Wednesday, 19th May, 2021

[Day 429]

After the traumas of getting myself registered with the NHS IT systems (detailed in last night’s blog), this morning I tried the ‘old-fashioned’ way of talking to a human by hanging onto the end of a telephone. The upshot of all of this was that I can expect a telephone call from one of the senior partners (who I know and respect, as he gave me some ‘hands-on’ treatment after one of my returns from hospital some three years ago now). The phone call is due some time this afternoon so we are having to abandon some of our plans to visit Droitwich today as we need to be near the end of a telephone to receive the telephone call from the doctor some time this afternoon. Whilst on this subject, the doctor did phone through at about 4.0pm and whilst I am being referred on as a result of some anomalies in my latest CT scan, it appears (as I suspected) that the radiographers trying to interpret the scan have no idea as to what is really going wrong. Anyway, it looks towards the trivial rather than the serious end of the spectrum so I shall to wait for an appointment and see what another group of medics has to say. But I did get the opportunity to get a referral done for my somewhat knackered shoulder (you will appreciate I am using specialised medical terminology at this point). After a late telephone call this afternoon, i have even got it organised for a session immediately before my Pilates session next Tuesday which could scarcely be better.

Today being quite a fine day, Meg and I followed our normal routine of picking up our newspapers and then making for the park. Fairly unusually, we did not bump into any of our normal ‘park friends’ this morning but the park seemed to be very quiet, for a change. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful spring day and we enjoyed the ambience.In fact, when we got home we threw together a kind of salad from bits and bobs – bit was still quite a full meal and quite satisfying, nonetheless. In the late afternoon, we had a flurry of excitement as we thought that we saw a fox gambolling in the sunshine at the distant end of our communal green area. Although we all thought we saw a fox, when a striped tail was waved in the air, we realised that is was rather a large ginger cat (not one of our regulars) and at a distance it was quite easy to mis-identify it. As we had rather a ‘chewy’ afternoon, we thought we would see if we get to Droitwich and have a meal out in on of favourite cafes/restaurants overlooking the town square. Tomorrow morning, I need to make a telephone call to make a booking (if that is possible these days)

In the COVID news today, the government have announced the first clinical trials for booster jabs (tweaked to be effective against all of the by now well-known variants?) to take place next month with the hope that a wave of using booster jabs may start in the autumn. Meanwhile, the number of Indian variant cases in the country as a whole has just hit 3,000 and has increased by 28% since Monday. Professor Van-Tam is saying that in the virus hotspots, then people should ‘think carefully’ about exercising their new freedoms – in other words, they should think very carefully about the freedoms that they have, weigh up the risks and be very cautious. This is tantamount to saying that whatever the end of the lockdown in the rest of the country, those in badly affected areas should act as though the lockdown was still in full force.

We are just starting to get some first analyses of the way in the whole COVID crisis has acted as a searchlight into the structural weaknesses of UK society. Broadly speaking, those communities that were already disadvantaged before the onset of the virus have been affected much more severely than the rest of the country. Next week, Dominic Cummings, the one-time influential special adviser to Boris Johnson and the current government is said to have a document which demonstrates conclusively some of the poor decision making over the implementations of the lockdowns. This is all going to be revealed next Wednesday to a House of Commons committee and the ‘trailers’ for this event are saying that these revelations might be explosive. However, one has to say that the highest death rate in Europe and an abundance of incidents of sleaze (contracts at the height of the emergency being handed out to friends with no routine tendering) the government is still far ahead in the opinion polls. It seems that the normal rules of politics have been reversed – whenever inadequacies are exposed in both the timing and the content of the government decision-making, the electorate seem not to be perturbed and allow Boris Johnson the benefit of whatever doubt exists.