We always knew that we were going to have an early start this morning but not quite as early as it turned out. I woke up at about 3.30 and thought I should attempt to locate an appointment letter that I was pretty sure was on the pile of ‘to do’ on our kitchen table. Not being able to find it, I set to work clearing out much of the accumulated rubbish, circulars and some correspondence that needed to be filed. By the time I had reduced the pile to a reasonable ‘to be filed’ portion and thrown away the junk, I still had not found the critical appointment letter. On Monday morning, I shall phone up and confirm the time of the appointment, which I shall then try and postpone for a fortnight. At the end of next week, we have two days in which we are engaged on journeys. The most critical of these is next Friday when we need to journey up to Bolton, in Lancashire, to attend the funeral of Meg’s cousin Gwyneth was unfortunately died a few days ago. Although the journey is quite a long one, it is one we have made before and practically the whole of it is motorway so we will set off at about 10.00 or a little earlier and stop for a lunch on the way before we attend the funeral at 2.30. Then there there is a funeral bash after the crematorium and we will start the journey home. Hopefully, though, at that time on a Friday evening, the traffic should not be too heavy and there is a fair probability that Meg will sleep a lot of the way back. So that is Friday but on the day afterwards we have a lunch date with two very old friends that we have not seen, I think, since before the pandemic. They live in Leicestershire but there is a venue of a good restaurant in the country which is approxinately half way between our two respective homes, to minimise the travelling for both of us. Our lunch date is at 1.00pm so this should nopt be too heavy a day but, of course, it is only a day later than the long journey of the day before. We also have another appointment on Monday afternoopn so next week is going to prove to be quite a busy week for us. But today, Meg and were due to have our COVID+ flu jabs appointment which was timed at 9.18. Whilst in the surgery, we met one of our jolly Waitrose crowd but the whole operation is organised a bit like a military operation with people getting jabs every two or three minutes. Meg and I had an injection in each arm so there is a possibility that both of us might have two sore arms for a day or so. There is a rumour that some individuals are feeling a bit more under the weather after this current round of jabs. We started off with Astra-Zeneca and I think then received the Moderna variant but today we are on the Pfizer variant. So far, Meg and I have been fully vaccinated to date and haven’t suffered any great reactions in the past, although I seem to recall a slightly sore arm the last time around.
The rugby continues this weekend and the really big match is going to be Ireland vs. New Zealand starting at 8.00pm this evening. But tbis afternoon, we are watching the Wales vs. Argentina match which is a tense, tough affair. At half time, Wales are narrowly in the lead but Meg and I will be attending church starting abut two thirds of the way through the second half so it is quite possible that we miss the most exciting 15 minutes of play towards the end. We had the interesting spectacle today which I have never quite seen before of the referee suffering from a groin strain so he had to retire hurt as he was not able to gallop up and down the pitch at speed which is called for if one team has a quick breakaway. The South African referee is being replaced by an English one and perhaps the Argentinians are less than happy if they feel that an English referee might be more favourably inclined towards the Wales team.
There is a great feel of impending doom as the Israelis are assembling their forces before what is going to be a massive push throughout Gaza city. The Israelis have given an ultimatum to 1.2 million inhabitants of Gaza City to retreat (where?) to the south, with the indication that if they do not comply then they may have to suffer whatever the Israeli army throws at them. Yesterday, there was a hint in the American media that the US was asking the Israelis to delay their push by one day and that, indeed, seems to have happened. Despite leaflet drops and videos to warn the civilian population what is in store, there is a feeling abroad that we might be seeing a type of ethnic cleansing in operation. The situation in Gaza city must soon be beyond dire as all supplies of food, water and power have been cut off by the Israelis. To some, this itself is seen as a war crime but we have probably enough evidence of war crimes on both sides of this conflict.