Friday, 30th July, 2021

[Day 501]

I suppose in last night’s blog that I should have commented upon the fact that this blog is now 500 days since its inception which is about a year and a third in total – it is amazing how quickly the time has flown. Today has been very much ‘the day after the day before’ as I have been recovering from yesterday’s medical investigations which, whilst not being particularly traumatic, were certainly invasive – so I am taking life in the slow (slower?) lane for the next day or so. Today was a particularly rainy day about which we were relieved – it is quite easy to feel smug when the rains come but you are basically ‘gardened up’ and you are quite happy to let the rain work its magic on recent plantings. We spent some chatting, as is customary, with our domestic help who visits us once per week. In truth, we do discuss cooking, diet and many lifestyle things with her and I suspect that we learn a lot more from her than she does from us. This morning we went down to Waitrose by car and treated ourselves to our customary coffee and what-have-you. We explained to the regular staff who know us well why they had not seen us for several days. Then I went round the store buying a few things that I knew I had omitted from our weekly order and a few extra things that I intend to try out and substitute for other parts of our weekly diet. In particular, I need to avoid anything with seeds in it so I am trying to get used to some new variety in our normal diet.

This afternoon, as it had been raining quite hard, I devoted myself to getting my accounts and bank statements up-to-date and reconciled – this is a task I should really do once a week but occasionally things get let slip and I have a few weeks to catch up on. The trick is to get a regular day each week, I suppose, so I suppose I had better develop some better housekeeping habits from now on. Next week, I intend to seriously get our house de-cluttering underway but, as always, this is evidently easier said than done. I think I am going to start on two fronts simultaneously – excess clothing upstairs on the one hand and excess books downstairs on the other. I somehow think the excess clothing will be an easier problem to solve – if it hasn’t been worn in the last two years, then it can probably go to one of the abundance of charity shops that have {eventually) reopened along the Bromsgrove High Street.

The COVID situation is interesting, to put it mildly. One the one hand, it looks as though the amount of ‘Test-and-Trace’ referrals is reducing. But as Sky News reports:

While the government dashboard shows reported cases fell by a third in the week to 24 July, new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the real trend was in the opposite direction. The ONS estimates that almost 952,000 people in the UK were infected during that week – a rise of more than 14% on the previous week. The ONS does random tests every week of large numbers of people, whether or not they have symptoms. This gives the most comprehensive picture of the UK situation because it includes asymptomatic infections

Now this is all very interesting. On the one hand, one part of the government machine is showing data that might appear to show the infection situation is improving. One the other hand, the government is in possession of data from the authoritative Office of National Statistics (ONS) which shows that the situation is much worse than would be good for public consumption. Incidentally, the ONS data is reinforced by the survey of water treatment facilities which also shows that the incidence of the virus is much worse than might be imagined. So it looks as though the 3rd wave of the virus is far from over. It is possible that infections could absolutely soar – at one stage, 100,000 new cases was mentioned. On the other hand, if people continue to wear masks, socially distance and take recommended precautions (including the now prominent messages on the importance of good ventilation) then the infection rate could be put into a ‘real’ reverse and eventually decline. There are many implicit agendas going on here. One is that the government is not too unhappy in high infection rates amongst the young to eventually achieve a level of herd immunity whilst the summer months are with us and before COVID cases coincide with the ‘normal’ winter flue patterns which, combined, could put the NHS under almost intolerable pressure.

Some interesting American political developments are in the offing. It looks as though Donald Trump’s tax returns must be handed to Congress according to the US Justice Department. This does remind one of Al Capone – wasn’t he eventually ‘done for’ by his evasion of tax returns? The parallels are striking.