Meanwhile, Across The Pond …

We here in the U.S. are so wrapped up in our own struggles that we rarely take a moment these days to think about what is happening elsewhere in the world.  About ¼ of my readership is from the UK and EU, so I try to stay abreast of the happenings there.  But, since many of you may not be aware, I want to tell you today about the latest troubles in the United Kingdom (UK).

In the UK, there has been a new strain of the coronavirus that has largely shut down the entire country. Other nations are banning travelers from the United Kingdom, and the EU has placed a 48-hour ban on even trucks carrying essential food and medical supplies from crossing the border.  The U.S. has not yet imposed a travel ban, but I won’t be surprised to hear that they have by the end of today.

APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Britain

Lorries are parked on the M20 near Folkestone, Kent, England as part of Operation Stack after the Port of Dover was closed and access to the Eurotunnel terminal suspended following the French government’s announcement, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. France banned all travel from the UK for 48 hours from midnight Sunday, including trucks carrying freight through the tunnel under the English Channel or from the port of Dover on England’s south coast. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP)

UK officials claim the new strain is up to 70% more contagious than the strains already existing, though scientists warn there is no evidence of that yet and it has not yet been confirmed by lab testing.  Nonetheless, the government is taking no chances.

Already, the UK is in full lockdown, essential travel only is permitted, and Christmas is looking mighty bleak for our friends across the pond.  Grocery shelves are already being depleted, and now trucks carrying food cannot cross into the UK to help replenish those shelves.  Trucks loaded with cargo were backed up for miles trying to get into and out of Britain, while many travelers have been left stranded at U.K. airports.  My guess is that this new strain will have already spread into EU countries, as well as the U.S., Canada and other nations, but we just don’t know it yet … we likely will by the end of the week.

The looming Brexit deadline throws yet another wrench into the works.  NPR’s Frank Langfitt reporting from London writes …

“It feels much more isolated than it did just a few days ago here on the island of Great Britain. The Eurotunnel, which also runs under the channel, is also closed. It seems to be a precautionary measure for about 48 hours. There’s a lot of concern around the Christmas season. We’ve already seen backups at the Port of Dover 20 miles long. And what’s been happening is people are trying to get freight across the channel before the deadline of the Brexit transition period, which is going to end on New Year’s Eve.”

UK-3I ask you to keep our friends ‘cross the pond in your hearts this week, and when you start to feel a bit frustrated that Christmas this year isn’t quite what it usually is, please remember our friends in the UK, many of whom will be deprived of seeing family, will be struggling to find food, and are largely isolated in their homes.  Send them a card or a note online to let them know you’re thinking of them.

To all my UK friends:  My heart breaks for what you are going through — this post was written through a veil of tears — and my special wish for you is that things improve soon, that you are able to spend time with loved ones before long, that you have enough food to eat, and please, dear friends … keep safe.  Love ‘n hugs to you all.

28 thoughts on “Meanwhile, Across The Pond …

  1. Pingback: Winding The Year Down With Good People | Filosofa's Word

    • Yes, that’s what I’m hearing. Hang in there, my friend. I have no practical advice and no words of wisdom, but please know that my heart goes out to you … know that I care and am so sad for you all. Hugs, Jack. ❤


  2. Thanks for your concern Jill. It’s very frustrating that they’ve changed their minds about Christmas and cut the visitations to a day, but at least it’s for the right reasons. It’s probably futile as people visiting others will either give or get the virus at this time and then we’ll get another spike. For a long time, we have needed a full-blown attempt to ward off the virus, not these sporadic attempts. Despite this, I hope to see my grandchildren on Christmas day. They will have grown since I last saw them. I’m sorry if we’ve passed this on to any other country and hope the current vaccines work on it.

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    • My concern is genuine and I truly cannot even think about it without tears welling. It is also maddening, for it could have been avoided with some common sense and planning. I still have my fingers crossed that you will be with Yvonne and the kids on Christmas … that is my biggest hope right now. I suspect most other countries will have either this new strain, or another, as scientists say it is natural for a virus to mutate. It will be as it will be, and hopefully our nations have learned some lessons and will handle this one better.


  3. Thanks Jill; yes we were alerted by my daughter on Sunday and we were all watching Boris and messaging each other in dismay. I now have family in three different Tiers! Daughter and family are in one of the worst Tier 4 areas, but are all well, the four of them will have a nice Christmas, so will the Tier 3 Branch who we weren’t going to see anyway, so younger son and fiancée will be visiting me, we are both in Tier 2 – confused yet! Adults can have another Christmas later, but there must be many grandparents who haven’t seen new babies or are missing little ones at their cute stage! But anyone who has a comfortable home and family safe from Covid must spare a thought for those who are really suffering.

