Herd immunity, sterilizing immunity, and the current best guesses

Britain is now the proud operator of several mass vaccination centers, with more promised shortly, and general practitioners are scheduling their oldest patients for vaccination. But that doesn’t mean we’re out of trouble. The number of hospital cases is still rising and there’s talk of the current lockdown not being tight enough.

And we just approved a third vaccine, Moderna’s. Not long ago, Boris Johnson was crowing at Scotland (which on average isn’t happy about having left the European Union) that if they’d stayed in the EU they wouldn’t have gotten vaccines so quickly. So it’s a nice little piece of irony to read that, approved or not, we won’t get or hands on this third vaccine until April because we’ve left the European Union.

I know I shouldn’t think that’s funny, but I can’t help myself.

 

Irrelevant photo: heather

Are we close to herd immunity?

The latest statistical modeling says one in five people in England may have already had Covid. How did they come up with that number? Since the official statistics inevitably underestimate the number of infections (a big chunk of people don’t get sick but carry the disease without knowing it or showing up in the statistics) and since the track and trace system is widely recognized as being roughly as useless as it is expensive, they get their statistics by comparing the number of deaths in an area to the estimated infection rate, putting them in a blender with a few other number and a dash of cinnamon, then baking at 160 C. for fifty minutes. 

In some areas, they estimate that one person in two has had the disease. The number of infected people may be up to five times higher than the number on the test and trace books.

Is that herd immunity? 

Nope. Exactly how many people would have to have had the bug to create herd immunity is still unknown, but a computational biologist estimates that 70% of the population will need to be vaccinated to stop the pandemic in the US. But that only applies to the US; it’s not a fixed number. People behave differently in different places, which upsets the numbers–they’re touchy little beasts–so they arrange themselves into different patterns. 

The number also depends on how long immunity lasts–no one knows yet–and on whether the vaccine turns out to keep people from passing on the infection. 

Most of our commonly used vaccines prevent severe illness but don’t give us what’s called sterilizing immunity. In other words, they keep us from getting sick–or at least from getting very sick–but they don’t kill off every bit of the disease that’s running around inside us. 

On the positive side, having less of the disease circulating inside our complicated little innards may (notice how much wiggle room I’ve left myself there) mean we pass on a milder form of the disease if we do give it to someone else.

An experiment with a chicken virus and a flock that was half vaccinated found that the unvaccinated birds came down with a milder disease than if the whole flock had been left unvaccinated. So even if the current vaccines don’t give us sterilizing immunity, Covid may yet follow that pattern and become milder once a significant portion of our flock has been vaccinated.

May. No one’s offering us a guarantee.

And no, none of the vaccines currently in use will cause us to grow feathers.

 

Transmission and hospitalization

In Britain, the current crop of hospitalized Covid patients are younger than they were during the first peak of the virus. People under 65 now make up 39% of hospital admissions. In March that was 36%. It’s not a huge change, but it is a change, and it’s worth noticing. 

The best guess is that the over 65s are more likely to be out of circulation. We left the party early and are tucked up in our little beds just now. That makes us less likely to become infected and less likely to show up in either the hospital or the statistics. But so much emphasis has been put on the elderly being vulnerable that we tend to think the non-elderly are made of steel.

They’re not. They can get very sick from this thing. In particular, pregnant women seem to be more vulnerable than non-pregnant women (or non-pregnant men, for that matter) in their age groups. 

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Half of all Covid transmissions come from people with no symptoms, including from people who never do develop symptoms. 

What does that mean in practice? That every one of us needs to act as if we could be carrying it. And that we need to look at our friends and family and neighbors as if they could be carrying it. That we need to look at other human beings and think, Oooh, yuck, germs! 

That’s not, I admit, a policy recommendation. It’s not even a real recommendation. It’s just an observation on how much it goes against the grain to live this way.

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A study reports that Covid can still be transmitted after seven days. Or after ten days. After ten days, 76% of the people tested still had detectable levels and 86% did after seven. 

So recommending a shorter period of isolation is a gamble. On the one hand, the theory goes that people are more likely to actually isolate themselves if you demand a shorter time. On the other hand, they can still be shedding the virus at the end of it.

The problem is not only that some people are jerks and don’t put the safety of others first. The larger problem is that a lot of people can’t afford to miss a day’s work–they’re living on the edge as it is. So when mass testing’s offered, they don’t show up because they can’t afford to be told to stay home. If they do end up getting tested and are positive, they stagger to work for as long as they can anyway. Because the hounds of hell are nipping at their heels. 

Already 70,000 households have become homeless during the pandemic and some 200,000 are teetering on the edge. There’s money available to people who have to self-isolate, but not to everyone and it’s not enough to cover the bills anyway. 

And if that doesn’t hold your attention, some people are still being told they’ll be fired if they don’t come to work.

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On a happier note, my partner’s been scheduled for her first vaccination. If all goes well (stop laughing–it could) I should be in line in mid-February. 

Brexit, paperwork, and bad metaphors

What’s been happening in the US these days makes Britain look like an island of sanity. Yes, we’re led by a buffoon who can’t remember from one minute to the next which direction he’s leading us in, only that he wants to lead, but at least he’s not inciting armed mobs to storm Parliament.

Admittedly, Boris Johnson did–with only a bit of exaggeration on my part–invite a virus in to storm the population, but the times we’re living through set a low bar for political wisdom. The last time I looked the bar was underground and you could shuffle across it without having to lift your feet out of the dead leaves. So yes, he lost control of a pandemic through stupidity and for political gain–not to mention financial gain, although I have no evidence that he’s personally one of the beneficiaries. But hey, look, no armed mobs inside Parliament! 

So yeah, we’re doing fine. Let’s check in on Brexit, shall we?

 

Irrelevant photo: a daffodil after the rain. It has been raining a lot, and the first daffodils really are coming out, but I stole this from an earlier year.

Brexit

Brexiteer Bill Cash (he’s a Conservative and a Member of Parliament, known as Sir Bill to his nearest and dearest) compared Brexit to the end of the Stuart dynasty. 

How’d the Stuart dynasty end? Not well if you were a Stuart. Well enough if you weren’t either a Stuart or Catholic. We could call the transition either a coup or an invasion, depending on our mood. Since I haven’t decided what mood we’re in, we’ll leave both possibilities on the coffee table.

