Monday, 24th January, 2022

[Day 679]

Meg and I woke up feeling tired this morning – perhaps the overcast and gloomy skies have got something to do with it. We knew we were going to have a slightly different routine this morning as we had scheduled dental appointments right in the middle of the day and there would not have been time to get our walk in and still get to the dentist on time. We have in our bathroom two of those ‘disposable’ electric toothbrushes that we find less aggressive than the expensive ones on the market. Both of these toothbrushes had tiny AAA batteries in them that had died so we set about to change them. Is it just me or is it made extraordinarily difficult to change the batteries in the disposable variety? One of them involved the most minute of grub screws that people of poor eyeseight might not even notice whilst the other required the combination of a thin-bladed screwdriver and a rubbery ‘cap remover’ (used to enhance one’s grip) to reveal its guts inside. Anyway I managed to get that done and then we thought we had better get a lateral flow test done on ourselves. Even though the modern versions of the test seem to miss out the throat swab before the nostril swab, I have read (somewhere) that you enhance the reliability of the test if you continue to perform the test on both throat and nose. This is what Meg and I did and it is always reassuring to find out that we are both negative. We both have the slightest of winter sniffles at the moment and it is possible that we could have tested positive but we live to fight another day. Then it was off to the dentist where each of us had to fill in three forms – one a patient information form, one a health questionnaire and the final one bing a COVID specific form. Anyway we both got seen with the minimum of fuss – although I have a slight cracking of the enamel around an old filling that will need to be put right in a week or so. As we were in the car, we picked up the newspaper and got straight home, not unhappy that we had missed out a walk as the weather is not too pleasant.

In the afternoon, I thought I spend another plesant hour communicating with the bank that looks after our communal facilities in order to navigate thir safeguarding procedures. All of this is because in the last few days I received one of their ‘We require more information..‘ type emails. I got through relatively quickly, passed their security but had the misfortune of getting a heavily accented voice at the other end who was difficult to understand. The upshot of all of this is that I have to wait and ignore the request in the last email because they are still in the process of evaluating the latest provided information. I am almost certain what the next step in the procedure is going to be and it won’t be a ‘we are pleased to inform you that you have complied with all our safeguarding procedures‘ type of letter but I suppose I have developed a lot of patience in all of this saga.

Whilst on the computer, I saw a clip on Sky News that I have never seen before. This was Lord Agnew, a government junior Treasury minister (in the Lords) with responsibility for combatting fraud resigning whilst actually at the dispatch box. He has resigned because the peer told the chamber that the Treasury ‘appears to have no knowledge or little interest in the consequences of fraud to our economy or our society‘, adding that a mix of ‘arrogance, indolence and ignorance freezes the government machine.’ Under these circumstances and with millions of pounds being handed to companies some of whom were not even trading, the peer felt it would be immoral to continue in post. The astonished lords even gave him a round of applause as he swept out of the chamber. Meanwhile, Dominic Cummings has announced that he will only give evidence to the Sue Gray enquiry into ‘partygate’ in writing rather than verbally (for somewhat obscure reasons) but he is also intimating that there is a lot more incriminating material out there in the form of emails or even photographs but that individuals are not releasing this just yet as they are being threatened by Boris Johnson’s coterie – however, Dominc Cummings has hinted that this may be released after the Sue Gray report sees the light of day. The Prime Minister has committed a ‘U’ turn by ordering a Cabinet office enquiry into the fate of the woman Muslim MP, Nusrat Ghani. She has claimed that a government whip has said to her that ‘her Muslimness was raised as an issue’ when she asked why she had lost her job as a junior Transport Minister.