Tuesday, 22nd December, 2020

[Day 281]

We knew there was quite a lot to get done today and we were particularly pleased to see our domestic help come and give us one quick ‘burst’ just before Christmas. Before we undertook our journey, we were having a conversation in the kitchen about the possibilities of Yogic Flying. I promised to do some investigation and saw some instances of

Yogic Flying on the net. As illustrated in the ‘YouTube’ videos which I viewed, Yogic Flying consists of sitting cross-legged and then basically launching along the ground in a series of bunny hop type moves. I am sure it is excellent for your pelvic floor muscles which is how I think the conversation arose in the first place. Meg and I collected our papers and bumped into one of our friends who informed us that he and his wife had just tested negative for COVID-19 – because we were in a bit of hurry we didn’t get the full story why they needed to have a test in the first place. The park was teeming today (no children in school, quite a fine day, dogs to be exercised) but we managed to locate one empty park bench that was fortunately dry. We knew that time was pressing but even so on the way back home we saw an ambulance draw up next to the neighbour of one our friends. We knew that the gentleman involved had had a stroke a few months previously and had just spent another spell in hospital so we just hoped for the best, also chatting with other of our friends about what may have been happening to his neighbour.

When I got home, I had a fly around to get ready for my Pilates class. Today I was going to play Santa Claus (a tradition going back for a few years now) but this was having to be organised in a completely different way owing to the COVID-19 crisis. I resolved to organise the logistics like this. Firstly, I pulled my red Santa Claus trousers underneath my normal ‘tracksuit bottom’. Similarly I donned a ‘Santa Claus’ red shirt and then wore my normal shirt over it. Then I had to transport by Santa Claus outer jacket + hat, five bottles damson gin and all of the accompanying Christmas cards which had to be rapidly written. I took down my Santa Claus ‘Ho, Ho, Ho‘ sack together with my Pilates gear within it by car when I parked on the Waitrose carpark and then walked along to my class. Cards were distributed each to another inside the class by people throwing them in their neighbour’s vicinity. Then we had our ‘normal’ Pilates class, a highlight of which is the 3-5 minutes at the end of our session where our tutor encourages some deep relaxation. Whilst my fellow classmates were deep into their relaxation (and presumably had their eyes shut) I busied myself in my corner off the room divesting myself of my track-suit bottom and shirt to reveal my Santa Claus gear underneath. All I now needed to do now was to pull on my Santa Claus outer robe, don my hat (and mask) and lie down for the remaining few seconds of the relaxation session. When they came round they observed ‘Santa Claus. in the far corner of the room, who then pranced round, distributing to each (and to the reception staff) their bottles of damson gin. The only problem on this occasion was that Santa only had to remember three words of which the first was ‘Ho’ but unfortunately, he kept forgetting the second and third words of his greeting. There was an almost universal feeling in the class that a full lockdown or something very similar was on the cards and therefore we might not be in a ‘live’ class together until Easter (although the ‘Zoom’ option is open for all of us)

Approximately 4,000 lorries are still waiting to get through the ports to get to Continental Europe. The French have suggested a solution which is to offer immediate transit for any lorry driver with a negative COVID-19 test – but the difficulty here is that the ‘gold standard’ test takes about 2-3 days for the results to be processed whereas the ‘lateral-flow’ test will give a result in 15-20 minutes but is regarded as less reliable. How this is to be resolved is not clear at this stage – there are some black rumours that the French are trying to indicate to the British what will happen with a ‘no deal’ Brexit. In the meanwhile, there are signs that a deal might be possible, although fisheries remains a great problem for both sides. There are suggestions that the talks might extend beyond the 1st January but No. 10 has firmly rebuffed any suggestions that this in the cards.

The latest COVID-19 figures are really frightful with 36,800 new infections in a day and nearly 700 deaths. Thee figures are as bad the country has yet experienced and there is a feeling that the worst is yet to come. It seems to be a racing certainty that more severe restrictions will be applied once we have Christmas out of the way. The Home Secretary (Priti Patel) was hinting that the country should get used to more severe lockdown conditions from the New Year onwards – but other commentators are indicating that once we get Boxing Day out of the way then the government may act immediately. What seems particularly worrying is the more infectious variant of COVID-19 seems to have ‘escaped’ London and the South East and is now represented in all parts of the country.