, ,

A History of Slavery

Slave trader Edward Colston’s statue removed from the plinth and dumped in Bristol harbour by Black Lives Matter protesters, 7 June 2020

I don’t understand why people are trying to sanitise our history by pulling down statues of people involved in slavery. We did what we did at the time when we did it and no amount of dumping Edward Colston statues in harbours or renaming street and park names will ever erase these actions. It’s like renaming the one hundred and twenty nine Fox and Hounds pubs in the UK because hunting live foxes with a pack of hounds has been banned since the 2004 Hunting Act. The statue-dumping action was pointless and stupid.

Neil Ferguson

Front page, The Guardian, 11 June 2020

Professor Neil Ferguson, Imperial College London and ex-member of the UK’s advisory group on Covid-19 strategy, said recently: ‘Had we introduced lockdown measures a week earlier, we would have reduced the final death toll by at least a half.’

First, this is a statement that cannot be proved. It merely expresses an opinion using a modal verb, would. Any mathematical spread-of-disease model he produces to justify the statement will only be as accurate as the accuracy of the model and the data fed in and, even today, there are still many unknowns about how SARS-CoV-2 spreads through a population.

Second, what is the motivation for making the statement? To bring down the government? To make money? To improve his reputation? Or just publicity?

Third, Ferguson, like Cummings, advised the government to enforce strict lockdown rules and then broke the rules for personal reasons. The man has no credibility in my book.

Social distancing and face masks: A quadruple whammy to those who wear hearing aids

I am now allowed out from my lockdown bunker. Mostly I walk around local fields maintaining correct social distancing with those I meet but I have visited a pharmacy to pick up medication and, yesterday, I went to my local bank to sort out a problem and met the full effect of having to wear a face mask in public. The face mask is delightful, bright orange and made and sent to me by my granddaughter, Lottie, but here’s the thing – I’m hard of hearing and wear behind-the-ear aids all day every day. So what, you might ask?

When the two-metre social distancing rule was brought in, I noticed an immediate effect when conversing with anyone who came to the house. That extra distance of one metre causes a significant drop in volume of the speech reaching my ears which meant that I have, on occasion, had to turn up the aids’ volume control. Doing that, of course, increases the volume of the ambient noise as well so doesn’t really solve the problem.

The face mask my granddaughter sent me uses elastic to hook the mask behind my ears which is where my hearing aids live. I discovered that positioning and removing the mask carries a serious risk of dislodging the aids. In addition, if someone speaks to me through a face mask, the sound is slightly distorted and I lose the ability to watch a speaker’s lips. I don’t lip read as such but I do pick up on certain sounds by watching people’s lips as they speak.

Sound volume reduction caused by extra separation, risk of dislodgement, increased distortion, and loss of the sight of lips – truly a quadruple whammy on those who wear hearing aids.

Oh, and don’t even think about using sunglasses or reading glasses while kitted out with both hearing aids and a face mask!