The last Stuart king was (gasp!) Catholic. That upset enough powerful people, but then he had the temerity to have a son, who even before he was out of diapers was clearly a Catholic-in-training. In fact, he’d barely had time to get into diapers before England’s Protestant elite invited William of Orange (whose wife, Mary, was the king’s Protestant daughter) to invade. Which he did, and James looked at the cards he was holding and–probably wisely–fled.

But having been invited to the card party, Will and Mary found that the hosts got to decide how the game was going to be played. And that, kiddies, is called the Glorious Revolution, because the hosts limited the monarchy’s power, handing it to Parliament. 

It’s also called that because the winning side went on to write the schoolbooks. 

Is Brexit the Glorious Revolution all over again? Only if the Brexiteers get a free hand in writing the schoolbooks. 

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But we’re not far enough away yet to worry about schoolbooks. We’re worried about the country getting slapped in the face with the dead fish of a half-thought-through border arrangement between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

That’s a horrible, half-thought-through metaphor. Sorry. If it hadn’t made me laugh–and if it didn’t have some truth to it–I’d replace it with something marginally more sensible.

What I’m talking about is that during the endless Brexit negotiations, relatively sane politicians were afraid of restarting the Troubles in Northern Ireland, so Boris Johnson was under a lot of pressure not to mess up the Good Friday Agreement which (a) ended them and (b) established an  invisible border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. It let goods and people flow between the two without so much as a wave or a wink from an official. 

The problem was how to keep that when the rest of Britain separated from the E.U. and the laws and regulations go out of synch, making barriers and inspections and paperwork necessary. The negotiators never found more than two possibilities: Either you have a visible, functioning border dividing the two parts of Ireland or you have one between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain. Britain didn’t like either solution, and the problem stumped savvier politicians than Johnson, including Theresa May. 

I never expected to say anything good about May, but there you go, I just did: She had the smarts to know it was a problem. Johnson just signed an agreement putting the border between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain, lied about it, and figured something would come along to save his hash. Paperwork? he said. There won’t be any paperwork. It’ll all be seamless.

It’s not, and the transition has found any number of companies in Britain waking up to discover that they need all the paperwork Johnson told them they wouldn’t. Trucks are getting stuck at what’s now an internal border somewhere in the middle of the Irish Sea. We’re hearing tales about British companies that no longer deliver to Northern Ireland, although I have no idea if we’re talking about two companies or several thousand.

Presumably that will settle down once companies figure out the paperwork, but the long-term effect on Northern Ireland and its union with Britain should be, um, interesting.

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An online group that campaigned for Brexit, Leave.eu, has found that an unexpected result of winning the Brexit battle is that it had to choose between keeping its domain name and leaving Britain for the EU, because .eu domains are limited to, you know, the EU. 

So the group re-registered itself in Ireland, using the contact details for businessman Sean Power, who when a newspaper contacted him about it seemed surprised said he had no links to the group.

 

And in other news

A new study says that if the world can stabilize carbon emissions at net zero, the planet’s climate could also stabilize within a couple of decades. The belief had been that the world would tip into runaway heating, but if the new model’s correct we have some hope.

We do need some hope. 

Net zero? It’s sort of like when you run water into the bathtub and the phone rings and it’s only going to be a minute so you don’t turn it off but you do go in the other room so you can hear yourself think but you lose track of things and by the time you come back the water’s up to the rim. If you’re going to put yourself in there (and what’s the point of all that water if you’re not), you have to take some water out. That’s net zero. You have to balance the amount of carbon you dump into the atmosphere with the amount  you take out. Otherwise the floor gets wet.

Over a hundred countries have pledged to reach net zero by 2050. 

Do they mean it? I wish I knew, but more and more businesses and people with money and power are starting to notice that an overheated planet looks promises to be expensive, so maybe they’ll do more than mouth good words. Watch this space.

This space being not my blog but our planet. It’s the only one we’ve got. Even if you lose the URL, it’ll be easy to find.

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A study in JAMA Internal Medicine tells us that even rich Americans have worse health than people in twelve other industrialized countries. They’re more likely to die from a heart attack or cancer, or during childbirth. They’re more likely to have an infant die. The only area where the U.S. did better is in treating breast cancer.

That’s comparing rich, white, non-average Americans to average other-industrialized-country people. In other words, comparing people who get far better care than their average and below-average fellow citizens to an average of citizens in countries with less fragmented health systems. 

The comparison countries were Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. 

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Experts have found a correlation between traffic accidents in Asia and major football games in Europe. 

Let’s tackle the important questions first: Experts in what? In intercontinental football/traffic accident correlations, of course. 

Honestly. I have to explain everything.

That leaves us with the question of why there should be a correlation, and the answer may have to do with time zones. More people watch football–by which, if you’re American, you have to understand that we mean soccer–than any other sport, but the highest profile games are played in Europe. And they’re popular enough that people stay up to watch them. If a game starts at 8 pm somewhere in Europe, people in various parts of Asia may have to stay up till 4:30 to see the end. Or 5:30. And you know how it is: Once they see the beginning they have to stay up for the end. Then they spend the day sleep deprived. And since we live in a car-based, not-net-zero world, they get behind the wheel and end up in a ditch.

The researchers estimate–and it is only an estimate–that football games might be responsible for Singapore cab drivers having 371 accidents a year. 

Aren’t you glad you learned that today?

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An HG Wells memorial coin issued by Royal Mint uses images from “The War of the Worlds,” including a tripod with four legs. 

Tri,” a Wells biographer wrote. “The clue is in the name. . . . [But] at least the clock numbers round the edge don’t go up to 13.”

The Covid medical news roundup

First, a fragment of good news, since we’re all in need of one: The Pfizer vaccine has been declared safe for people with food and medication allergies. It’s only a hazard to people who are allergic to components of the vaccine itself–polyethylene glycol and polysorbate

People who have a history of anaphylaxis to an injectable drug or vaccine made with either of those, along with anyone who can pronounce the key words I’ve used so far, should talk to their allergists before getting a vaccination. Everyone else can relax. But people will still be monitored for fifteen minutes or so after they get vaccinated–just in case. So you can relax twice over.

Vaccines cause allergies in roughly 1.3 people out of a million, and the rate’s about the same for the Pfizer vaccine. 

Irrelevant photo: Snow on a camellia bud last February–or possibly the one before–when we had two or three inches. To celebrate, half of Cornwall jumped in their cars and ran off the road.

