Tuesday, 7th December, 2021

[Day 631]

Today was the day when Storm Barra (named by the Irish Meteorological Service) swept across the country and we knew that, according to all predictions, it ought to sweep across the Midlands mid-morning. In view of all of this and as it was my Pilates day as well (when we normally have a ‘tight’ turn around), we decided to go down to town by car so that we wouldn’t end up soaking wet. So we picked up our newspaper and headed for home so that we could have our elevenses snug at home rather than shivering on a park bench. Meg and I are gradually getting over our ‘sniffly’ colds thanks largely to some ‘colds and ‘flu’ capsules that we had stored away in a kitchen drawer waiting for a time when we would really need them (such as this). Once we had got home, I started to prepare some of the elements of lunch so that we could eat rapidly once I had got home from my Pilates class. Then I spent a certain amount of time looking around for some of the specialist Christmas socks I was certain I had bought last year. I did discover some with a discreet motif of reindeers on them but I was sure that I had purchased several more festive pairs last year but I couldn’t find them in my search through various sock drawers. My ‘reindeer’ socks were easily surpassed in festive spirit by the socks worn by my fellow class members so I shall have to do something about that by next Tuesday.

My thoughts are gradually turning to more Christmassy things, particularly now that Christmas cards are starting to arrive by every post. Prime amongst these concerns is trying to find out what has happened to the Christmas tree which we have purchased and now seems to be ‘stuck’ somewhere in the carriers (Hermes) When I try the tracking sytem I am informed ‘Parcel being processed in the depot’ but it has been like that for days. After my abortive efforts to get through to the retailers yesterday, I tried again to get through to the retailer who agreed that there was a problem. They consulted their stock records and as I feared, this particular model of Christmas tree is now out of stock. So I accepted the offer of a full refund (which might take 10 working days to process, by the way) and am left to contemplate my options. I got onto Amazon and ordered another tree, similar in design to the previous one but perhaps not quite as nice and certainly more expensive. However, this ought to arrive by tomorrow which means I get round to putting it up on Friday (with a bit of assistance from our domestic help were I to need it). The next Christmassy thing is to get my Christmas cards (computerised) list run off. If this works satisfactorily, then it considerably speeds up the mechanics of Christmas card writing but it is always a slightly anxious few minutes to make sure that the address label printing system works as intended without a lot of abortive and wateful trial runs to get it right before you initiate the final run. I have to check in my particular storage space if I have the right number of sheets of labels and, if necessary, order some more before I start this year’s run. Another Christmassy type job that I will have to think about is bottling at least some of my supplies of damson vodka/gin so that ‘Santa Claus’ can have his normal jaunty visit to members of my Pilates class this year.

Sky News has got a remarkable scoop this evening. Thy are reporting that the Labour Party has accused Number 10 staff of ‘laughing’ at the British public after footage emerged of Downing Street officials joking about a Christmas party during a time of strict COVID restrictions. In a video recording of what ITV News reported was a rehearsal for a TV media briefing, senior Number 10 aides were filmed talking and laughing about a Christmas party. According to the report, the footage is from 22 December last year – four days after an alleged Christmas party took place in Number 10. I wonder if the Downing staff will try and argue that just because you are rehearsing what you will say in the event that one’s party has been ‘discovered’ just not mean to say that that the party actually took place.

Boris Johnson is quoted tonight as opining that the Omicron variant of COVID appears to be more transmissible than the dominent Delta variant which is confirmed by the very rapid rise in the number of new cases reported daily. There were 101 new cases reported yesterday taking the total to 437, a 30% increase in one day. However, there are the slightest of slight indications that the new variant may be somewhat less likely to cause severe illness rather than the Delta variant but we shall have to wait about 2-3 more weeks before this prediction can be confirmed (or not)