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    • It is so sad that so many families will be separated for the holidays … I’m very lucky in that my daughter and granddaughter both live with me, so we will be together no matter what. I sometimes forget how lucky I am, but this past year has reminded me, and I try to take nothing for granted. I’m very sorry you won’t be seeing your daughter and her family, but I’m happy to know they are safe and well. Hopefully next year will bring more joy for us all. Hugs, my friend.


  4. Thank you for mentioning it, Jill! Oh yes, thats a very sad situation for the people in the UK, and i am also sure the new version has spread all over Europe. Here today it was said this version is known since September, and its a part of the reality viruses are building mutants. Lets hope the new vaccines – at least one of them – will help fighting against the new strain too. Best wishes, Michael.

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  5. We had recent confirmation that the new strain of the virus was found in a traveller from the UK returning home. Fortunately he/she was already in hotel quarantine in Sydney, and it hasn’t escaped into the population. A strain of the virus that is more contagious is a frightening thought.
    The situation in the UK is dire, and seems to be made worse by incompetent leadership.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Well, I’m happy he/she was in quarantine already, but I fear that in a week or two we will find that the new strain has seeped into most, if not every, country. I’ve heard many people say that they were thankful that at least this wasn’t as bad as the 1918 pandemic, but I think the virus and its relatives aren’t done with us yet, and we may well end up with just as much loss of life. Amazing how our petty problems fade into oblivioun relative to this, isn’t it? Hugs, my friend!


  6. It’s not all bad news across the pond. Both my sisters are delighted that lockdown means they don’t have to spend Christmas with their respective in-laws. They’re probably not the only ones…..

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  7. Thank you for your kind words of support. As you know, I am no fan of our government, and their ineptitude and vacillation throughout the pandemic. But my frustration goes into overdrive with their pig-headed refusal to seek an extension of the negotiations with the EU over the terms of our departure. If they were ever possessed of any common sense it has been stamped on hard by their rigid dogmatism, which is making a bad situation even worse. Surely it would be better to manage one problem at a time? It’s almost as if they have always wanted a ‘no deal’ outcome…

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    • Both of our governments have dropped the ball on this pandemic. Granted, there were no easy answers and this was uncharted territory, but neither Boris nor Donnie listened to the experts and heeded their advice. If they had, how much different might things be today? I agree with you … the sensible thing would be a postponement of the Brexit negotiations until the pandemic is under control, and I’ve wondered, too, if perhaps a ‘no-deal’ Brexit was the goal, though I cannot see any advantage for anyone … not the people of the UK, nor the EU. Sigh. Keep safe and well, my friend. I have no words of wisdom, but know that I care.

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  8. We have experienced that same situation twice when we went visiting /coming back our friends in UK /returning to France. The backups began already 20 miles earlier on the motorways, where we were stuck for 5hours and of course missed our reservated slot to cross the channel….. but worse was having to witness the masses of desperate people on the Calais side (France) trying by all means to catch a place on a lorry going to England as for those poor souls ‘England’ was the Holy Grail, with possibilities of work, a way to make a living….. which was not true, neither then nor now. We couldn’t visit any more since June 2019 and our hearts are bleeding in frustration for our friends and dearly beloved ones. It’s NOT their fault and yet they suffer the consequences. We have friends dying without having seen us one last time, another one just got ‘’lost’ and we might never know or learn what happened. old age? Suicide? Jumping in frustration in the cold sea and drowning? I just wrote a card to people living in the same building of that manor house, but I don’t know if we will get a reply – ever.

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  9. Food and supplies that are transported in containers, which represents about 70 percent, are continuing. It’s only trucks with drivers that are stuck due to the closure of the ferry ports and tunnel.
    Within the UK the lockdown only applied to London and the South East. Admittedly that’s around 30 million souls.
    And many countries have banned travel from the UK. Thank you for your concern.

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    • I am so glad to know that most food is getting through. I’m confused about the lockdown, though, for I have friends in Wales who tell me they are under a complete lockdown and will only be allowed to visit family on Christmas Day … if then. At any rate, please take care, Frank, and know that I and many others on this side of the pond care a great about your situation very much.

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