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Turkey reports that a vaccine developed by the Chinese firm Sinovac is 91.25% effective. 

Why is Turkey reporting on a Chinese vaccine? Because it was tested there. You have to test vaccines where the virus is plentiful and happy to infect people, and it’s not happy in China just now. 

Turkey’s signed a deal to buy 50 million doses.

 

Covid and the brain

Enough good news. It’ll only go to your head. 

Around the world, a handful of wild-ass psychiatric problems are turning up in post-Covid patients who have no history of mental illness. The numbers are small, but the problems aren’t and they can show up after weeks and even months in people who had only mild Covid symptoms.

The patients described in a New York Times article range from their thirties into their fifties–ages when people shouldn’t start having hallucinations, becoming paranoid, or, as an expert might put it, nutting out in these particular ways. And some of them had enough of a grasp on reality to know that something was wrong, which people with this kind of psychotic symptom usually don’t.

The best guess at the moment is that this is somehow linked to the body’s immune response to the virus–maybe to inflammation and maybe to vascular problems. There are records of psychosis and mania after the 1918 flu epidemic and after the SARS and MERS outbreaks. 

One psychiatrist, Dr. Hisam Goueli, said,  “We don’t know what the natural course of this is. Does this eventually go away? Do people get better? How long does that normally take? And are you then more prone to have other psychiatric issues as a result? There are just so many unanswered questions.”

I keep saying this, but younger people aren’t immune to Covid. They’re statistically less likely to have problems if they catch it, but that’s not the same as being immune. The problems it can cause are fucking terrifying. 

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The National Institutes of Health–they’re in the U.S., and I have yet to figure out why they’re plural–are seeing damage caused by thinning and leaky brain blood vessels in tissue samples from people who died shortly after contracting Covid. But they found no signs that Covid itself had invaded the brain, although earlier research did find small amounts of Covid in brain samples. 

The NIH findings may be caused by the body using inflammation to respond to the virus. And no, I don’t know what it means either. Eventually, I trust, someone will. In the meantime, it’s just one more piece of this giant jigsaw puzzle that’s all over the living room floor. If the cat would stop hiding pieces under the chair, we might complete it some day.

 

Controlling the spread–or not

A study of the effectiveness of measures to control Covid reports that you can’t drive the growth of the virus to below zero without paying a high social cost. Limiting gatherings, canceling public events, and suggesting that people stay at home? Nope, that won’t do it. You have to close schools, order people to stay at home, and close workplaces either fully or partially.

The British government will do most, and maybe all, of that eventually, but it wants to wait until the virus has a head start. That’s only sporting.

In fact, after Boris Johnson waffled over whether to reopen the schools on schedule and at the latest possible moment announced that he would, he now says there’s “no question” we’ll have to take tougher measures. But only in “due course.” 

On Sunday, Britain had more than 50,000 confirmed new cases for the sixth day running. But no, we’re not going to rush into this. 

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A Barcelona experiment held an indoor concert, complete with masks, dancing, and rapid Covid tests, to see if an event could be held safely in this pandemic age. Half the people who tried to go were tested and sent home to be a control group and half were tested and allowed in if they were negative. 

Preliminary reports are that eight days later no one in the group that attended had Covid and two people in the group that was sent home did. 

What does it all mean? I’m not sure. A photo from the concert shows dancers wearing masks but they weren’t all wearing them in the right places, so whether this speaks to the effectiveness of the testing, the inability to adult humans to identify the parts of their faces involved in breathing, or pure dumb luck I don’t know. 

 

The great vaccine rollout

Now that Britain has two vaccines going, how long will it take to get everyone vaccinated? 

A while. In the first three weeks, three-quarters of a million people were vaccinated, so (even I can work this out) that’s a quarter of a million people per week. At that rate, it’ll be the end of 2021 before the vaccine reaches everyone in the official list of vulnerable people (anyone over 50 plus a narrow definition of front-line workers and people with underlying medical conditions). Someone else worked that out, so you can probably trust it. 

The health secretary is aiming for 2 million people a week. And I’m still hoping to be a full 6 feet tall, but at 73 I suspect I’ve stopped growing. 

And that’s just the first shot. For the followup, we’re counting on King Arthur to rise from–remind me, where’s he supposed to return from when his country needs him? Avalon? Anyway, he’s traded his now rusty sword for a rust-proof needle and will be helping out with the vaccination effort as soon as he finishes the required online module in identifying and countering radicalization and gets his certificate. 

And the good news is . . . 

. . . that astronomers in Australia have found a radio wave that (important missing word: apparently) comes from a nearby star. It was picked up for thirty hours during April and May of, um, 2019 I think. They’ve been analyzing it ever since and so far haven’t found anything earth-based that would account for it.

What’s more, It’s apparently shifted frequency in a way that’s consistent with the movement of a planet, and the star it seems to come from, Proxima Centauri, has a rocky planet in the habitable zone, where water doesn’t freeze permanently or sizzle itself into something not helpful to the creation of life.

No one’s ruling out some really boring explanation for the signal, but at the moment it’s called the Wow! Signal because an astronomer wrote “Wow!” in the margin next to the data. 

Why is this good news and what’s it got to do with Covid? You know the concept of deus ex machina? That’s when a writer traps her- or himself in a corner and can’t resolve the plot problem in an even vaguely credible way, so–let’s shift to the plural; it’s not as clunky–they bring in some unexpected power or event to save the day, the play, and the paycheck. 

Well, I try to include something hopeful in these posts, but my shipment of hopeful material got stuck at the Brexit border with the wrong paperwork and will be delayed for several days. Or months. So this is a deus ex machina ending. These folks, whoever they are, are radioing us instructions that, as soon as we translate them, will save us from our silly selves.

And if you believe that, I heard about a bridge in Brooklyn that’s going at a knockdown price.

Deus ex machina literally means “god from the machine” and it comes from ancient Greek drama (even though the words are Latin; don’t ask). They’d use a crane to lower a god onto the stage at the end of the play and nothing would have to make sense after that. If god said the undeserving character got the full bowl of Cheerios, the deserving one got yesterday’s cold toast, and the important Greek phrase got to be in Latin, who could argue? 

