Thursday, 16 April 2020

Putting Covid-19 into perspective

The Office of National Statistics has just published their analysis of Covid-19 during March
I am not going to reproduce all their findings buthere are a few points which I find interesting-

  • Between 1 and 31 March 2020, there were 47,358 deaths that occurred in England and Wales and were registered by 6 April 2020. Of these, 8% involved the coronavirus (COVID-19) (3,912 deaths). 
  • Of the deaths involving COVID-19 that occurred in March 2020, there was at least one pre-existing condition in 91% of cases.
  • Males had a significantly higher rate of death due to COVID-19; the rate was double that of females.
  •  The delay in  reporting deaths is the same for Covid-19 as it is for all  other causes

WHO and Taiwan

After yesterday's blog I came across this interview on Formosa News

In this, the representative of WHO avoids answering a question about Taiwan, going dumb for 10 seconds.  He then claims he could not hear the question. When it is repeated he cuts off the interviewer.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Mr. Trump Is Right For Once

In December 2019 Taiwan picked up stories about a new corona virus in Wuhan. After a swift investigation it immediatley introduced health checks on all people arriving from Hubei.  As further evidence became apparenent that Covid-19 could be passed from person to person the population was required to wear masks. The data they collected was sent to WHO (World Health Organisation) on Dec 31. This was ignored. Why? Because membership of the WHO is available only to UN members and the Republic of  China will not allow Taiwan to become a member.
So, whilst Covid-19 rages around the world, Taiwan, with a population of 23 million hashad  just 393 cases of whom six have died. This has been achieved without a lock-down: schools and businesses are still operating but with social distancing of staff.  (338 of these cases were people comming from abroad)

Let's not forget SARS back in 2002-4. The geographical spread was slower and the death count lower then Covid-19. No vaccine was ever developed for SARS: it died out because victims were isolated and thus prevented from passing on the infection. Development of a vaccine stopped at this point as the commercial case died with the infection.  No pharmaceutical company was prepared to build stocks of a vaccine that were unlikely to be required. Had work continued we might be a lot closer to developing a vaccine for the current variant of corona virus.

Mr Trump may be wrong on many things but on this one he is right - The World Health Organisation has exacerbated this pandemic by its inane and culpable behaviour .

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Gone But Not Forgotten

It is almost a year since Gecko was sold and even longer since  Gecko's Progress was active but neither the boat nor the blog has completely disappeared.
Gecko now lives in Crick Marina, apparently, but we have not been there to visit. If the Crick Boat Show had gone ahead we had planned to make a flying visit but now we will have to wait.

This morning I was reminded of the blog by this photograph arriving from a loyal reader which realy brings the blog up to date.

We really miss the canal life and hope all our friends and passing acquaintances  are managing to keep safe and supplied with the necesseties of life.

Now the blog has been awakened, perhaps more words and pictures will flow.....

Sunday, 31 March 2019

nb Gecko has flown

Yes, we have finally hung up our windlasses 
and moved ashore to live.
Our home for the past 12 years is now 

Monday, 4 June 2018

Northern Rail 100% Performance

Since reducing their service to one train per day on each route, Northern Rail claim they are the most reliable rail franchise operator in UK. Customers'  prime concern, they say, is about reliability which this new simple-to-follow timetable has addressed so successfully. On the back of this success Northern Rail has applied to take over the East Coast route recently relinquished by Virgin and Stagecoach.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Canal Festival at Scarisbrick Marina

The last one in 2016 was great fun and this year the Southport Air Show is taking place over the same weekend so there will be plenty to see in the sky as well as on land and in the water

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Canal & Rivers DISTRUST

Canal and Rivers Trust (C&RT)  have recently been 'consulting' with interested parties on a review of how boats are licenced for using the waterways under its control.
National Association of Boat Owners (NABO) which is the most broadly representative of all the boating pressure groups has been involved in this and has become disillusioned by C&RT's approach.  The 'consultation' seems to be a sham. C&RT appear to have decided how licensing is going to change and are going through the motions and massaging the results to support this decision.
NABO issued the following message to all members and I urge ALL boaters, whether members of NABO or not, to make their views know to C&RT as soon as possible.

Your Council met recently and felt that we should urgently communicate our 
views and recommendations with regard to CRT's latest consultation.
Canal and River Trust have spent considerable time and expense getting to 
this stage yet in our view have now effectively ignored the majority view.
CRT have in this consultation posed questions intimating that these have 
the support of the two earlier stages and of the Navigation Advisory Group
(NAG L&M) where boaters views were requested. This is not the case.

