Day 241 – Libertador O’Higgins

It sounds like a made up name, doesn’t it?
Something you might find in an off-the-wall comedy skit show.

But no.

Crazy name, crazy guy, crazier legacy!

(Not to be confused with Bernard O’Higgins (?–1564) who was an Irish Roman Catholic bishop. He served as the Bishop of Elphin from 1542 to 1564.) (Obviously.)

I discovered Libertador O’Higgins in Chile thanks to there being an earthquake near there last night:

It turns out that Libertador O’Higgins is a region of Chile, just south of Santiago and named for… well… Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins.

And who was he?

Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme (1778–1842) was a Chilean independence leader who freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. He was a wealthy landowner of Spanish and Irish ancestry. Although he was the second Supreme Director of Chile (1817–1823), he is considered one of Chile’s founding fathers, as he was the first holder of this title to head a fully independent Chilean state.

He was Captain General of the Chilean Army, Brigadier of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, General Officer of Gran Colombia and Grand Marshal of Peru.

I think that we could have guessed the Irish ancestry bit.

… the illegitimate son of Ambrosio O’Higgins, 1st Marquis of Osorno, a Spanish officer born in County Sligo, Ireland, who became governor of Chile and later viceroy of Peru. His mother was Isabel Riquelme, a prominent local; the daughter of Don Simón Riquelme y Goycolea, a member of the Chillán Cabildo, or town council.

You can read more about his role in the Chilean Independence movement and his time as Supreme Director of Chile – and his part in Peruvian Independence – on that link above.

But this was the bit that got me: he has a really, really impressive array of stuff commemorating him, including (but not limited to):

– an administrative region in Chile (which had an earthquake near it last night)
– a major road in Santiago and a National Park
– a Blue Plaque and a bust in Richmond in London
– plaques, busts and statues in Sydney, Guatemala City, Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, Bogota and Cadiz
– Chile’s highest award for a foreign citizen
– an unorchestrated opera
– 3 ships, a submarine and an Antarctic research base
– a set of stamps in Chile and one in Ireland
– an actual football team

Yes: An. Actual. Football. Team.



Day 238, part 2 – An interesting day

Interesting for starters because of the fact that you’re probably wondering what happened to Day 238, part 1.

Well, paradoxically, while that’s written and saved on the back end of the blog right here, I haven’t published it yet, because it could be detrimental to events in real life and so I’m saving it until everything is done, dusted and… and… something else beginning with D.

I’ll let you know.

You may remember that I was struggling a little yesterday having endured a night of insomnia. Well, I took a little tablet last night and slept very soundly indeed, thank you very much. Less good were the continued effects of the dosage until about 11 this morning, because I had a real day to get through. Still, it appears that I have managed to survive and the afternoon even went rather well. There’s big news that I can’t quite share yet.

I know – that’s already two things I can’t tell you about, which is a bit crap. There might be more than two, but I can’t recall very much about this morning, I’m afraid.

We’ll get there, I promise.

Sadly, given the trials and tribulations of the last few days, I haven’t really got around to checking in on the latest on the virus or the local (or even international) news. I have a vaccine post planned for the near future and after today’s events (see above) (or rather don’t) there’s suddenly every chance that I might now have the time to write it.

Right, enough of this cryptic crap. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully something rather better and more entertaining than this drivel. Thanks for staying with it this long.
Or commiserations – whichever.


Day 237 – Dragging

I didn’t sleep much last night. I thought that I was going to sleep well, because I was about to fall asleep on the couch in front of the football so I chose to go and do it in bed (careful now), but by the time I’d sorted the beagle, locked up and got upstairs, I was wide awake. Wiiiide awake.

Lot and lots going on in my mind. My health insurance people would have had a field day.

Things stayed like that for about four hours. And then once I did get to sleep, I woke disappointingly early and lay there for another 1½ hours… just thinking.

I wouldn’t advise it. It’s left me feeling like a zombie today, and yet there were all the things that the awake me should have been doing today, still to be done. What a disaster.

I’m long overdue a “catchup” night, whereby I… er… catch up on my sleep that I’ve missed over the last n nights. I’m very hopeful that tonight will be that sort of night. I need it. Especially as my son has just asked me to explain the formula for compound interest:

Normally when in this condition, I’d fob him off with an “ask your mum” or a “come back tomorrow and I’ll explain”, but she’s not home and he actually has a maths exam tomorrow, so I used the last of my brain power to try and talk him through it.

That’s why this blog post is so poorly written and disjointed.

There’s literally nothing left. I’m so sorry.

Day 236 – Happy Birthday to…

Happy 1st Birthday to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (you may know it by its stage name: “Corona”).

Yes, according to this March 2020 report in the South China Morning Post, the first case of Covid-19 – it’s a disease of which you might have heard mention – was identified in a 55 year old man from Hubei on this very day last year. So I suppose it’s actually Happy Birthday to the disease, rather than the virus, but by this time, who even cares about minor details like that?
You get one, you get the other.

A lot has happened since that guy decided to go for the fresh bat soup instead of the beef with noodles, hey?

55 million cases. 1.3 million deaths.
And those are the ones we know about.

And even though we’re twelve and half thousand kilometres away from the source and start of the outbreak, tucked away here in the bottom corner of Africa, we’re still on [check notes] day 236 of an ongoing state of disaster and lockdown. What an incredible timeline. What a weird world.

What a horrendous year.

To be honest, I much preferred those halcyon 120 days when the disease was raging in other places that weren’t here. But then I think we all much preferred those even more halcyon days when it wasn’t raging anywhere.

It’s not often that one can pinpoint the exact day that a new disease appears: most of the stuff that we get infected with has been around for hundreds of thousands of years. And so, despite the appalling toll which it has brought upon the entire planet, as a microbiologist, it seems almost required that this day is marked somehow.

It’s done. Let’s revisit this on November 17th next year.


EDIT: Oh wow. And look who shares this big day…

Cue the “who’s done the more damage to South Africa?” comments…


Day 229 – Not done yet

Great news on the vaccine for the virus:

…but we’re not done yet, even though a lot of people have been treating things as if we have been done for quite a while now.

Not done yet because:

a) Nelson Mandela Bay metro has run out of Intensive Care beds as the number of infections there continues to rise:

b) And yes, while the situation in the Eastern Cape is clearly a bit out of control, there are worrying little upturns in the Western Cape and KZN graphs as well:

We need to keep an eye on this – things should be dropping consistently at the moment.

c) We’re still learning about the effects of the virus on humans:

This figure is more than double than you would expect to see with influenza infections.

d) There’s “talk” of a return to Level 2 lockdown:

I say “talk”, because that’s from Business Insider and we all know what they’re like and even they state:

Now government officials have confirmed – anonymously – to Bloomberg that tougher restrictions are on the cards again in discussions this week.

Ah. The anonymous source. That old chestnut.

We believe you.

e) This has nothing to do with Covid, but I got bitten on the chin by a stray dog today, while lying in a pool of its urine underneath a Toyota double cab with its engine running in the middle of a fairly busy road in Upper Kenilworth.

I wouldn’t advise any of it.

Tetanus shot and broad spectrum antibiotics. No stitches required – puncture wound only.

Right. Must go and howl at the moon. See you tomorrow.