The great Brexit cut-and-paste job

Parts of the Brexit deal have been so deeply thought out that they cover technology no one uses anymore.  On page 921 (of course you’ll want to look it up) it talks about “modern e-mail software packages” like Netscape Communicator. Netscape went belly up in 2003, leaving its Communicator in the back of the refrigerator. It’s grown an enthusiastic covering of green mold in the intervening years.

Another section of the agreement recommends encryption systems that are older than I am and even more open to cyber attacks.

Educated guesses attribute it to negotiators using the cut and paste feature when they ran short of time.

I feel better now about not having absorbed the contents of the deal.

And now that I’ve justified my headline, on to other news.

 

Irrelevant photo: This is a very strange geranium that only flowers after three years. Then it spreads seeds all over the place and you wonder if growing it was a good idea. 

Other news from Britain

London has drafted in its police horses to help create a wildflower garden. Not for their manure, but to trample in last autumn’s seeds. The horses walk around the garden for half an hour a day and their riders get to write it up as community engagement.

Grazing animals—not just horses but sheep and goats—create dips and furrows in the ground as they walk around, pushing seeds into the soil and creating microhabitats, which seems to be an impressive word for a hoofprint.

London’s short on sheep and goats, but it does have horses.

Every article on this that I found used “Call the cavalry!” in its headline, right down to the exclamation point. I expect they’re all dutifully reprinting someone’s press release. Not me. I don’t reprint press releases. I steal my news second hand, with pride.

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Nottingham knows how to honor its heroes.

Most years, Nottingham tram drivers get a £25 voucher as a Christmas bonus. This year, since the drivers worked throughout the pandemic in direct contact with an infectious public, what did Nottingham Express Transit do? It gave them a voucher for a free baked potato or a roll from a food van that parks outside the depot. 

It had already thanked the staff, it explained, and anything more would be inappropriate. Those thank yous don’t come cheap, you know.

 

News from the U.S.

Something called the Air Company has figured out how to make vodka from carbon dioxide and water. That means each bottle takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and puts it first into the bottle and second into your very own self. This in turn means that if you dedicate yourself to it you can drink us all out of global warming by drinking 11 quadrillion martinis.

By way of full disclosure, 11 quadrillion martinis would make “a significant impact” on global warming but it’s not a complete solution. On the other hand, you won’t be in any shape to notice fine distinctions at that point, so let’s not worry about it.

So far, the Air Company’s capturing carbon dioxide from standard fuel alcohol fermentation, but it has its eye on power stations. Capture carbon dioxide there and you’ve got yourself a good headstart on those martinis.

It also has its eye on creating alcohol products other than vodka: ethanol, methanol, and propanol. From there (apparently—it’s not like I know anything about this) you can get to plastics, resins, fragrances, cleaners, sanitizers, and bio jet fuel.

They’re based in Brooklyn, which is not in Britain, but we all know I cheat. If I wedge one or two items about Britain into these roundups, I’ll call that good enough and hit Post.

News from other places

In November, a metal monolith was found in the Utah desert. Then a metal monolith disappeared from the Utah desert. Then a metal monolith appeared in Romania and a metal monolith disappeared from Romania..

Then some wiseacre pointed out that these weren’t monoliths, since they had several pieces and the root of monolith is mono, meaning one, but no one paid attention, so when a mysterious metal object appeared in Southern California, headline writers were still calling it a monolith. It sounds better than metal object or thing.

And again, when one appeared on the Isle of Wight, it was still being called a monolith, and ditto the ones in Belgium, Spain, Colombia, and Germany, along with a second one in Britain, on the new-agey Glastonbury Tor. 

It said, “Not Banksy.” Not literally. Someone had written that on it. Monoliths don’t speak. Even the ones made of many parts–you know, the multiliths.

Around Christmas, a gingerbread monolith appeared in a San Francisco park, and considering that it’s made of gingerbread, it’s huge–7 feet tall, held together with icing, and decorated with gumdrops. 

The park board has said it will stay up “until the cookie crumbles.” Which it did a few days later. 

What’s being called an anonymous collective called The Most Famous Artist claimed credit for the Utah and California metal monoliths. That doesn’t include the gingerbread one. 

The does it mean to be an anonymous collective? It has a name, it’s been made public, and  as a general rule having your name known conflicts with being anonymous. 

Or so I thought, but what do I know? I’m just some old bat sitting on her couch and typing.

Go to the collective’s anonymous website (it’s on the anonymous branch of the internet) and you’ll find pictures of people, which is also a bad idea if you’re anonymous. And a name, Matty Mo, who’s “building a community and working with brands.” Not to mention selling his work. 

Whether there really is a collective, or a community, is anyone’s guess, but either he or the collective is or are also selling replicas of the monolith for $45,000. Or at least offering them for sale. I can’t swear that anyone’s buying.

A British paper asked Matty Mo (assuming it was him) about the Isle of Wight monolith and he said, “The monolith is out of my control at this point. Godspeed to all the aliens working hard around the globe to propagate the myth.” 

What people really want to know about Britain, part twenty-something

What search engine questions has Lord Google sent my way lately? Why, how convenient that you should ask. We have, right here before us, the best of them, along with my answers, since I can explain everything.

That’s not to say I can explain it all correctly, but an explanation’s an explanation, as any politician who’s faced an interviewer can tell you. And everything is everything. And circular answers are useful, as Theresa May discovered when she so helpfully explained, as prime minister, that Brexit means Brexit.

It meant nothing and explained nothing, but we can all admit it was an answer.

No egos were bruised–I hope–in the making of this post. Let’s not kid ourselves that the people who drifted here in the wake of these questions fell in love with Notes and stuck around. They came, they saw, they drifted on, and they washed up on some other internet shore.

 

Irrelevant photo: A flower. One I don’t know the name of.

British History

who is berwick at war with

It’s at war with rumor and commonly held belief, which formed an  alliance years ago, leaving  poor old Berwick fighting on two poorly defined fronts. 

Or maybe I have that back to front and rumor and commonly held belief are Berwick’s allies. That would mean reality’s the enemy. It’s hard to tell in this post-truth era.

Either way, Berwick isn’t (at least in the reality I inhabit) at war with anyone, but judging from the flow of search engine questions about who it is at war with, we’ll never convince the world of that. 

why couldnt the normans hunt in the forest

They could. 

But of course it’s not that simple.

