Friday, 2nd April, 2021

[Day 382]

The day turned out, weather-wise, not to be the kind of day we were expecting. After the fairly dismal and cool day yesterday, we had a fairly bright and sunny day today with the added bonus that we were not really expecting it.The weather forecasters tend to be full of gloom and doom about the cold weather (including perhaps snow) which is going to sweep over the whole country on Monday next and it might even persist for a few days. The forecasters are indicating that ‘no part of the UK will remain immune from snow showers’ on Monday next. However, I suspect that the powers that be might well be rubbing their hands in glee because the cold weather may well keep people at home and hence not contribute to the large crowds that could well threaten a resurgence of the virus. On the other hand, people who would be meeting with their relatives in the open air in gardens and the like may be tempted to go indoors which would not be a good thing. After collecting our ration of the Saturday newspapers, we made our way to the park in which, although not teeming with people, most of our favourite benches were occupied so we had to seek out alternatives down by the side of the lake. On our way home we had two extensive chats, the first with some of our church friends to whom I had lent a copy of Salman Rushdie’s ‘Midnight’s Children‘ which won the Booker prize at the time. Then, as we progressed up the hill, we had another chat with our Italian friend and informed her of the death of a husband of a mutual acquaintance of ours. We wished each other well for the Easter season – I had previously bought some general purpose cards from Waitrose and sent one of them as a quasi-Easter card to Meg’s uncle in North Wales. However, upon posting it, I discovered it might not be collected until Monday (for which, read Tuesday) because of the Bank Holiday so he might not actually receive it until about next Thursday which is way after the event. However, as they say, it is the thought that counts after all.

The COVID-19 news still seems to be in the balance. Having sunk to a low level of infections, the ‘R’-rate is estimated to be in the range 0.8-1.0 so if it were to be 1.0 then this would imply threat the level of new infections was relatively stable i.e. each person infected would go on and infect exactly one other person (but not more). Boris Johnson is going on record to persuade people not to meet indoors, even if vaccinated (we know from the Christmas period that these ‘family get togethers’ can have very deleterious consequences as young people may infect older people) Although Meg and I will have to wait another 10 days before our second dose of the vaccine, we suppose that some people may imagine that once they have had two injections they are relatively safe. The truth is, of course, that even a doubly vaccinated person is still a risk to others and perhaps even to themselves. The degree of risk has been reduced by vaccinations but is still there.

Tomorrow evening, Meg and I are booked into an ‘Easter vigil' in our local church. At this point of time, we do not know exactly what we have let ourselves in for but whereas our normal service starts at 6.00pm this one will start at 8.00pm and may well last for about two hours. We understand that as well as a Mass and benediction, there is likely to be some periods of reflection, some processions around the church and perhaps even some singing of sacred music performed for us. Meg and I have never been to one of these Easter vigils before and hence we can only speculate about its length and contents. This Easter Sunday might be quite a strange, not to mention surreal, experience. One always imagines that Easter is associated with pale spring sunshine, a proliferation of flowering trees, shrubs and plants and the opportunity to meet particularly with family and friends. This Sunday and Monday, though, may be bitterly cold, snow-swept and generally unpleasant. Family gatherings under these circumstances will be characterised by the chattering teeth because of the cold and a general inclination not to spend more time than is necessary in the cold. Of course there’s always the TV in days like these and, in the absence of anything better, Meg and I may well raid the archives of YouTube to see if there is an opera that will take us out of ourselves. An interesting philosophical conundrum of a familiar nature rears its head at this time of year. The question is ‘At what age do children cease to expect Easter eggs from their parents? ‘ Evidently children in their pre-teen and teen years can expect to have these ritualised presents but does the same apply when you are in your 40’s or 50″s? I just thought I would pose the question without knowing the answer.