Sunday, 28th November, 2021

[Day 622]

Today being a Sunday was the day for me to get up early and walk down to our local newsagent. Yesterday we saw the aftermath of storm Arwen which did its worst yesterday. This morning it was quite cold but there was no icy wind so it was not an unpleasant walk for me this morning. In our hall at home, we have a piece of furniture called a ‘Monks bench’ which combines a temporary set with a cupbord underneath and in this we store hats, gloves and scarves. In the course of time, the contents have got rather jumbled so I spent a certain amount of time sorting out a pair of usable glothes from the jumble inside. Once I retrieved the various left hand and right hand gloves, I have left them all out so that we can have a good rationalisation. I retrieved, though, one pair with quite good cuffs on them and they made my hands as warm as toast on my walk down. After a breakfast of porridge (what else in these weather conditions), Meg was still feeling a little shivery so she stayed warm at home whilst I walked down to the park with a flask of coffee. There I met our University of Birmingham friend who was having a coffee with Seasoned World Traveller so once I had ascertained where they were in the park, I joined them in their coffee sojourn. We started off our conversation exchanging what we knew about the Omicron variant of COVID and then moving onto deeper questions,more related to the philosophy of science than anything else. Then it was time for me to drag myself away and make sure that the chicken I had put in the oven for lunch had not exploded or got overcooked. But everything was fine so lunch was quite easy to prepare. As it still quite a cold day, I am going to prepare the second half of our sweet potato and leek homemade soup into which I add one quarter of a tin of coconut milk and a soupspoon full of a Balti cooking sauce which should give it just a little degree of spice flavour, without being overwhelmed by it. This has again turned out OK, I am pleased to say.

On the subject of Omicron, Sky news is reporting the opinions of Professor Schoub, the award-winning author of ‘AIDS And HIV In Perspective’ who previously advised the World Health Organization (WHO) on several vaccine programmes He said: ‘This virus is a plastic virus – in other words, it tends to mutate very readily. And under conditions where it is mutating – particularly in people who might be partially immunosuppressed, in other words where they’re not getting rid of the virus – that remnant virus which remains will be selectively enriched to escape immunity and to become more transmissible‘

This is an interesting perspective and underlines the importance of getting as many of the population vaccinated as possible. There was a fairly heart-rending article in the edition of the ‘Sunday Times‘ today. This was written by a palliative care doctor who was explaining that many of the intensive care beds were actually filled with unvaccinated COVID patients. Some of them actually beg to be vaccinated – all of which is of course in vain. One can only imagine the psychological angst of the medics who are desperately trying to keep alive those in intensive care beds who are there only because they refused to believe in the efficacy of a vaccine which could have saved their lives.

Although the government has always claimed that schools were ‘safe’ places, they ignored the fact that school pupils could be carriers of the virus and could infect the adults around them in schools. But tonight, the government is suggesting that all Year 7 pupils (basically 11-12 years old and upwards), as well as all adults and visitors, must wear masks in communal areas. They are also privately desperate for the school holidays to begin in about 3-4 weeks time because this, too, will help to stop the spread of the virus. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is now carrying out targeted testing in places the person visited when they were likely to be infectious – including, it is thought, Westminster. Of course if Westminster is threatened, does this account for the speed of the government response? The UK government is calling for a meeting of all of the G7 health ministers so that a coordinated response to the new variant can be organised.

It seeems incredible to believe that the month of November has practically ended and on Wednesday, we will usher in the month of December. ClassicFM to which I listen a lot is heavily trailing the fact that Christmas music will have an official start next Wednesday which is, of course, 1st December. They must have taken a policy decision that exposing people to Christmas music before the end of November is not a good idea.