After the Normans invaded England, they seized about a third of the country, announced that it was theirs, and restricted hunting on it. Poaching (which is hunting where you’re not supposed to–in other words, on someone else’s land) became, for a long time, the kind of crime that could get you mutilated or killed. Since it was overwhelmingly the Normans and their descendants who owned the land or could pay for the privilege of hunting on it, let’s keep things simple and say that the Normans could hunt in the forest.

list the efects of the enclosure movement 

I got two copies of this question. I didn’t notice whether they both had the same typo, but my best guess is that someone was doing their homework on the enclosure movement. Sorry, kid, go write your own paper. It’s a complicated process, but basically you find a source of information, you make a few notes, you–

No, I shouldn’t take anything for granted. You find that source of information–preferably a reliable one, because there’s a lot of nut stuff out there. Then you read it. All by yourself. And you write down a few things that belong on the list you were asked to create. 

See? That wasn’t too hard, was it?

I despair.

why is england called britain

For the same reason that a salad is called lettuce, even if it has tomatoes, red cabbage, and one lonely black olive. In other words, because people focus on one of the ingredients and snub the others. 

Olives have feelings too, you know.

In fairness, England has always been the dominant bit of the salad–and that might [sorry, we’re stepping outside of the metaphor for a second here] come back to bite it soon. Scotland shows all the signs of feeling like an olive lately. Which would make Wales and Northern Ireland the tomato and red cabbage, and I understand that I haven’t given them their due in my answer. That’s an ongoing historical problem with the British salad. I also understand that the metaphor’s breaking down and that it’s time for me to get out while I can.

why was suffragists not a turning point in the ‘votes for women’ campaign.

Who says it weren’t?

 

So what’s Britain really like?

has england incorporated the metric system

You had to ask, didn’t you? If the whole let’s-not-go-metric campaign starts up again, I’ll know who to  blame. But yes, it has, mostly. With some exceptions, the most noticeable of which involve highway miles and the pint glasses used in pubs.

pre metric measurements

Pre-metric measurements are the bests argument for no country ever abandoning the metric system. 

informal judge wig

When my partner and I went to court to convince the British government not to toss us out of the country, we were told that the hearing was informal. The definition of informal–or at least the part of it that I understood–was that the judge didn’t wear a wig.

Hope that helps.

why did they used to make a guy at guyfawkes and sit in the street

To get money for fireworks.

I know, that only makes sense if you already understand the answer, so I’ll explain. Guy Fawkes and some friends tried to blow up Parliament. It was over religious issues, which were also political issues, and it must’ve seemed like a good idea at the time. They got caught before anything went ka-blooey, and every year on November 5 the country marks the occasion with bonfires and by burning a pretend version of Guy, now demoted to simply “the guy”–an effigy, sometimes of a very generic human being and sometimes an elaborate one of whatever political figure seems to need burning in effigy at the moment.  

Back in the day, kids hung out on the streets and asked passers-by to give them a penny for the guy. Then–or so my friend tells me–they’d buy fireworks with however much they had.

Parliament also marks the occasion by a thorough and ceremonious search of the cellars where Guy and his fireworks were hiding. Even though the cellars don’t exist anymore. Because it’s not right to let reality get in the way of a good tradition. 

 

Food and drink

what they call a can of beer in england

An American import? I don’t think they sell much canned beer here. It’s bottled or it’s on tap. I trust someone will correct me if I’m wrong here.

But where auxiliary verb go?

why do we eat red cabbage at xmas

Oooh, do we? I thought we (a category that excludes me, but never mind that) ate brussels sprouts at Christmas. 

when did brussel sprouts first come to the uk

Before the Home Office was created. The Home Office’s task is to defend Britain’s borders and deport people who (oops) often have every right to remain, destroying both their lives and Britain’s reputation. The Home Office would’ve taken one look at sprouts and sent back to their point of origin as undesirables. And what tradition would we be baffled by if we didn’t have them?

what do britiah call brownies

Brownies.

What do Britiah call themselves?

British.

What do Britiah call definite article?

Missing.

pandemic takeaway food success stories

for the most part, and we should grab our success stories where we can. I expect there are some of these, but I can’t say I know any. 

Stick with me, kids. I know how to do depressing. 

 

Inexplicable questions

however, _______________, i am going to spend most of the time today talking about why britain _____

I spent a fair bit of time filling in the blanks, convinced I could do something wondrous with this. I didn’t manage to make myself smile, never mind laugh. Gold stars to whoever can.

I have no idea why anyone would type this into a search engine, but if you’ve got nothing better to do I guess it would be interesting.

How to eliminate Covid, and other pandemic news

 

Academics at the University of Otago studied New Zealand’s experience with Covid and say that the virus can be eliminated, not just contained. 

The emergence of an apparently more infectious virus variant is just another reason to eliminate this infection,” they said

Actually only one of them said it, but let’s pretend, for the sake of simplicity, that they spoke in unison. They do stuff like that in New Zealand. 

What you need if you’re going to eliminate the virus, they said, is informed input from scientists, political commitment, sufficient public health infrastructure, public engagement and trust, and a safety net to support vulnerable populations. 

Those will be easier to cobble together in some countries than in others. That’s me speaking in unison and not mentioning any countries by name. To protect the guilty. 

Irrelevant photo: Crocuses. They’ll be coming up soon, and they’re not afraid of the corona virus.

One of the barriers to eliminating the virus is the belief that hard measures will hurt the economy more than half measures, causing greater hardship, which (as advocates of half-measures reminded us at the start of this mess) has its own health impacts.

“Our preliminary analysis suggests that the opposite is true,” the academics said. “Countries following an elimination strategy—notably China, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand—have suffered less economically than countries with suppression goals.”

The introduction of vaccines should make elimination easier.

 

Antibody therapy

Scientists are testing an antibody therapy that could prevent someone who’s been exposed to Covid from going on to develop it. It could, at least initially, contain outbreaks–in nursing homes, hospitals, or universities, say–or protect people in households where one person is known to be infected. They’re also investigating the possibility that it could protect people with compromised immune systems. 

If all goes well–please notice the if in that sentence–it could be available in March or April.

The Pfizer and Oxford vaccines don’t confer immunity for about a month after injection. With this, the immunity would be immediate.

It goes by the snappy name of AZD7442. 

 

Mass testing evaluated

Britain tried a mass testing program in Liverpool, using rapid-result Covid tests, and managed to miss over half the cases. 

So was it worth doing?

