Today was a rather gloomy day with quite a lot of low hanging cloud without actually raining. I was somewhat delayed this morning for a variety of reasons. For a start, Meg was not feeling very well and decided to spend the morning in bed. I needed to make two medical appointments – one was an eye appointment and the second was with my GP for some checkups.The first appointment was quite easily made as it was all done through the web but the second involved a long wait on the telephone to make a GP appointment. I do not find it any surprise that several conditions are not being treated in time when it is so difficult to make a GP appointment. After listening to all of the routine messages, I then had to choose an option from a list none of which was the normal ‘Would you like to make an appointment with a GP?’ Instead you had to choose option No. 5 (Other) and then hang on the phone for 15 minutes until the phone was actually answered and you got a human being at the other end who could book an appointment. For some reason which I cannot comprehend, the all-singing, all-dancing website which my practice offers does not give you the opportunity to book an appointment with your GP – or at least, when I have tried I get a ‘Service not available’ message. I do not know whether it is like this all over the country but an effect of the pandemic seems to make make life almost impossible for what you might term ‘routine doctoring’ Having got these appointments made, though, I started to go into town but coincided with our gardener who was busy doing a neighbour’s garden but was scheduled to come to us next Thursday. This was a heaven sent opportunity for me as I have a little area of garden known affectionately as ‘Mog’s Den‘ which is at the bottom of quite a steep slope on the edge of our property. Under normal circumstances, I like to keep this well tended but this year things have rather got out of hand and this area had got tother neglected. Some of the nettles are several feet high but I feel sure that it can soon be got in hand if I can spare the time. Anyway, I have enlisted the help of our gardener so that we can put in a couple of hours and I feel that working side-by-side, we can probably make enough impression on the plot to make it quite manageable from now on. I carried on walking into town and collected our newspapers before getting a few provisions for our daughter-in-law from our local Waitrose. Then it was s straightforward walk home (meeting no-one on the way as I bypassed the park) and finally came home to make preparations for lunch.
After lunch, I gave myself a little bit of time to read ‘The Times’ and then I was determined to do half an hour’s ‘rough’ gardening on the border by the side of our communal green area in front of the house and then half an hour doing some computer-based work before setting down to watch the football at 5.00pm. In practice, the gardening proved to be a lot tougher (with some historic bracken intruding from what had been a field next to the house before it got built upon) so the 30 minutes became 45 minutes and there was just enough time to get cleaned up and settle down for the football. This was the match between Spain and Croatia and it proved to be one of the fascinating – and tense – of the whole competition. The Spanish gave away a particularly silly goal in the first half when the goalkeeper casually handled a back pass to him from one of his own backs and watched the ball dribble into his own net. The Spanish managed to equalise and then went ahead to score two more goals so that it looked as they were cruising to victory with only about ten minutes to spare. Then Croatia scored and it was 3-2 and finally Croatia scored another in injury time and it was 3-3 – and injury time. So it was extra time but the Spanish managed to score two quick goals to make the score 5-3 and it appeared that they were cruising for victory but with one or two scares on the way. The relief all round when the final whistle came was palpable.
The Covid cases are climbing quite rapidly now – the latest reported figure ws 22,800 which sounds horrendous. But two additional factor are kicking on on this occasion compared with earlier waves of the pandemic. Firstly infections are not leading to hospitalisation as it did earlier on. An analysis in today’s ‘Times‘ reports research that the death rate from the virus is now 1 in a 1,000 (0.01%) – even amongst the vulnerable 75+ age group, the death rate has dropped from over 15% at the height of the pandemic last winter to less than 2% now. Perhaps this is why the rapidly increasing infection rate is not causing too many alarm bells to ring.