Friday, 5th June, 2021

[Day 445]

Today, the spell of fine weather continues and so we were delighted to start our walk, after our customary chat and exchange of news with our domestic help who has been ‘doing’ for us for at least the last ten years. Then we made our way into town but did it in a series of ‘three hops’ so that Meg could manage the various stages in the heat without undue distress. First we popped down to our local Waitrose and Meg sat outside on some benches whilst I popped around the corner to pick up the newspapers. Then we both ventured forth into town and bought some toiletries from a local ‘Health and Beauty’ type shop – having completed the second leg of our venture we could not wait until we continued to the park and consumed our coffee and comestibles (the only slight problem being that any of the local dogs who have been let off the lead bound towards us in the inspection that they might get fed). After that, it was home for a fairly quick lunch before we settled down to our Friday afternoon activities. The principal activity was to get the lawns cut which includes the communal green area which is in front of the house (and which I have affectionately in the past nicknamed as ‘Meg’s Meadow’) and then our own private lawn towards the rear. The lawns look so much better once they have been transformed from their wispy appearance once the dandelions have done their worst to a much tidier condition which looks great in the afternoon sunshine. Then I needed to get some heavy stone pots which I had recently acquired into the positions I had chosen for them. My daughter-in-law helped me with some of the heavy lifting involved and then we scoured the garden for some plants with which to populate them. Our daughter-in-law had already been busy with her dahlias which she had uncovered ready for the new season and she had sown and planted some sunflowers (in variety) in various parts of the garden so we just have to give them a bit of TLC now in order for them to thrive.

In the early evening, one of my ex-colleagues from Hampshire FaceTimed me (we generally do each Friday evening and he always seems to have such a busy life with organising this, that and the other) We are still vaguely wondering whether it would be possible to book ourselves away for a few nights in North Wales and, as things stand, we should be seeing Meg’s cousin in about three weeks time. Last night, I made some tentative attempts to make a booking at the Holiday Inn we have used several times before but did not get anywhere. So this morning, I telephoned them only to be informed that they are not contemplating opening again until July at the earliest. (I am not quite sure whether this is because they come under the Welsh lockdown rules which differ a little from the English, in any case).

I am finding it interesting that a lot of political heat is being generated today by the Government’s decision to move Portugal from the ‘green’ category (no quarantines) to the ‘amber’ category (which implies a fortnight’s quarantine plus a couple of tests upon your return) It seems that one of the factors behind the government’s decision is an understandable nervousness about exposing British holiday makers to the ‘Nepalese’ variant (which seems to be a variant upon the Indian variant) It might be the the UK government are being over-cautious at this point, but I don’t think so. They were rightly criticised for delaying putting ‘India’ in the ‘red’ zone thereby exposing the great British public to potentially hundreds or even thousands of people flying in from India perhaps carrying the new mutant strain of the virus with them.Now without wishing to sound ethnocentric, it must be of concern when a variant itself mutates because the so-called ‘Nepalese’ variant could evade all of our current vaccines and our subsequent defences.

The COVID news tonight sounds genuinely scary to me as coronavirus cases in the community rocketed by 76.5% in just one week, official data for England indicates. Waves of infection have got to start off from very small beginnings and this looks incredibly like the start of another wave to me. Also, the R rate has moved up too a figure in the rate 1.0-1.2 which probably means about 1.1 This means that every 10 infected people will generate a further eleven infections and so on. The date for the end of all lockdowns (21st June, only 17 days away) is now looking very uncertain at this stage. If we were to completely unlock down then, we might be releasing the whirlwind!

Tonight, Donald Trump has been banned from FaceBook for the next year and a half at least.The timing means Mr Trump will not be able to use his accounts ahead of the November 2022 national midterm elections, when his Republican party will be competing for congressional seats. But tens of millions of Republican voters are still providing Trump with their support (at least nominally)