A study went through the data and came back with a definitive maybe. In this corner, wearing the electric pink tee shirt that says No, is the danger presented by false negatives. People who test negative but in reality carry the virus may be prone to riskier behavior than people who haven’t been given any reassurance. They think they present no threat, so they may spread the disease more.

And in this other corner, wearing the soothing green tee shirt that says Yes, is the benefit that comes with spotting Covid cases that would have been missed and taking those people out of circulation. Assuming, of course, that they actually do take themselves out of circulation, which most of them will. 

I think.

The Liverpool data hint that the test may spot people with the highest viral load–in other words, people who may be the most infectious–while missing those least likely to be infectious. But you might want to notice how many tentative words wiggled their way into that sentence. It hasn’t been established that a light viral load means you’re less infectious. 

People who are asymptomatic, by the way, can still have a high viral load, and an estimated 40% to 45% of cases are asymptomatic.

So is mass testing with rapid tests worth doing? It’s a matter of weighing the possible gain (spotting cases that would otherwise have been invisible) against the possible harm (giving false reassurance to people who are in fact carriers). And it depends on that unknown: how contagious people with low viral loads turn out to be.

Whatever it is you come here for–and that’s still a mystery to me–it’s not rock-solid certainty, is it?

 

The compassion report

With a show of compassion worthy of the current American and British governments, Colombia’s president announced that the country will refuse Covid vaccines to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan refugees. The only refugees who’ll have access to the vaccine are those with dual citizenship or official status. That’s less than half of them, and more are crossing the border daily.

The idea that no one will be safe until we all are is a hard one to get across. As will that business the academics from Otago mentioned–political commitment. 

*

A bookstore in Trieste asked for volunteers to call people trapped at home by the virus and spend twenty minutes at a time reading to them over the phone and just generally chatting. They figured they’d be doing well if they found a few people to help out the three staff members who were already doing making calls during their breaks and on their days off.

They got 150 responses. Some were from Italians living abroad. Some came from a theater company that had itself been trapped by the pandemic–not at home but offstage. Some were I have no idea who–people who don’t fall into such neat categories. The plan was to have the calling run during Christmas, but with the response it’s gotten it now has no end date.

*

An Amsterdam museum that sold a Banksy work for £1.5 million so that it wouldn’t have to lay off staff had a bit of compassion and goodwill returned to it. The anonymous buyer emailed a few months later and offered to lend it to the museum for at least a year.

Brexit, Santa, and bad sex: it’s the news from Britain

As I write, Brexit talks are continuing. Competing headlines say that a deal is possible; that the European Union isn’t optimistic about reaching one; that a no-deal Brexit is likely, is very likely, is more than likely, is likelier than Santa Claus coming down Boris Johnson’s chimney; that even if Britain and the EU reach a deal there may not be time to approve it; and that the Scandinavian gods will descend from Mount Olympus (yes, the Greek gods did use to live there but they found it drafty and moved on. The Scandinavian gods, being from, you know, Scandinavia, think the weather’s great and following the example of the Czars use it as a winter palace.

That didn’t end well for the Czars, but you know what gods are like. They always know best. Won’t listen to anyone–

Where were we? That the Scandinavian gods will descend from Mount Olympus and whack a few heads, dictate a deal, and that’ll settle things. No one will be happy, but that’s the sign of a workable compromise.

Usually.

The Scandinavian gods scenario is generally considered the least likely, but just in case I’m making a list of heads I think would be worth whacking. In case anyone asks.

I don’t want to give you multiple links for all the various scenarios, especially since the last one’s embarrassingly hard to document, so we’ll settle for this one.  

We’ve had days of news stories about what’s going to happen to shipping and production and supply lines and prices. The government’s sunk lots of money into building black holes for trucks to wait in while their paperwork–and everyone else’s paperwork–gets sorted out. And ports are already backed up, for reasons I don’t really understand although as a rule bad political decisions are a fair bet. Empty containers are sitting where they full ones need to be. Ships are landing on the continent because they can’t land in Britain.

And this is all before Brexit hits.

As for us, we’ve stocked up on dog and cat food; on bread flour, sunflower seeds, and tea; on laundry soap; on a few other random items. We have no idea what’s about to happen or what we should have stocked up on instead. And really, we have only the vaguest idea what we need for life to be manageable. If we continue to have electricity and water, and I’m reasonably sure we will, we’ll eat something and we’ll wash. 

No, I’m not really expecting a complete breakdown. It’s just that I feel like minor-league maniac stocking up this way. Making jokes seems to counterbalance that.

Sleep well, Minnie. The dog food stash has been topped up.

If anyone tells you they do know what’s about to happen, they’re (a) kidding you, (b) kidding themselves, (c) pretending to govern the country.

*

Let’s change moods and countries.

A couple of guys moved into an apartment on New York’s 22nd Street and discovered that it came with  a seasonal delivery of letters to Santa Claus. They seemed like an annoyance at first, but after a while one of the men, Jim Glaub, got into the spirit. He picked a letter writer that he could be Santa to and found other people who’d do the same with others. 

The most moving ones were from kids whose parents were broke. One kid wanted a bed so he wouldn’t have to sleep on the couch. Another wanted a blanket “for my mom to sleep warm this winter and gloves for my dad to work.” Also shoes for her brother and some art supplies and glitter for herself.

I hope someone gave her lots of glitter.

At some point, mysteriously, what had been a few dozen letters became hundreds–more than an informal network could handle–and Glaub started a charity, along with a webpage to match kids to people able to give. 

No one’s been able to explain why the letters come to that particular apartment. In the early stages, when they were still an annoyance, the men talked to the post office.

“Can’t help you,” it said. 

Yes, at Christmas inanimate objects can talk. Surprisingly coherently, even if not helpfully.

*

Britain’s National Accounting Office reports that £50 billion pounds in cash is–

Um.

–well, it’s somewhere but they don’t know where. I guess you could say it’s missing, although no one expects to know where the nation’s cash is at any given moment, so missing isn’t quite the right word. Where it’s not, though, is in circulation.

This isn’t money that’s gone missing from the budget or that disappeared due to any sort of creative accounting. People are holding onto cash–a lot of it, as it happens. And this isn’t just happening in Britain. It’s happening in the U.S. and Europe as well. 

What does it all mean? It’s hard to say, but speculation tends to involve criminal activity. The three currencies all have high denomination bills (or notes if you speak British) that make it easy to smuggle–or even just carry–large amounts of untraceable cash. 

