Thursday, 29th December, 2022

[Day 1018]

I got up at an early hour this morning and spent some time getting all of my Christmas card impedimenta (spare cards, envelopes, news labels, address labels, address books and so on) neatly put away for next year. Because getting the Christmas cards is always done in rush, then I find that all of this has to be tidied up at a later date and that later date is today. I need to ensure that everything is ship shape so that when the season comes along next year, I will be ready for the off. Today was my normal shopping day at Aldi’s but when I got there at one minute to eight, I witnessed an extraordinary sight. There was a queue of about 20 people (mainly young men) and the minute that the store opened, there was a dash for one particular carousel in which a special sports drink, called ‘Prime’ was being made available in a special promotion. The special drink advertised as a ‘hydration drink’, contains mostly water added with vitamins and minerals and has few calories with no added sugar. I was told by a staff member that the drink sold at £10 but was retailed at Aldi for £1.99. This appears to have been a demand completely artifically created by social media (TicToc for example). It seems incredible to report this but according to Google, some people have been queuing since 6.00am this morning at some stores to acquire the drink and the queue has amounted to hundreds in other stores. The regular shoppers and I exchanged some mutters in which the common sentiment was that the world had gone mad, that people had more money than sense and similar sentiments. This should have been a fairly light week after the heavy Christmas shop of last week but as we are having neigbours around we needed to buy some types of party food and some extra alcohol such as a white, a red and a Prosecco to cater for all tastes.

After breakfast, Meg and I went on the road to a furniture warehouse which both receives and sells second hand furniture. We need a small occasional table for a particular use but when we got to the warehouse, it was evidently closed. It looks as though they may not start normal business for a few days so shall have to keep my desires in check for a few days yet. Then we returned home to have our elevenses at home. This afternoon, our son and daughter-in-law are due to call around so we did a bit of a tidy up before they arrived. Then we had an interesting afternoon, consuming some of a special sweet they had brought with them whilst we showed them some of the ways in which we had equipped and now use the room which we have now christened as ‘the music room’ My daughter-in-law and I spent some time discussing two outstanding documentaries that we just happened to see on the same channel last night. The first of these was an examination of the Bayeux tapestry in the light of modern knowledge and scientific research. By examining the tools of the craftsmen, for example, one can learn by what methods their long boats were constructed. The second program was fronted by Chris Packham (the naturalist) on the subject of Tyrannosaurus Rex. We now have the accumulation of much more scientific research that argues that this dinosaur’s history needs to be re-thought. For example, the absolute crushing force of the dinasaurs jaws has now been convincingly calculated. It is also probable that the dinosaur’s gait owes more to birds than to mammals and the huge tail was probably used as a counter-weight to the enormous head whilst it was running.

We have a situation in which travellers coming from China are not, as yet, tested when they enter the UK. It is now known that the main airport in the Italian city of Milan started testing passengers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai on 26 December and discovered that almost half of them were infected. So are we risking missing new variants by not testing people from COVID hotspots? The UK, which was led by PM Boris Johnson when the pandemic took hold in 2020, has been criticised for its handling of the public health crisis, having been slow to spot the infections arriving and late with a lockdown compared to other major countries. The big worry for scientists and officials is new variants entering the UK which could be more virulent and more contagious than the ones already circulating. My own guess on all of this, and it is only a guess, is that the UK will impose restrictions but maybe it is a case of ‘too little – too late’

Tomorrow will be quite a full day for us as we have accepted an invitation for coffee in the morning with our French friend down the road. We have a slight clash of engagements as we also got an invite to visit our Irish friends who happen to live next door but we will have to seize another opportunity whilst we can. We are then entertaining our new neightbours from across the green who only moved in a week ago so this will prove to be a useful ‘getting to know each other’ afternoon tea.