Friday, 20th August, 2021

[Day 522]

Friday has come around again and it is the day that our domestic help ‘does’ for us so we always have a chat which takes up little longer in the morning than I suppose is good for us. We did have one domestic help, sadly departed from us for at least two decades, whose name was ‘Pep’ Smith. The ‘Pep’ bit came from her initials and she was known as Pep to everyone, including even her husband. Anyway on this particular morning I was taking a shower in the downstairs shower room that we had recently had constructed and I pranced gaily up the stairs in my birthday suit, totally obvious to the face that Pep Smith was hoovering away downstairs. Anyway, so as to not seem impolite, I called out ‘Morning, Mrs Smith’ as I bounded up the stairs. I did not dare to look down the stairs to see if Mrs Smith was gazing after my departed form and I do not even know to this day whether Mrs Smith actually looked up from her hoovering but neither of us mentioned it to the other. It cannot be the first (or the last time) that a similar thing has happened.

Meg and I decided as it was late in the day to go down to Waitrose by car to save a bit of time. When we got home, we just had a very light lunch of soup because we knew that later on in he evening we were going to have a family meal of fish and chips where we were going to discuss some joint financial thongs that we needed to discuss (quite amicably) round the dinner table. Halfway through the afternoon, we got the email that we had been half expecting. The travel agent who had been organising our little trip to Rome had written to say that the budget airline we were using had decided to cancel the flights both from Bristol and also from Birmingham and therefore the whole of the planned holiday vacation was ‘off’. We always knew that there was a 50:50 chance of this happening anyway so the news did not come as a great surprise. Anyway, at this point ‘Plan B’ swung into action. I immediately got onto the web to see what accommodation was available in the Brecon Beacons which has scenery similar to the Lake District but we have never actually visited before. After a few minutes of research, I was lucky to secure accommodation in a farmhouse only three miles out of the centre of Brecon which offered us five nights for what seemed to be a very good price. On the basis of good reviews from ‘’ (an average score of 9.2) and some very good reviews, it now looks as though we have secured ourselves a holiday even if not of the type we had at first thought. To be honest, even if it rains all the time (which it probably will) we can do our bit toddling around the sights and sounds of the Brecon Beacons before hunting out somewhere for a good lunch after which we will have our normal ‘siesta’ and crash out in the B&B which is equipped with a good TV and a kettle for late afternoon snacks. So at least we now having a holiday to which to look forward. In the last day or so, I have also made a more than tentative arrangement to shoot up the M6 to make a long delayed visit to Meg’s recently widowed cousin who is living in Bolton, Lancs. We are in contact with her daughter and will meet in her garden (if fine) or house (if not) and the date we have chosen is Sunday, October 3rd which just happens to be Meg’s 75th birthday. So if all goes well on this occasion, we can have a family reunion and a birthday celebration at the same time – hopefully the traffic will not be too bad at that time on a Sunday.

The COVID news does not look too good this weekend as the infection rate (and deaths) are up at about a rate of 11-12% over last weekend. I think the powers-that-be are worried that if the infection rate accelerates up during the autumn, then we will not be in a good position when COVID meets the ‘flu infection rates and we start another period of time when yet another lockdown may well be on the cards. So far, I think we are living in a more or less fool’s paradise where I suspect that things might start to get a lot worse than might be imagined. Of course, a crucial vector might be the rate of infection in the school based population who might go and infect the older generations. What I learnt during the week was that even the doubly vaccinated might still harbour enough of the virus particles to act as an infecting (and transmissibility) agent without their knowledge.