseurs" - https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casseur_(urbain)). 

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