Latest Posts:

Covid-19 Rapid Testing – Lateral Flow or Antigen Tests

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

One of the pandemic pleasures of life in Europe – as opposed to Australia or the USA – is access to rapid testing – more formally known as Lateral Flow or Antigen Tests.

▲ In London you can pick up a free batch of 7 NHS test kits and test yourself anytime you want. Pre-breakfast I can test myself and then make my coffee while I wait for the result, officially 30 minutes, but in fact it always seems to come through in 20 minutes or less.

◄ The bar by the C indicates I’m negative, if there was a bar by the T it’s time to book a much more expensive and much slower PCR test. The top 3 are British NHS test kits, the bottom 2 are very similar Greek ones although with the Greek tests you only need to do a nasal swab, the NHS require throat and nasal swabs. Note they’re all negative.

I wrote a story for the Australian newsletter Crikey‘The little test that could’ – about my rapid testing enthusiasm and, naturally, it sparked numerous comments from people who thought I was stupid! Yes rapid antigen tests are not 100% accurate, they’re not ‘gold standard’ like PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, they do turn up false positives (they say you’re infected when you’re not) and more often false negatives (they say you’re OK when in fact you’re infected). But not often.

Despite which they’re illegal to use in Australia. ‘Leave testing to the experts’ is the Australian belief. Well perhaps the Australian experts do know more than all those misguided Europeans, but I’m pleased I can do a test anytime I want to, quickly, easily and currently for free.

I thought only Australia was unenthusiastic about self-testing for Covid-19, but in fact it’s precisely the same story in the USA where this recent New York Times report – ‘Where Are the Tests? Other countries are awash in Covid tests. The U.S. is not,’ commented ‘the F.D.A. has loosened its rules somewhat over the past year, allowing the sale of some antigen tests (which often cost about $12 each). But drugstores, Amazon and other sellers have now largely run out of them. I tried to buy rapid tests this weekend and couldn’t find any.’

Covid-19 Rapid Testing – Lateral Flow or Antigen Tests

21 September 2021 | Living

One of the pandemic pleasures of life in Europe – as opposed to Australia or the USA – is access to rapid testing – more formally known as Lateral Flow or Antigen Tests. ▲ In London you can pick up a free batch of 7 NHS test kits and test yourself anytime you want....

View Post

Dark Tourism to Covid Sites?

20 September 2021 | Living

‘How Long Before Covid Tours Become Part of the Dark Tourism Trend?’ asked the travel newsletter Skift. Too soon was the article’s conclusion, you can’t visit disaster sites (which is what Dark Tourism is all about) when the disaster is ongoing. One day in the future,...

View Post

The Global Tourism Crash & other talk

17 September 2021 | Media

Even in the pandemic and even without getting out on the road – and I’ll be reporting on some Greek Islands travel shortly – there’s often travel talk from at home. On Wednesday 15 September I joined Darrell Wade of Intrepid Travel, Gemma Sisia who runs the wonderf...

View Post

The Cats of London – another bicycle ride

30 August 2021 | Culture

Having pedalled my bicycle around the London Monopoly board I set out on another Sunday ride with The Fridays cycling group to check out the cats of London. A ‘Purrfect’ ride as they described it. Home to home (including the 10km to Russell Square at the start and bac...

View Post

Sunsets, but not in Victoria, Australia

27 August 2021 | Living

The Australian state of Victoria has suffered an awful lot of lockdowns since the coronavirus pandemic kicked off. I’ve managed to miss the most recent batch, I escaped the state just before Lockdown 5 kicked off and Lockdown 6 is ongoing. One of the things you sho...

View Post

Dust on My Shoes – Peter Pinney

25 August 2021 | Media

So why did I never hear about this book before? Peter Pinney set out to travel after WW II, he’d spent the last spell of the war in Bougainville, that island off to the south-east corner of Papua New Guinea heading towards the Solomon Islands, where it really belongs....

View Post

Over Afghanistan & at ground level in Kabul

23 August 2021 | Places

On 17 August I posted about what was currently happening in the skies over Afghanistan. Nothing civil I said, airlines – which often used to fly over Afghanistan between Europe and further east in Asia – were all diverting. The activity was purely military. It’s the s...

View Post

Where is Qantas flying right now, well not over Afghanistan

17 August 2021 | Transport

Officially Qantas is flying pretty much nowhere. Domestic flights had got back almost to normal until current outbreaks and lockdowns emptied the departure and arrival boards. The Sydney-Melbourne route was one of the busiest in the world, it certainly isn’t at the mo...

View Post

Pedalling around the London Monopoly Board

15 August 2021 | Culture

The Fridays are a UK bicycle riding ‘club’ who organize bike rides, short and long, often riding at night. Back in 2010 I joined their signature Friday night ride from London to Brighton – midnight at Sloane Square in Chelsea, breakfast at dawn 100km (63 miles) away a...

View Post

Climbing Mt Marble Arch

10 August 2021 | The rest

It’s been a year for climbing peaks. Back in April I finally got around to climbing Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak. And now I’ve climbed Mt Marble Arch. Someone had the clever idea that building an artificial 25metre high ‘peak’ beside Marble Arch – at the ju...

View Post