Thursday, 31st December, 2020

[Day 290]

This is an interesting day that has arrived at last. I have the feeling that many people in the country are really sort of looking forward to today if only to say ‘goodbye’ to the year of 2020. On Thursdays, we are are sometimes a little delayed because we have the weekly order from Waitrose and that means everything has to be put away before our walk and hence we were a little delayed. Having said that, it was a beautiful day with a fine blue sky for our walk but Meg and I had to be careful when starting our walk together. Underfoot, there were places where it was icy in the extreme and we have not been holding on to each other, we both might have slipped twice. As Meg has endured a ‘FOOSH‘ (Fall On Out-Stretched Hand) fracture of her arm some eighteen months ago, we do not fancy a repeat of that when A&E departments are likely to be clogged up with potential COVID-19 patients. So we both exercised the maximum of care and then we got to the lower reaches of the road where the sun had managed to shine on the pavements and then ice had been turned to water. We saw one of our friends briefly (in their car) when we walked down and wished each other ‘Happy New Year‘ This year, in particular, we all seem to be saying to each other that next year cannot possibly be as troubled as 2020 – but of course, none of us really knows what terrors the virus has in store for us before we are ‘saved’ by the vaccine.

Today, I have promised Meg that I will say goodbye to an old and trusted friend (or should I say pair of friends) who have been very good to me over the past few years. I am referring, of course, to my tried and trusty boots which are superbly comfortable and the Vibram soles are still pretty sound. However, the heels are completely worn through and the rubberised section has completely gone and I seem to be at least halfway through a sort of composite which formed the heel. I suppose I must be particularly hard on the heels the way my foot strikes the ground as the rest of the boots seem OK. However, I calculate that I must have walked 1,000 kilometres in these boots and I do get rather attached to items of clothing that have served me well over the years. Tomorrow on New Year’s Day, I shall be breaking in a new pair of boots and I wonder whether they, too, will last me for 1,000 kilometres. I have in mind, though, not to absolutely throw my boots away for a week or so until the really bad icy and snowy weather is well and truly past us – if, for example, I get one set of boots absolutely sodden through in the snow (which can happen) then I will have another set to fall back on whilst the current boots are being dried out. I am going to give my boots some restorative polish before they start their journey but to be honest boots always seem to wear out from the bottom up rather than the other way around.

After lunch, I had said to myself that I would make another journey down into town. We had been a prescription from Meg’s consultant so I needed to get that into the system so that she does not run short of medication. Whilst on my way down, I popped a Kilner jar full of un-decanted damson gin so that one of my friends could either bottle it straight or blend it with some of her own. Whilst down in town, I availed myself of getting some cash from an ATM (an all too rare event these days) and popped into our local Asda supermarket which I do not really enjoy. Nonetheless, I was pleased to get a few items which I know I cannot get elsewhere – and I grabbed a large bag of red potatoes for £1.00 which contained several very large specimens that should be excellent for baked potatoes that I cook in the microwave. I needed to time my visit to town quite carefully because I wanted to get back before dark – and indeed the light held until 4.20 which was the time of my return. Once again, though, I did have to be especially careful not to slip on any of the icy sections of the pavement.

Upon my return, I treated myself to a nice cup of tea and yet another view of Paddington which I think is actually an extended social commentary upon the ways in which we treat and occasionally welcome newcomers to our midst. There are quite a lot of visual jokes which I still find hilarious – one of the best being when Paddington notices a sign on one of the escalators of the Underground which stated ‘Dogs must be carried‘ whereupon Paddington goes and seizes a dog to put under his arm assuming that was the point of the instruction!