Wednesday, 28th July, 2021/H1>

[Day 499]

Today I was carrying on with my isolation procedure and fortunately it was quite a fine day. This morning I had a telephone conversation with a financial adviser who had also advised my son and daughter-in-law recently. This turned out to be quite a brief telephone call and confirmed that the long term plans I had been putting in place were quite sound, so this turned out to be very reassuring telephone call. We have arranged another one for several months ahead to check that everything is still sound so we can now make progress with some degree of confidence. The rest of the morning was a fairly restful affair – we watched the dressage in the Olympic Games in which the British rider gained a bronze and were mightily impressed by the way in which the horses, in particular, performed their particular routines. This afternoon I needed to take the car down to our practice surgery in order to hand in a sample for analysis – fortunately, if you can get in and out of the car park within 15 minutes than you can do this without charge. I had a little job to get done this afternoon which was to clean up a storage box which I keep down in Mog’s Den – the whole idea of this was the I could keep some essential tools dry and easily to hand so that I would not be constantly running in and out of the garage for any gardening requisites that I happen to need. I always seem to need a handy supply of green garden twine to hand, plus a little pair of scissors, so that plants can get tied up in plenty of time and before the wind and rain can batter them down. I had almost completed this little cleaning up job when the thunderstorm and hail rolled across the garden so, not for the first time, I had to do a rapid clearing up and retreat into the garage to finish off my little cleaning job. Needless to day, the minute I had finished, the storm clouds rolled away and we got a wonderful burst of late afternoon sunshine which 1s often the way.

Halfway through the afternoon, I got a telephone call from the hospital where I was due to have some investigations on Friday afternoon – however, could I go in a day early and get into the hospital for tomorrow afternoon rather than Friday. I had to get do a quick check with the rest of the family to make sure that they could still take me and bring me back from these procedures so all being well that means one day less waiting. I suspect a certain amount of mis-communication has been taking place because the initial telephone call inviting me along to the procedure indicated Thursday, the official letter when it arrived said Friday and now we have another urgent call to reinstate the Thursday. To be fair, juggling appointments in these COVID days must be awkward with a combination of patient ‘no-shows’ and any other emergency events that throw the best laid plans awry.

The political news today is that the government intends to lift quarantine restrictions from the EU and the USA if it can be demonstrated that they have had a double vaccination – to be effective from 2nd August. What is the great unknown is whether other countries will reciprocate in a similar way – at the moment, for example, if you want to go on holiday to Italy (which Meg and I do, in late September) then as things stand at the moment we would have to quarantine ourselves for five days out of a ten day holiday. But to be fully reciprocal, we would want the Italians to let us holiday without quarantine in the same way that Italians will be able to do when coming to England. The other major change is that the government is intending that as from 16th August, double vaccinated people who are ‘pinged’ by the Test-and=Trace app will not be under a legal obligation to self isolate or to undertake a COVID test unless they are exhibiting symptoms. This is all part of the gradual winding down of the COVID regulations but, of course, if we were to have a sudden upsurge in infection rates then all of this might have to be put into reverse very rapidly.

I have been thinking a little about the tremendous efforts that some of our Olympic athletes have made in order to compete in the games and, in particular, the ways in which training regimes might impinge upon the lives of other family members (e.g. conveying offspring to far-off swimming pools that might open early to accommodate a training session for would be Olympic athletes). Does one have to be self-centred to an extraordinary degree (and be massively ‘selfish’) to fulfil one’s ambition? (The same thought applies to prominent academics who might have acquired their PhD through the dedication of other family members who sacrificed their own careers for the sake of another family member?)