At the specially convened meeting of NAG and the boaters representatives 
Mark Tizard and Alison Tuck from NABO attended) we were advised that after
getting the views of the boating organisations (stage 1) and the boaters 
workshops (stage 2) the only common themes emerging were the approval  to
change the way licensing was charged from length to area and to review 
discounts generally (keeping the prompt payment discount). We understood
that this basically was likely to form the core of the questions to be asked.
There was a majority view that there should just be one license charge
regardless of whether a boater had a home mooring or not) and it was agreed
that licensing cost should not be used to address congestion but that this
was the function of enforcement. 
Despite being rejected at stage 1&2 this was brought up again at the special 
NAG meeting and again rejected unanimously.

Despite this we note with dismay that CRT have chosen to be divisive and have 
included questions that suggest that the boaters should pay a different fee 
dependent upon whether they have a home mooring or not, see questions 24,25 
and 26. NABO's view is that there should be one license fee for use of the
waterways under CRT's control and would urge members to vote accordingly. 
In addition we note that CRT in question 24  is suggesting a new license with 
increased fee  (in our view potentially  illegal unless there is a new act of 
Parliament) for boats that wish to remain in one area. This is in our view a 
function of creating a sustainable mix of towpath, short and long term 
moorings supported by enforcement.

Members can read a pdf of the consultation here. 

We would URGE all members to respond to the consultation, 
if you have not received a copy contact customer services who will email 
or post one out to you.

NABO is planning to launch a wider campaign shortly whose aims are to ensure
that CRT and EA put boating and boaters at the forefront of their
thinking and actions when promoting the waterways. 
This will have the tag of ' As a boater are you feeling marginalised ?' 

NABO Council 
With highlighting and italicizing by Peter Lloyd 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Never Had It So Good ?

On BBC Radio Four's consumer programme this morning You  & Yours Winifred Robinson was discussing the report from the debt help group, Step Change.  This reported a rise in the number of  people with debt problems and highlighted the following from callers to their help line:
  • Six out of ten callers were under 40
  • Four out of ten were single with no children
  • Eight out of ten were renting their home
Their representative made the following statement in support of  the third point here:
"more people are renting than ever before"  
The population of UK is greater than ever before and so his statement might be true. However to make the claim meaningful it should be based on the proportion of households renting, not the  number of people in the population.
And on that basis it is not true according to the Office of National Statistics.
The chart below clearly shows that the proportion of rented households in UK was greater  than it is today prior to 1981 - one generation ago.


The second contributor on this topic was Katie Morley, the Consumer Editor of the Daily Telegraph.
I hazard a guess that Ms Morley is in the age group under discussion because of her unbelievable stance.  For a person in her position on a national newspaper to say that the young are in debt through no fault of their own is naive if not immature.
"Look who created the system - the old people. They are to blame"
Does she believe this drivel?
Part of this system, according to Ms Morley,  is the growth in channels to buy goods on deferred payment. This is not new. When I was her age every other household had a catalogue which allowed them to purchase on tick. Is this ancient (irrelevant) history to the the under 40s?
There has always been credit available but what has changed is society's attitude to it. We were always told . Never a borrower or lender be.
An incentive to heading this advise  was the rate of interest and inflation.   The interest rate on our first mortgage reached 25% at one time which is a far cry from today's rates.
There seems to be growing support  for the view that the baby boomers have "never had it so good", to borrow from Harold Macmillan.
This may be the case but I doubt that many of the current  under 40's  have ever had to cope with the financial problems that the baby boomers did at their age. If I had voiced Ms Morley's statement at her age it would have elicited the response
 Stop blaming others and  cut your coat according to your cloth.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

A conspiracy?

Our plan today was to make sufficient progress along the Bridgewater Canal to get us through Wigan tomorrow. As some stretches of the Bridgewater Canal can be quite boring M agreed to take a turn on the tiller in one hour shifts.

Towards the end of her first shift this obstruction necessitated a stop and then a squeeze past.

Once past, she could not get under  way again as there was no response from the throttle.  All we could do was drift until we managed to reach the bank where we bow-hauled Gecko into a safe mooring position.
Once again our itinerary went out of the window as we sought an engineer who could come out and fit a new cable.
In less time than I expected we had an offer from the engineer at Clyamore Navigation at Preston Brook. First on the scene, however, was Ken Wheeler who had us up and running again in less than an hour.  Our demeanor passed from desolation to elation in 60 minutes as we resumed our journey.
Events like this reinforce my preference for canals over rivers. Had this happened on the Thames the outcome might have been quite different.