460 days of plague

A gradual feeling of return to normality. The Belgian COVID numbers are really tumbling at the moment – ICU beds down 29% from a week ago, hospital beds 36%, deaths 37% and infections a whopping 45%. More than haf the population has been vaccinated with at least one dose, more than two thirds of those over 18. The government further reduced restrictions on Friday. We are heading towards the ECDC’s Green Zone – we won’t hit the criteria by next Tuesday, but I think it’s quite likely that we will by the Tuesday after.

On Thursday we had another work party, this time at Place Rouppe; when I arrived, Belgium were already 1-0 down to Denmark, but they managed to pull ahead by the end, no doubt due to the encouragement sent from afar by me and one of my other Belgian colleagues, who had come suitably equipped.

As well as a nice family outing to our local thousand-year-old churches last weekend, we celebrated B’s birthday yesterday. Last year it was the first time we had seen her since the first lockdown. This year she was in an odd mood – came happily for a drive in the car, got very upset when we brought her to what is usually a favourite place, the ruined Paterskerk in Tienen, but calmed down when we brought her back to her home and started feeding her strawberries. F managed to take one good picture of her sitting with me and Anne, which got a gratifying response on social media.

B’s birthday is not actually an easy day for us; it is another reminder of milestones not reached.

But the weather is good, and despite Worldcon hassles and Northern Ireland being in disarray, I bought bacon from the British shop on Friday and have been doing fried breakfasts this weekend. Very cheering.

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