Friday, 26th February, 2021

[Day 347]

This morning as we woke up, we realised there had been a slight ground frost and so we surmised, as it turns out correctly, that a fine day or at least a fine morning was in prospect for us. The air was like champagne and the sky was blue, all with a liberal dosing of pale spring sunshine. So we had an extremely pleasant walk down to our newsagents where we picked up our Saturday complement of newspapers, popped into Waitrose to pick up some frozen vegetables and then made our way into the park. As the weather was so kind to all of us and it was the weekend, then every man (and his dog) seemed to be present in the park. We kept on bumping into people that we know that included friends, friends of friends, park acquaintances and so on. It was so pleasant that we lingered awhile in the park and did not get back for lunch until way past our normal lunchtime. I rustled up a quick risotto (which I now make with some kippers and cauliflower rice – it might sound odd but with a normal complement of yogurt and grated cheese actually turns out to be a lot nicer than it sounds). I have recently developed a facility to communicate with the souls of dead pets (animals) and it works like this. I ask for the name of the favourite animal and then try to establish a line of communication between them and their long deceased pet. I then ask them to think of a number between 1 and 10 and ask them to perform a series of mathematical procedures on it. I then establish a link of communication with the dead ‘pet’ and then communicate a number which the deceased pet is ‘correctly’ communicating to the mind of the owner. Although this sounds complicated, it worked beautifully with our University of Birmingham friend AND with our Irish friend down the road AND with our domestic help who was still in the house when we returned home.

We are now at the total of 19 million of the population vaccinated which is 35% of the entire adult population. A figure just released is that 94% of the population indicate that they have either received the jab OR they intend to have it when their turn becomes due. Although there has been a slight hiccup of supply in the vaccine the UK as a whole still seems to be streets ahead. However the rates of infection are increasing in one of five (20%) of local authority areas. The ‘heat maps’ shown in the Downing Street briefings still show some worrying areas where rates of vaccination are lower, indices of social deprivation are higher and the rate of new infection may be increasing slightly. The government advisers are evidently worried that the population as a whole may ‘relax’ particularly as the weather is fine and that people might be ‘3-0’ up in a game of football only to relax and eventually lose the game 3-4 (an example given in the briefing tonight)

I sent off a long email to our Spanish friends expressing our delight that their daughter has just gained an Erasmus scholarship in the University of Gloucester (some 35 miles down the road) and promising all the help and support that we can give. We imagine that the university will give priority in university accommodation to Erasmus students (who cannot be expected to organise their own in the open market like indigenous students) We also sent them all of the information taken from ‘The Times‘ which details all of the stages to be undertaken in the ‘end-of-lockdown’ scenarios outlined by the government. A source of some dissatisfaction, though, is that police and schoolteachers are not to be given any degree of priority other than provided by age alone -figures are being quoted that, the government argues, shows that teachers and the police die at a somewhat lower rate than the rest of the population and should not therefore receive any degree of priority.

Later on this evening, we FaceTimed one of our Hampshire friends as we do regularly on a Friday evening, and spent an incredibly pleasant hour chatting on a whole variety of topics. Our friend is organising a lot of Zoom meetings for ex-IBM employees which is taking him some time and keeping him out of mischief.

The government seems to be edging slowly via a ‘review’ into a ‘de facto’ acceptance of a vaccine passport, although not to be called that. I read a letter in one of my daily newspapers that indicated that, as a newly qualified nurse, she had to show evidence of a BCG (anti-TB) inoculation before she could enter employment, so what is the difference in principle between that and a COVID-19 vaccination? It would appear to me to be axiomatic that one needs to be vaccinated before exerting a patient-facing role in the NHS so where is the problem?