ME and Ophelia

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bloggers and EU vets discuss danger

Quite a few widely read blogs are reporting on bird flu. I've not kept up on the news but am now starting to since Captain Marlow linked to a news round up at Instapundit and wrote this in a recent post:
"I think it is important that everyone keeps up to date on the progress of avian influenza and the scientific and political establishment’s efforts to prevent it.

Instapundit has a good round-up of the latest news:

Canadian Tamiflu sales jumped to more than 76,000 prescriptions in the 12-month period ending in June, compared to 22,000 prescriptions in the entire 2004 calendar year, says IMS Health, which compiles drug sales data.

Dr. Fred Aoki, an antiviral expert at the University of Manitoba, sees little wrong with the idea of individuals putting aside a cache of antivirals, as long as they learn how to properly use the drugs, which he believes are very safe.

People have been emailing me asking what to do in response to the avian flu reports. "Nothing, yet," is probably the best answer -- it's the public health people who need to be getting their act together at this point -- but there's probably no harm (other than the financial variety) in asking a doctor for a prescription, and getting it filled, now. And to the extent that this causes production to be ramped up in advance of an outbreak, it might do some small good."
Thanks for that Marlow, I am (sort of) thinking of asking my doctor for a prescription, and getting it filled in advance. But I probably won't incase it compromises my immune system. Need to read more about it before deciding. My understanding of flu injections is that one is injected with the virus in order to built up an immunity to it. I cannot afford to be injected with a smidge of any virus, especially at this momentous breakthrough stage where I cannot risk anything setting me back.

Following the six week rest programme, described here a few months ago, I have, for the first time in almost six years, taken a step forward. Although it is a small step, I see it as a HUGE step and am looking to build on progress made by starting another six week stint in the next few weeks. First, I have to clear the decks again. Get six weeks of groceries in place, food prepared and frozen in advance and domestic chores out of the way. And give my blogs a break. Hence the light blogging here because I have kept up my blogs on Africa. Soon I shall post an intermission, and blog once every week or two here. If I can help it, this Christmas is not going to be like last Christmas when I did not send out any cards or celebrate at all. The new gas fire, talked about here since January of this year, is two stages and probably 3-4 weeks away from being connected. It has been a massive project and taken a lot of co-ordinating and organising on my part. If anyone wants to know how to go about getting a rectangular Class 1 gas fire into an arched fireplace with backbrick, I have useful tips.

During the past few weeks, I have progressed to doing a little more organising and being able to cook every 2-4 days without my concentration slowing and body relapsing. This morning, I prepared cottage pie but without creamed potatoes [I've not progressed that much yet]. I chopped some potatoes into the pie and shall freeze the rest to serve with pre-prepared pasta twirls or rice.

Yesterday morning, I made a 2lb beef stew from scratch with Newcastle Brown Ale. Taste, colour and consistency of sauce turned out great. Next time I shall try it using 5lbs of cubed braising steak and freeze it into 10 or more single portions to be eaten with rice, pasta or baked/boiled potatoes and greens. Same goes for each recipe I am testing. It has taken me four years to test certain recipes and fine tune with shortcuts to use the least amount of physical energy. My new dishwasher and additional freezer have been a God send.

Portions of cooked basmati rice and pasta freeze extremely well and, if used while frozen, only take 4 minutes to reheat in the microwave. When reheating frozen meals, I give each dish a twist using things like Tabasco sauce, grated cheese (freezes well), freshly chopped herbs, salad, greens, mayonnaise, frozen corn and petit pois, tinned red kidney beans, butter beans. Six free range eggs, boiled and kept in the fridge are handy for breakfast sliced onto hot buttered toast. Also what works well on hot buttered toast is sliced tomatoe, kiwi, sardines with fresh ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon, or a small ring pull tin of Heinz baked beans which don't really need heating. Sometimes I sprinkle grated cheese onto toast, with a layer of ketchup underneath, and melted in microwave for 15-30 seconds. Another quick breakfast is two eggs in a microwave poacher that cook in the time it takes to make toast.
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Fears bird flu could spread westwards

BBC news says today veterinary experts from across the EU are meeting in Brussels amid fears that bird flu may reach the West, after being detected in Russia:
Dutch officials will explain why they have ordered that all of the country's poultry be moved indoors.

However, it is thought unlikely that the measure will be followed by other countries at this stage.

Experts in Britain said that was not yet necessary, but called for greater resources and bird surveillance.
See full story at BBC and Q&A in their sidebar.

UPDATE Aug 25,2005: Bird flu 'will spread to the UK'
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Ophelia is doing just fine. Never puts a foot wrong. Yesterday and today are the first days she has not been up and raring to go out. Sleepy head. Always yawns the moment she wakes up. She has had a busy summer sniffing out the holidaymakers and guarding against the yellow eyed mini panther with that stalks her day and night trying to muscle in, take over the joint and get its feet under her table.

He is incredibly pushy, a bully in fact and as bold as brass. Jumps in through the front window. Bangs on the catflap demanding to come in. And howls outside during the night. If he had not given Ophelia two bloody raggedy ears and a gash in her leg, I would be friendly, let him in and give him food. But I am as scared of him as Ophelia is. He's wild, has mangy fur and is a bit on the skinny side. Each time I see him, I hope someone who is fit and well will take him in. I've only seen him out and about during warm weather. If I find he is out during wet winter days, I shall feed him and phone the Cats Protection League for advice.

Five minutes ago, we had a hail storm out of the blue so I opened the airing cupboard door for Ophelia where she has a cushy nest of blankets to snooze during noisy weather. Moments later, the hail stopped and sun broke out with loud claps of thunder which made her jump out of the cupboard and run to her thunder/firework hidey hole under a bed.

Sun is still shining but there is a dark thick line on the horizon where the sea and sky meet, which usually indicates bad weather on its way. Some countries in Europe are experiencing flood chaos which means rain might come here. No worries, we are on high ground and a rockbed of flint. One day, I may get a digital camera and post photos of Ophelia and our life here by the seaside.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 8/25/2005
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