The World Has Enough Idiots

Good Morning from Northern Ireland. I’m working from home today so feel free to distract me from the dreaded laptop. The United Kingdom is now nearing 50,000 positive coronavirus cases a day as the latest wave hits us. It’s know in some quarters as the ‘Johnson Variant,’ an unflattering reference to Boris Johnson, the BritishContinue reading “The World Has Enough Idiots”

Are You Willing To Risk Your Life?

Northern Ireland reached a historic milestone this week when it was announced that a million people had now received their first COVID vaccination. Not bad for our wee country which has an adult population of approximately 1.5 million. Added to that, over 1/2 million have now received both doses, offering up to 95% protection againstContinue reading “Are You Willing To Risk Your Life?”

Never Take Life For Granted

I spend a lot of time running around trying to catch up with where I’m meant to be. There is always a to-do list, be it in respect of my home, work or writing responsibilities. Today, for example, I’m not in the office but have a parent-teacher meeting to attend this morning. Then, this evening,Continue reading “Never Take Life For Granted”

One Step At A Time

Normality inches ever closer in Northern Ireland with the continued easing of lockdown restrictions. The signs are positive. Infection rates remain low and, perhaps more importantly, hospitalisations and deaths are a fraction of what they were several months ago. It’s a well-worn cliche but there does appear to be light at the end of theContinue reading “One Step At A Time”

Second Vaccination Day

Fionnuala, Hannah and I got out long awaited second vaccinations yesterday at one of the regional hubs. They can administer 1500 vaccinations a day and, I have to say, it was a slick, well-organised operation. We were in and out in half an hour and the staff were fantastic. Efficient and friendly, they answered allContinue reading “Second Vaccination Day”

One Million Jabs

Northern Ireland passed a historic milestone yesterday when it was announced over 1 million coronavirus vaccinations have now been administered. That includes over 800,000 first jabs meaning over 50% of the adult population have now received protection. Not bad, considering the first vaccination was given only four months ago. The rollout has been an unprecedentedContinue reading “One Million Jabs”

Death Of A Troll

Almost 32 million people have now received their first vaccination jab in the U.K. with over 5 million of our most vulnerable citizens having received both. The rollout has been an unprecedented success and the British government is on target to meet its pledge to have offered a vaccination to every adult by the endContinue reading “Death Of A Troll”

Will We Ever Be The Same Again?

I’ve been a bit under the weather of late. Yesterday I slept for 13 hours which is huge for me and utterly unnatural. I’ve been off for a while now. I came home from a gentle three mile walk the other day and felt like I had run a marathon. And I know that feelingContinue reading “Will We Ever Be The Same Again?”

Let Them Eat Cake

I woke up hopeful this morning as our power-sharing executive had announced some weeks ago that today they would release a ‘Covid Recovery Plan,’ outlining a gradual easing of restrictions and return to normalised society. Hopeful but not confident, as our political leaders have repeatedly let the country down with previous promises and assurances. And,Continue reading “Let Them Eat Cake”

I’ve Had My First Jab

All clinically vulnerable persons in the 16-64 age bracket are now eligible for COVID vaccinations so our Hannah attended for her appointment this morning at the local vaccination centre. She was slightly nervous but also very excited as she has been effectively shielding for the best part of a year and been barely out ofContinue reading “I’ve Had My First Jab”

Hindsight Is A Wonderful Thing

The United Kingdom passed a grisly milestone yesterday as official figures revealed over 100,000 people have died from coronavirus since the pandemic struck last March. Other figures indicate the death toll is much higher. Either way, it’s an awful statistic. That’s the fifth highest in the world and it is estimated it could reach 150,000Continue reading “Hindsight Is A Wonderful Thing”

My Thoughts On Inauguration Day

The word on many people’s lips this week was ‘inauguration.’ And what a defining moment in American history it seems to have been. Donald Trump left the White House to be replaced by Joe Biden. The United States is divided and gripped by a pandemic that has left over 400,000 of its citizens dead. PresidentContinue reading “My Thoughts On Inauguration Day”

I’m Taking The Jab

As I write, the United Kingdom has administered almost 4 million vaccinations in the battle against coronavirus. The current rate is 300,000 a day with the intention to ramp this up significantly in the days and weeks ahead as the government pledges to have delivered 15 million vaccinations of the elderly and clinically vulnerable membersContinue reading “I’m Taking The Jab”

Shut The F*** Up

I’m not one for swearing. Even if I whacked my thumb with a rather large hammer I’d probably grit my teeth and ‘flippity flip’ it rather than resort to a torrent of expletives. Turning the air blue isn’t my style and I struggle with people whose every other word is the ‘f bomb.’ But thisContinue reading “Shut The F*** Up”

Has The World Finally Gone Mad?

Well, that certainly seems to be the case. It’s reached the point where I’m almost afraid to check the news headlines. Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Northern Ireland with record numbers of hospital admissions and deaths. Over 1400 have now died since March and there have been over 78,000 positive cases. Hospital occupancy ratesContinue reading “Has The World Finally Gone Mad?”

The 12 Blogs Of Christmas #9

We woke up to snow this morning and lots of it. A little late for Christmas Day but a pretty sight all the same. A blanket of it covers large swathes of Northern Ireland as the country enters the fifth day of a six week lockdown. There were over 2,100 positive coronavirus cases yesterday, aContinue reading “The 12 Blogs Of Christmas #9”

The 12 Blogs Of Christmas #7

No Christmas in the Black household is complete without honeycomb ice cream and I gleefully broke open the tub the other night. No need for a bowl either. Just a man, his ice cream and a large spoon. Some may view this as uncouth but I’m saving on dish washing later on. I’ve got theContinue reading “The 12 Blogs Of Christmas #7”

What Is Your Escape?