In case you need to know that at some point in your life, you heard it here first.

*

In deference to how bad 2020’s been already, the Literary Review canceled the contest it sponsors, the Bad Sex in Fiction awards. The judges felt “the public had been subjected to too many bad things this year to justify exposing it to bad sex as well.” But they warned the writing world not to take that as a “license to write bad sex.”

Not that the writing world needs a license.

I often argue with myself over which paper to link these snippets to. For this, though, the decision was simple: The Guardian’s article comes with a photo of the Reverend Richard Coles, in full reverent suit, reading at last year’s awards ceremony. Someone had fun picking that out of the archives.

Writers Who Bake: Ellen Hawley

Charlotte Hamrick, at Zouxzoux: Poetry, Prose, Photography, has added a series on writers who bake. And since this recipe’s mine, I’m just vain enough to reblog it.

The site’s well worth exploring.

Zouxzoux

Pretty Damn Good White Rolls

The rule of internet recipes is that you blither for 500 words before you get to the recipe. Also that you claim it makes the greatest whatever ever. This one doesn’t–someone somewhere has a better recipe using a trick I don’t know–but it will give you rolls with a damn good texture. The trick is to let the yeast get to work before you mix in the salt and to give it plenty of time.

Start the rolls several hours–or better yet the night before–you plan to make the dough.

White Rolls

500 grams bread flour *

2 tsp dry yeast

200 ml  water or sourdough starter

1½ tsp salt

Up to 500 ml water

* In American, 500 grams of flour is 3 cups plus 2 Tbsp, or so Lord Google tells me. I bake bilingually, but do not, under any circumstances, trust me…

View original post 840 more words

How to turn a Covid cluster into an outbreak

Until recently, the part of Britain I live in had very few Covid cases. Now we have a cluster of them. Isn’t progress wonderful? It’s not a huge cluster, but then no outbreak starts out huge. It scares the antibodies out of me.

So how’s it being handled?

The nearby secondary school sent one whole year group home when I’m not sure how many kids tested positive. Following government guidelines, they treat each year group as a bubble, having them enter through different doors and eat at different times and keeping them as physically separate as possible. The theory is that if the outbreak’s in one year group, the others should be safe.

You can believe that if you like.

And after school, as my neighbor reminds me, they go home. Her kids are in different bubbles in school–a primary school, but the reality’s the same. The minute they get home, they jump on each other, wrestle their way across the living room floor, and hold a germ exchange.

Only she didn’t call it the living room. That’s American. She also didn’t say anything about a germ exchange.

Irrelevant photo: St. John’s wort, getting ready to bloom, but not at this time of year. 

The point, though, is that the bubbles leak–probably at school and definitely at home. And bubbles that leak aren’t bubbles. They’re something else. Cups, maybe. Things with sides and a bottom but no top because that’s how you pour the tea into yourself. 

Or not the tea, the germs.

When the school didn’t have enough teachers to keep going, it sent everybody home to keep up with their lessons online. At least, those who have internet access. 

Don’t get me started. You know what I’ll say.

Some of the kids were told to self-isolate–probably the ones who’d shared a leaky bubble with someone who was known to have the virus. Their families, though, were told they didn’t have to to self-isolate unless their kid became symptomatic. 

How are kids who share a bedroom supposed to self-isolate? Well, you take masking tape and make a line down the middle of the room, and you tell the germs, in the tone of voice you use when the kids have gotten into  your secret stash of chocolate, to stay on their own side.

One of the many problems with all this is that people are infectious before they become symptomatic. Some people never become symptomatic and they’re infectious anyway. And people are even more infectious if they live in a country led by an incompetent, corrupt government. I can’t explain that medically, but it does happen.

Back to the school, though: No one wants to tell all the students’ families, or even just the families with kids in that first infected age group, to go into quarantine. Because that’s be a lot of people. 

Which is why I worry we’ll be looking at a bigger local flareup soon. 

Meanwhile, the county government reminds us to wash our hands and maintain social distancing. Which is better than climbing into each other’s pockets and poking our heads out once a day to ask if the pandemic’s over but doesn’t take into account what it’s like to share a house or apartment or a life with actual human beings. We breathe the same air. It goes into our lungs and it goes out. If someone has the virus, the odds are good that everyone will trade it. It’s always looking for new lungs to explore and conquer, no matter how clean our hands are.

On the other hand, clean hands are very nice things to have.

No one knows for sure where our cluster of cases started, but someone told me today that it traces back to a kid who came home from university. His parents wandered all over town with no idea that they’d been infected and his mother’s sure she infected half of Bude and feels terrible about it. 

Whether she’s right or not doesn’t matter, really. It does remind us–or it should–that we don’t know if we’re infectious so we all need to act as if we are. Because we can feel great and still make people around us sick. 

And it’s yet another reminder that this lockdown has as many holes in it as the school bubbles. 

*

A third vaccine, the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine, has reported its accuracy level: It’s 62% but could go up to 90% if the first shot uses a lower dose. (No, I can’t explain it either.) It’s also cheaper than the first two and can be stored in an average refrigerator, and Astra-Zeneca has said it will forgo any profit on it.

Even before that was announced, though, the health secretary told us that if approval comes in time the National Health Service would start vaccinating people before Christmas. Initially, family doctors will immunize the most vulnerable, and NHS staff will be vaccinated at work. Mass vaccination centers will be set up. 

That sounds startlingly as if someone somewhere had an actual plan, but the grapevine tells me that the local doctors’ office hasn’t been contacted about this. They have only the vaguest idea how it will work and what they’re supposed to do or how.  

*

Preliminary studies indicate that mouthwashes containing cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC to its friends) can, under laboratory conditions, kill the coronavirus in thirty seconds. But as Donald Trump so famously informed us, so can bleach. So can nuclear weapons, although that hasn’t been verified in a lab. You know what scientists are like about setting off nuclear weapons in their labs. The few who’ve done it have had problems reconstructing their notes. 

A darning needle could also, at least potentially, kill the virus, but viruses are small and stabbing them isn’t easy, as the human immune system has found to its cost.

Don’t think about that too hard. I do understand that the human immune system doesn’t come equipped with darning needles. Let’s call it a metaphor and move on quickly.

