Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Hydrogen Bombs and Ankle Straps

50 years ago, the British exploded their first hydrogen bomb over Malden Island as part of a series of tests in the Pacific. Operation Grapple and Operations Grapple X, Grapple Y and Grapple Z were the names given to the nuclear testing operations conducted in 1957 and 1958. While the main base for the Operations was Christmas Island (now called Kiritimati and part of the Republic of Kiribati), an inhabited atoll two degrees north of the Equator with an economy based on the export of coconut, the tests for Operation Grapple (May 15, May 31 and June 19, 1957) were carried out over Malden Island (now part of the Republic of Kiribati), an uninhabited atoll about 400 miles south of Christmas Island. The test for Operation Grapple X was carried out over Christmas Island on November 8, 1957 and resulted in widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure there. Operation Grapple Y was detonated just off of Christmas Island on April 28, 1958 and Operation Grapple Z, the largest of the four Operations was conducted at different points in 1958 on Christmas Island.

The British tests were part of a major escalation in the arms race and would also lead to them signing a comprehensive nuclear co-operation treaty with the US- 1958 US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement. The treaty allows for extremely close collaboration between the two allies but the heavy UK reliance on the US for assistance in developing and maintaining its nuclear supply has been criticised as being in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Of course contraventions or allegations of contraventions of major international instruments are afforded differing reactions depending on the country accused of undertaking such an act.

I had therapy and a doctor’s appointment today. I’ve been having some pain this past week just above my toes and around my ankle where the straps of the boot are located. The doc says it’s just the muscles that have not been used for so long and the foot getting used to the weight combined with the stress placed by the boot straps. He thinks its time I start getting used to life without the boot so I am now supposed to wear an ankle strap with my sneaker, beginning with one hour a day and gradually increasing till I see him next Monday when an assessment will be made. I will still be wearing the boot when I am not wearing the sneaker. If by next week all I am feeling is discomfort rather than severe pain, I will continue the gradual move back to sneakers. If there is too much pain, I will have to be in the boot for longer! I also received what is becoming normal now- a cortisone shot- and was warned not to go out for a stroll in the park or go and hang out etc. I am still supposed to rest my foot and my walking must be restricted to my apartment. It seems as if spring will come and go while I am stuck inside : - (

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