Monday, 6th December, 2021

[Day 630]

We woke up to quite a raw day today but there no active frost or snow – just a constant icy drizzle. Last night, Meg and I were fighting off streaming colds so we treated ourselves to our second hot toddy of the day (whisky, sugar, lemon,boiling water) and took some cold and ‘flu relief powders as we were going to bed. We woke up feeling marginally better so perhaps the self-medication was proving its worth. I needed to pop into Waitrose to buy one or two things of which we were running short so we went down in the car, collected our newspaper and provisions from Waitrose and then shot home to have our elevenses at home. We cooked ourselves a small joint of gammon (transferred from yesterday) and then settled down for some afternoon chores. One of these consisted in hanging onto the help line of the customer services firm from which we have purchased an artificial Christmas tree but which has got stuck somehow at the carriers. I somehow feel this is a saga which is going to run and run but as I have already paid for the tree, I feel I must try and get through the suppliers (on the non-suppliers) somehow.

The health secretary has admitted that the latest Omicron figures are such that he is uncertain whether or not the UK will be knocked off by the latest figures which have now risen to 336. Sajid Javid has admitted that there is now ‘multiple community transmission’ which means basically that the new variant of the virus is all around us and looks as though it is outcompeting the Delta version of the virus and will become the dominant variant of the virus within a few weeks i.e. by Christmas. What I think is quite interesting is to see how a virus-weary population might respond to all of this and whether it will impact on the family visits and celebrations over the Christmas period. I would imagine that many of the traditional Christmas parties might be abandoned or radically scaled back but I doubt that it will stop people seeing their relatives as happened last Christmas.

We have received some very worrying news about my brother-in-law, still in hospital in Yorkshire. It looks as though the cancer from which he is suffering has spread from his spine to his liver so may sister and the rest of the family are preparing for some very sad news in the days and weeks ahead. Because of COVID restrictions, only one member of the fairly large family may see my brother-in-law at a time (my sister has four children and they all live fairly locally) The family are doing all that they can to support my sister who now seems resigned to the inevitable – but it is a very sad and troubling time for all of the family.

We are looking forward., if that is the right term, for the latest storm to sweep across the country. It looks as though we are in for a period of high winds and freezing temperatures – but the snow looks as though it may fall mainly on the high ground and in the already afflicted north east areas of the country. I think it was a hardy Scandinavian who coined the epithet ‘there is never bad weather, just inappropriate clothing‘ so I suppose we need to prepare ourselves with multiple layers of jumpers supplemented by good outerwear, gloves, scarves, hats and sound footwear plus trekking poles (if the need should arise). Tomorrow is the day when I traditionally walk down to my Pilates class and it looks as though the height of the storm might just be as I am undertaking my walk. But, ‘sufficient to the day is the evil thereof‘ as the good book says.

A most extraordinary new principle by which we are policed has just been announced. Some Labour MPs have reported to the Metropolitan Police (in the capital) that Downing Street had had a party about this time in contravention of the then regulations. A spokesman for the police has announced ‘we do not investigate transgressions of the regulations that might have occurred in the past’ (in other words, they don’t want to tangle with the political elite who do not feel themselves bound by the same rules as the rest of us) As has been suggested on Twitter, one could always try this out on the police next time one has an encounter with the police, say for a traffic offence: ‘Well, I might have been speeding in the past, officer, but I am not speeding at the moment.‘ It is also reported in the headline in today’s Times that Boris Johnson is to instruct the members of his government if any of their actions are subjected to judicial review that they should ignore the rulings. This is the start of an authoritarian progression which means that the very foundations of our democracy are being undermined by a Prime Minister who is beholden to the right wing of the Conservative party.