With all of this, the problem is what you do with the information. How do you get your chosen virus-o-cide and the virus to meet in the right situation? Take mouthwash: Do you pinch the virus between two fingers and dunk it in the mouthwash? Do you spend your day with a mouthful of the mouthwash and hope that anything you breathe in decides to go for a swim? This isn’t going to be simple.

As you may have figured out, I am–and the world is in my debt for this–not a scientist. Someone may yet find a use for mouthwash in humanity’s fightback against this invisible predator. It’s safe, it’s available, and as medical interventions go it’s cheap.

*

Finally, a piece non-Covid news: Donald Trump’s lawyers filed a lawsuit in a Michigan court claiming that Democratic-leaning parts of Michigan had suspiciously high voter turnouts. This was all supposed to link back to voting machines and computer programs and Hugo Chavez. 

And to prove they’d done their research carefully, they listed a number of localities in Minnesota instead of Michigan.

Chavez probably moved them before the election for this very purpose. If he wasn’t already dead by then. 

The Skeleton Army and the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army was founded as a London mission in 1865, offering food and shelter to the down-and-out, the poor, and the very, very drunk. The Skeleton Army was founded by people who enjoyed a good drink and a fight, and in the 1880s and 1890s it harassed the other army.

The Salvation Army came first, so let’s start with them: According to one account, its goal was to wage war on poverty and religious indifference, which testifies to humanity’s long and history of waging war on things that can’t be shot, slashed, or speared. 

And there I was thinking all that war against abstractions and inanimate objects started with the U.S. declaring war on drugs.

Never mind. The Sally wasn’t the first organization to fall in love with a bit of overblown rhetoric, and it quickly took on a military structure, complete with uniforms, recruits, ranks, and marching bands.

Irrelevant photo: An October seed pod. A friend thinks they’re from an iris, in which case I’ll guess a yellow flag, which grows wild.

The Sally’s own website doesn’t talk about warfare but about saving souls and relieving “the Victorian working classes from poverty. In Booth’s eyes [Booth being the founder], this involved morality, discipline, sobriety and employment.”

In other words, unlike the unions and proto-unions of the period, they didn’t see the causes of poverty as low pay and killingly long hours, they were immorality and drinking.

Not to mention gambling and salacious entertainment. 

Within the Salvation Army, women’s ranks–and this was radical for the period–were equal to men’s, and women played a powerful role in the organization. Although having said that, it was started by two people, Catherine and William Booth. I’ve put her name first because I’m like that, but I’m a minority of one in that. He’s credited as the founder and Catherine sometimes gets a mention–and not always by name but just as “his wife.” She may have played a secondary role–I’m not sure–but even if she didn’t, he was the Methodist minister in the family, and if that wasn’t enough he carried a Y chromosome, along with the physical oddities that follow from it, so he walked around with neon arrows pointing him out as the important half of the couple. 

Still, I’m writing that from a contemporary point of view. For the time, the organization was startlingly equal.

The world they campaigned in was a brutal one. Industrialization meant cities and towns had grown massively, and people’s hours, pay, and working conditions were, literally, killing. 

And in spite of the way the language is changing, literally there doesn’t mean figuratively. It means the hours, pay, and working conditions killed people. And crippled them.

Housing was overcrowded, germs hadn’t been so happy since the Crimean War, and beer and gin were cheap, so people drank. Sometimes that was all that got a person through one day and into the next.

Into that setup marched the Salvation Army, not to quietly establish soup kitchens and wait for people to come eat and get preached at but to march down the street, thumping the drum, playing the tuba, waving banners, and preaching against the evils of et cetera.

Et cetera can be extremely evil if left unchecked. 

This won them both recruits and enemies. Plenty of people wanted a drink and a dance and a fight. 

Along England’s south coast, this response coalesced into a group that called itself the Skeleton Army. Chris Hare, a historian from Worthing, one of the Skeleton hotspots, traces their origin to groups of Bonfire Boys–working class young men who raised hell on Bonfire Night, as well as on Mayday and any other occasion that gave them the opportunity. They didn’t bother with ranks or uniforms, but they did sometimes wear yellow ribbons in their caps or sunflowers in their buttonholes.

No, I don’t know how either. Maybe sunflowers were smaller back then, or buttonholes were tougher. 

They also took the Salvation Army’s songs and wrote rowdy lyrics to them. Fair enough. The Sally had taken popular secular songs and reworked the lyrics to suit their purposes, so they were only stealing what had already been stolen.

Skeleton mobs attacked the Salvation Army, throwing paint-filled eggs, dead animals, burning coals–whatever came to hand. Except for the eggs. Those took planning, because getting paint into an egg and keeping it there long enough to throw? That takes work. In fact, how you do it is a deeper mystery than anything the established religions have yet cooked up. But never mind, the eggs appear in more than one telling and seem to have been real. 

Where were the town’s respectable people while all this was going on? Unhappy not about the Skeleton Army but about the Sally. Individually, they wrote letters to the newspapers, worrying that the Salvation Army would give their towns a bad reputation and drive visitors away. 

As for the religious establishment, it preferred its religion inside the church, not bothering people on the street corner. And landowners and industrialists had an interest in keeping their workers drunk and if not happy at least not demanding higher pay and forming unions.

The Salvation Army was anything but revolutionary, but it offered enough prospect of change to worry the powers-that-were. 

Collectively, they were glad to look the other way when the Skeleton Army broke up Salvation Army events. 

To the extent that the police got involved, they were likely to blame the Salvation Army for any uproar. In Worthing, when one “Salvationist applied to the bench for a summons against those who had assaulted him,” he was told,” ‘You know what you do provokes others to interfere with you, and then you come to us for protection.’ ”

In Eastbourne, the mayor and the brewers endorsed the Skeleton Army. In Torquay, the local government banned marching music on a Sunday. It attracted troublemakers, so they arrested the marchers. 

Attacks on the Salvationists–as the articles I’ve read call them–increased, and the women, especially the women in authority, were the primary targets. 

Are you surprised?

One woman, Sussanah Beaty, was killed.

There were riots in Exeter, Worthing, Guildford, and Hastings, and brawls in 67 towns and villages. From the 1880s to the early 1890s thousands of the Sally’s officers were injured. 

But by the early 1890s,  the police became more likely to arrest attackers. Opposition began to die down and the skeleton army faded away.

After that, the story isn’t half as interesting, so we’ll abandon it there.