Two countries and their Christmas strategies, the 5-mile boundary, and Manifesto

One of my coworkers lives in Italy and he told me they’re going into lockdown from December 24th – 27th and then again from December 31st – January 3rd. This is the opposite of what’s happening in the UK where everyone is in lockdown now but we’re free to meet other households from the 23rd – 27th December. The Italian government is all, “No parties over Christmas. You’re all staying home” while the British government says, “You can meet up over Christmas but we’d rather you didn’t”.

I’m resigned to staying home for Christmas now. I’ve discovered we’re allowed to go for exercise up to 5 miles from our local authority boundary which for people in Aberdeen gets us as far as Crathes Castle in the south and the dunes at Menie in the north. This cheered me up immensely as it means we can go for walks at both Crathes and Drum castle and take a Boxing Day dip at Balmedie beach.

I just finished reading Dale Vince’s book, Manifesto. He’s a fascinating character and I enjoyed his book which is part biography and part, well, a manifesto on how to save the planet.

For those who have never heard of Dale Vince he’s the founder of Ecotricity, the first renewable energy supplier in the UK. He also owns a football club, Forest Green Rovers, the only vegan football club in the UK. This year he announced he’s been making diamonds by extracting carbon dioxide from the air; they’re called Skydiamonds and will go on sale next year. If you buy a copy of his book before the end of this month you can enter the competition to win a Skydiamond.

What really struck me is I expected someone like him, who has made incredible progress with wind technology – his wind turbines were the first of their kind in the UK – and now diamond manufacturing, to come from a strong academic background but that’s not the case at all for Dale. He left school at 15, never went to university, and spent his twenties as a traveller living in a caravan. He got into wind energy because he was good with engines and took that skill to build his own wind turbine for his caravan. He then went on to build wind turbines for other people and eventually Ecotricity was born. He had no interest in becoming rich and building a huge empire just for the sake of it. He was motivated by a desire to solve climate change knowing that one wind turbine for his own needs was not enough. Everyone has to be powered by renewables.

He has an amazing persistence and a can-do attitude even when a situation looks completely hopeless and everyone else doubts its success. Because of this I found his book quite hopeful. The second part of the book is a clear plan for what we need to do to solve the problem of climate change and it’s all doable. More than that, he’s doing it. So while others say it can’t be done or worse, or deny that climate change is happening at all, Dale is getting on with the solution and changing the world for the better. The world needs more people like Dale Vince.

My work put together this little video on what we want to recognise in 2020 and what we wish for in 2021.

Who or what do you want to recognise in 2020 and what do you wish for in 2021?

8 thoughts on “Two countries and their Christmas strategies, the 5-mile boundary, and Manifesto”

  1. Dale Vance sounds awesome – and so do the Slydiamonds 😊 I will read more about both of them. Thank you.

    This year I wish tk acknowledge Rachel Stewart, an ex-columnist for the NZ Herald newspaper, who got Woke-mobbed out of her job, similar to what happened to Suzanne Moore at the Guardian. Rachel Stewart has now started her own column on Substack, and is a free subscription at the moment.

    Not sure about next year yet, but s/he will probably be a s/hero for women in some way. Unless Jacinda Ardern bans live exports (which, sadly, she’s unlikely to do) then she would be my shero for 2021 😊

    1. I had to look up Rachel Stewart – I can’t believe a feminism conference could cause so much controversy. There’s something broken about that and concerning. Good on her for speaking up and I’m pleased her article has been published on the web and is available even if the NZ Herald refused to do it.

  2. Not sure if this is how I want to remember 2020, but this past week I learned that a friend who moved to Italy, partly for work and partly to get away from T***p, was in the hospital for four weeks due to a flare-up of a cancer we all thought he had beaten years ago. He then became infected with COVID and struggled to recover for another two. I was grateful to hear from him again, but he sounded so weakened by the long period of illness and cancer surgery, I couldn’t believe I was hearing from the same witty person who could bring the house down telling a hilarious story. Then I heard through hearsay that a woman I used to work with died from complications of COVID. She was just a few years older than me and was in the pink of health the last time I saw her, the 4th of July 2019. So I am very shook as I look forward to the holidays. I was supposed to visit my older daughter and her family in the Bay Area Christmas Eve, but the state has entered lockdown and we have no idea what to do at this point. It’s safest to stay home, but after so many months of not seeing each other, it seems brutal not to observe Christmas, even as just an online chat.

    So I wish to recognize the many people who died this past year in the US, and the many more who grieve for their lost ones. I look forward to a day, just a day! when I can go out without a mask and show people that I’m smiling.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your friend. I hope he makes a full recovery and beats cancer for a second time. It does seem sensible to stay at home this Christmas. Maybe we can postpone it by a couple of months and all celebrate again in the spring when hopefully, the vaccine starts to make a difference.

      1. I manage to stay home and be safe.
        I think ‘strange’ is a bit mild to describe the time. I have learned a couple of new unprintable words to describe it.
        Vocabulary Building — I call it! lol

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