Tuesday, 1st December, 2020

[Day 260]

Well, I must say that I am really glad to be shot entirely of the month of November and to be entering the month of December. I always feel that the month of December flies by because of the intensification of social life as Christmas approaches – although this year, Christmas will be a very different affair for most of us. Also, as December 21st approaches, so does the shortest day which means the once Christmas is out of the way, at least the days are getting a little bit longer if only by a minute or so. The bad weather will also bear down on us in January and February but at least we have had a fairly mild autumn so far -when you have bad weather such as snow in the autumn, then the winter seems to go on for ever and a day.

It was a beautiful fine day on our walk down this morning with a clear blue sky and the sun even warm in places where it could strike the pavement evenly and not be obscured by tall trees on the other side of the road. We spoke with one of our acquaintances who was busy putting lights around the denuded branches of a young sycamore tree and we notice that many people are starting to decorate their houses and their front gardens. There is one particular house in a block long since sold off by the council where the owners really go ‘over the top’ when it comes to external decorations in the house and garden. On this one particular house, it appeared from a distance, that Santa Claus appeared to be in danger of an imminent suicide as he clung perilously to a window sill. In practice, Santa was hanging onto a translucent rope ladder, no doubt to be lit up later on this evening, but from the angle from which we were approaching Santa appeared to be in dire straits. When we arrived home, we had a nice conversation with our next door neighbour, mainly on the subject of the atrocious political leadership we were experiencing on both sides of the Atlantic and we were speculating how long our current Prime Minister can survive in office once the immediate crises of Brexit and Covid appear to be in resolution.

We had quite a busy time FaceTimeing in the late afternoon and early evening. Firstly we got into contact with our friends in Hampshire who have been in lockdown since the start of the pandemic – their feelings were very much that having come this far, they were not going to prejudice things over Christmas by too intimate a contact with family. Some family members were going to come and occupy a conservatory where they could communicate but were insulated from each by some glass – no doubt, families all over the country are having to improvise similar arrangements. No sooner had we made a ‘slot’ when we can chat again in a fortnight, then our ex-Waitrose friends FaceTimed us and we exchanged news of each other’s activities. They were slightly on tenterhooks at their end because a new edition to the family was in the process of being born (but had to be transferred from Worcester were there was no spare space in the maternity site to Hereford where they did have a space). Our son and daughter-in-law are busily decorating the newly acquired Christmas tree (another family tradition) so we can FaceTime a video of the tree when we are next in contact next week.

Car wash time has come around again – I am trying to get into a routine of washing once a fortnight (once a week seems excessive as we hardly go anywhere these days with the lockdown in operation) One has to time these operations quite carefully as the days are so short – I started at 3.0pm and had just about completed quite a comprehensive clean by 4.0pm when it was still just about light – but only just. When I get a new car, I always treat myself to some new cleaning materials and treated myself to some micro-fibre towels for a final finishing off. I thought this might have sounded a bit excessive but the results I am pleased to say were really good. So I gave all of my car cleaning cloths a quick machine wash ready for next time.

We expected that the government would get its own way and once the Labour Party, the Lib-Dems and the SNP decided to abstain, the result was not really in doubt. In the event, some 55 Tory MP’s voted against their own government supported by some 15 Labour MPs and some independents. The real question now shifts to about a fortnight’s time because then some of the regulations may be ‘tweaked’ and it is possible that as a result of political pressure and/or wheeler dealing so area might be detached from Tier 3 to join Tier 2. There is also talk of getting more ‘granularity’ in the data i.e. not averaging out the results of a low-virus rural hinterland with a high-virus urban area to get a result somewhere in-between that reflects neither.