I’ve been busy building up my TBR (To Be Read) list for the months to come. I have about ten books sitting on my Kindle Fire waiting to dive into, mostly penned by independent authors who I’ve discovered via the #writingcommunity on Twitter. I’ve also found myself returning to my first love, fantasy fiction, perhapsContinue reading “What Is Your Escape?”

We Live In Draining Times

What with COVID and elections I had become a bit of a news junkie in recent months whereas, prior to that, I really only paid passing interest to the headlines. What has struck me in recent weeks is the draining effect of watching the news on a regular basis. I’ve found it has had aContinue reading “We Live In Draining Times”

They’d Argue A Black Crow White

I’m working from home today, attending a training course online via the wonders of technology. Don’t ask me how, though, I leave all the gadget stuff to Fionnuala who sighs, rolls her eyes and has the patience of a saint. Anyway, it saves me a commute into Belfast and seems to be the way thingsContinue reading “They’d Argue A Black Crow White”

Happy Halloween From Frosty

I met this chap during my lunchtime stroll around Belfast today. He looked so happy and pleased with himself that I hadn’t the heart to tell him that he had in fact turned up two months early for the wrong holiday. Maybe someone will take him to one side and have a quite word withContinue reading “Happy Halloween From Frosty”

The Only Test I’ve Ever Wanted To Fail

Good Morning from Northern Ireland. I’m pleased to say my COVID-19 test was negative and the Black clan are out of self-isolation again. This was a big relief to all. We won’t be going far, though, as the latest set of restrictions came into effect yesterday meaning schools are closed for the next two weeks.Continue reading “The Only Test I’ve Ever Wanted To Fail”

My First And Hopefully Last COVID Test

So, yesterday I went for a COVID test. There have been a number of positive cases in my office which, consequently, has now been closed for an indefinite period. I wasn’t identified as a close contact but had developed a slight cough and sore throat. Normally I would think nothing of this but we liveContinue reading “My First And Hopefully Last COVID Test”

COVID-19 In Northern Ireland

As expected, new COVID-19 restrictions were announced in Northern Ireland yesterday in an effort to combat the rising infection rates. On Wednesday, over 1200 people tested positive, a record high. This time last month we were averaging around 120 a month. Tragically, four people also died taking the death total in our little country toContinue reading “COVID-19 In Northern Ireland”

On The Brink Again

When the first wave of COVID struck little Northern Ireland in March and the country entered full lockdown, it was a surreal experience. We huddled around our television sets and watched the story unfold as cases, hospitalisations and deaths rose. It impacted massively upon our lives and lifestyles as schools and offices closed, the economyContinue reading “On The Brink Again”

Welcome To The Real World

It’s the weekend, a time when we should relax and recuperate from our efforts during the preceding week. It’s when we recharge our batteries and switch off a little from the trials and tribulations of work. Saturday morning should be good news. Yet, when I checked my social media accounts this morning and watched theContinue reading “Welcome To The Real World”

Raise A Glass To The COVID Dead

It would appear that the second wave is upon us. Well, in Northern Ireland at least, although the statistics suggest infection rates are rising across Europe. Yesterday, our Executive met and agreed new province-wide restrictions that mean people can no longer have visitors in their own homes. Many are unhappy with this decision given, inContinue reading “Raise A Glass To The COVID Dead”

Belfast In September

Irish weather is renowned for its schizophrenic nature and today was no exception. The evenings are getting darker and the leaves are starting to fall, giving the place a distinctly autumnal feel. Christmas is a mere three months away (there, I said it) and there have already been some heavy handed hints in the BlackContinue reading “Belfast In September”

What If We Could See Coronavirus?

Living in the midst of a pandemic has heightened levels of personal hygiene to unprecedented levels. We are (meant to be) forever washing or sanitising our hands, cleaning work surfaces and wiping down communal areas. We catch and bin our sneezes and sniffles and follow many other catchy slogans in order to keep ourselves andContinue reading “What If We Could See Coronavirus?”

Wear A Mask

Wear a mask people!

Me, My Mask & I

Yes, I know I need a haircut. My return to post lockdown society has not included a visit to the barbers yet. I hope to fit it in soon. Or allow Fionnuala and Adam to do it, seeing as they did such a good job last time. But today’s post is about my mask wearingContinue reading “Me, My Mask & I”

Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Face coverings became mandatory on public transport in Northern Ireland today. It has been widely publicised and staff at bus and train stations have been handing out free masks to commuters throughout the week. So, model citizen that I am, I duly boarded the train this morning with my mask on. This is no easyContinue reading “Do As We Say, Not As We Do”

Are You Wasting Away?

I’m in a queue. The council have arranged a rubbish collection in an adjoining village and we’ve seized the opportunity as our wheelie bin is full to the brim. Being in lockdown means more food consumption and general waste. The queue itself is very orderly. Us Northern Irish are good at waiting in line. EverybodyContinue reading “Are You Wasting Away?”

Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #12

My 12th lockdown blog. In a way the time has flown by, in other ways it drags interminably. Today is grey and chilly. The weather forecasters predicted a warm weekend and there were fears people would leave their homes and flaunt government instructions to stay at home. Hopefully the cooler conditions will dissuade anyone fromContinue reading “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #12”