A new year is upon us which is fortunate because we were pretty much finished with the old one. It would have been slightly embarrassing if we had been sitting about on December 31st as the clock hit midnight and a new year hadn't turned up. We would have had to pull 2020 out of the bin and run it past its use by date. Judging by 2021 so far we may indeed have done that.
This blog took a brief sabbatical over the holiday period. It wasn't deliberate, I'm just lazy. While I idled and spent a little time in the bosom of my family (it was great guys, we should do it again next year) Britain left the EU but coronavirus didn't take the hint and has stubbornly hung around. Sudden outbreaks in my home state put the kybosh on New Years celebrations and allowed the Victorian government (with more than a hint of schadenfreude) to lock down our mutual border from the other end. So far our state leadership has stubbornly refused to make face masks mandatory and is relying on really, really strong recommendations that everyone wear them. I've taken to wearing a mask at all times myself. That's nothing to do with coronavirus, my puffin insists.
Still there is light at the end of the tunnel. The race to produce a vaccine is gathering pace with the Pfizer vaccine entering the last stage of human testing (its being distributed in Great Britain). If there are no unfortunate side effects it may not be too long before it becomes available elsewhere. COVID-19 faced up to this challenge with the cheerful enthusiasm that we have come to expect from this most gregarious and flexible of viruses. It has started throwing up new, even more contagious variants of itself even faster than we can develop vaccines. This isn't surprising really as COVID-19 doesn't need to undergo all of the safety testing we insist on before unleashing a vaccine, even in Britain.
On more important topics the next cricket test in Sydney is apparently still going ahead despite the miasma of disease hanging over the state. When I say "the state" I mean of course Sydney. Very little of the rest of the state seems to be badly affected. To the best of my knowledge there have been no sudden outbreaks in Wilcannia or Ivanhoe (to pick two names I literally selected at random from the map). For most of the population of NSW, and virtually all its politicians, Sydney and NSW are pretty much interchangeable terms. Which is why that part of the population that doesn't live in Sydney sometimes gets annoyed with us. Fortunately there aren't many of them since most people live in Sydney. At least most of the people I know do.
Meanwhile I can't help noticing that the current outbreaks in Sydney seem to be creeping ever closer to the rather dilapidated block of flats where I spend most of my time. I have injected my puffin with a vaccine of my own devising and so far the side affects have been manageable. Anyway, I think bright green is a rather handsome colour for a puffin. He disagrees but is a little more concerned about his extra tentacle.