Thursday, 3rd December, 2020

[Day 262]

Today was an ‘interesting’ sort of day! It was raining cats and dogs, as they say but we were determined not to let it deter us. After we had collected our newspapers (our lucky day – the very last copy of both ‘The Guardian‘ and ‘The Times‘) we had intended to go into the park to have our coffee. But as it was raining so hard, we decided to go on our trip to a distant Waitrose on the outskirts of Worcester which we had been given to understand was huge and therefore full of choice at Christmas time. Although I had taken down the postcode, I had already looked at the directions via Google and it seemed to be just a straight run down the M5 to junction 7 and then a couple of miles along the main road into Worcester. But then we started to run into problems – the road which we though we wanted signposted us to Evesham and so we thought to ourselves – ‘No, not that way- it must this way’ Having gone for several miles long what was evidently a new ring road in the course of construction with massive digging vehicles and traffic jams all over the place we decided to trace our steps, take the road pointing to ‘Evesham’ and finished off where we wanted at the huge Waitrose. This really was like a cornucopia and we filled a trolley full of Christmas goodies (mainly death by carbohydrate such as puddings, Christmas cake, mince pies, stollen) and a quite a lot of alcohol most of which are intended as presents for close family. But we did treat ourselves to a nice Rioja and Cava for Christmas Day, not to mention replenishing our supplies of gin and sherries for when/if people call round. We did feel a little ‘Waitrosed out’ as a result of all of this because e had received our weekly online order from the said store which we are now scheduled to receive between 8.00 and 9.00am each Thursday morning. At this time of year, we have to find extra space in our cupboards and squeeze items in whilst avoiding the temptation to overflow things into our garage (nice and cool – but also a temptation too far for the local mice who have invaded us before)

In this morning’s email, my friend from down the road had sent me detail of the pilgrimage to Rome next September which he had mentioned to us in the park the day before. At the end of the details was an application form which I assiduously filled in at the end of afternoon but there were some questions it that required some chasing around in order to complete e.g. what was the policy number of the travel insurance it was anticipated that you already had, complete with the emergency telephone number to contact them which had already been supplied to you. But I managed to get it all filled in and got it put into an envelope ready to be despatched first thing in the morning. We will need to fly from Bristol Airport which is some 85 miles away but the access will be fairly fast via the M5 and A4 so that should not be very problematic for us – and better than Heathrow. We are hoping that by getting our application fairly early the tour as a whole is not over-subscribed and that our application to join the pilgrimage will be accepted.

Later on in the early evening, I was hunting for an envelope in which one of our Yorkshire friends (in whose guest house we used to stay and who has written a book about his experiences in which we figure) had sent us a Christmas card but with his address written on the back of the envelope – which I now couldn’t find. Somewhat distraught, I rang the contact number I had in my iPhone and was delighted to be able to make contact with our old friend again (who at the same time as myself was having some medical problems) To cut a long story short, we had an incredibly good chat catching up over our plans fo the immediate future – or rather the ways in which both Brexit and COVID-19 had laid waste to them. Anyway, we are now in WhatsApp contact with each other which means that we can use a video call facility to each other in the future. (I have never used this facility in WhatsApp but now is the time and the motivation to learn how to do it) It could be that we meet up in Spain for an extended holiday together when the coast clears, but of course until the E111 status becomes clarified as the result of the Brexit deal/no deal we are both little stuck. Nonetheless, our friend has assiduously been polishing his Spanish grammar (and he is a natural linguist and ardent anti-Brexiteer) so whoever we meet is bound to be a good trip down memory lane for the both of us!