Monday, 27 July 2009

The last ten days...

Sorry it’s all been a bit quiet in the last ten days or so. A busy time at work with nothing very much to report and a batch of outside meetings followed by a few days in Switzerland staying with friends in Lausanne. A lovely break, very relaxing but Switzerland is very expensive. Fortunately, they have a flat there so we were able to eat in quite a lot. As always seems to happen on holiday - you leave your holiday place in brilliant sunshine and come back home to rain.

This was my first holiday with my new bright shiny netbook. I am a bit of a news junkie and even more of a newspaper junkie, with only the prohibitive cost of British newspapers abroad stopping me from buying them every day. However, I realised two things on this holiday: not only could I get my news fix from the internet on my new toy but I am starting to get information from blogs rather than from newspapers.

Take the swine flu pandemic – I wish someone would. The newspaper and TV headlines were relentlessly depressing with lurid headlines all signifying the end is nigh. Companies stock-piling Tamiflu for employees and families, people buying – possibly counterfeit – drugs over the internet and call centres being set up to man the phones for the hundreds of thousands who will succumb. We have had a couple of suspected cases in the office which isn’t much fun for those concerned, and it is a concern that there might be an upswing in incidence and we will be short-staffed. A couple of years ago we had an epidemic of whatever the lurgy was and had over a third of the staff off sick. It happens!

So I don’t want you to think that we are ignoring the practical consequences of this - I know no more about viral illnesses than any of you so please don’t think I am talking with any authority – but please read NHS Blog Doctor for some perspective.

P.S. My grandchildren in Switzerland are taught at school to sneeze into their elbows rather than their hands – this was long before swine flu – to avoid spreading germs. Me – I take vitamin C at the first sign of anything – there is absolutely no evidence at all that it has any effect but it makes quite a nice drink.

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