Tuesday, 24th November, 2020

[Day 253]

The month of November has just flown by and it seems incredible that we are only a week away from the end of the month and eight days before the end of the lockdown. The rules have just been announced for how as a society we will ‘celebrate’ (if that is the right word) Christmas this year. It seems that we shall be allowed to form a temporary three-household Christmas ‘bubble’ from 23rd-27th September which by my reckoning is the Wednesday of Christmas week until the Sunday, with Christmas Day itself being on the Friday. I can foresee that there may well be some problems how people are to interpret and behave in accordance with the new regulations. It is being pointed out the the coronavirus does not know it is Christmas and it is probable that we have to deal with a spike of infections in January as the increased social interactions will have given the virus more time to spread.

Today was a bit of grey and overcast day but it did not threaten any rain so we managed to collect our newspapers and enjoy our perambulation in the park as per usual. As well as the normal supply of ducks we also enjoy the presence of flock of gulls, except I am not sure which actual breed of gull it is (not a ‘seagull’ in any case) I counted up to forty of this morning and no doubt they feed on the bread which is often brought along (contrary to the advice given by the park officials) to feed the wildlife in the area.

We met with our Italian friend on the way down to the park this morning. She, quite rightly, takes all of the precautions advise to deal with the pandemic very seriously but it was interesting to know that she is in regular contact with members of her extended family in Italy and none of them, to my knowledge, have succumbed to the virus. In the late afternoon, I went through my ‘stepper’ routine which I am now resolved to do regularly and then we FaceTimed some of our ex-Waitrose friends. They have been through the wars a little, medically speaking, but had some good news to tell us. As they are in the category of ‘clinically extremely vulnerable groups’ then they were finding it difficult to get out and receive their routine ‘flu jab. However their medical practice had realised that according to the policy of rigid shielding they both had difficulties getting out to the surgery for their ‘flu jabs. However, the practice nurse had come to their house (well, a window actually) and had administered the ‘flu jabs to them both. In addition, she conveyed the news that the army was due to deliver supplies of the new Oxford University/AstraZenica vaccine as soon as it has received approval and they were in the highest priority group to receive the vaccine perhaps even well before Christmas. Whether this is possible or not I really could not say but our friends were delighted to discern a light at the end of the tunnel and were looking forward when they could get out and have a bit of fresh air and a change of scene.

In the US, the General Services Administration has declared president-elect Joe Biden the apparent winner of the US election, clearing the way for the formal transition from Donald Trump’s administration to begin after weeks of delay. The GSA said on Monday that it had determined that Biden was the winner of the 3 November race after weeks of Trump refusing to concede and violating the traditions of the transition of power at the White House. So whilst Donald Trump has not (and probably never will) concede that he has lost the election, he has at least authorised the executive of the General Services Administration to release funding which will allow for the orderly transition of power to Joe Biden. A key date will come in a few days time on December 14th when the Electoral College will meet – and formally cast the states allocation of votes according to the winner in each state. As the situation stands at the moment, Joe Biden has 306 of these votes and Donald Trump 232 – evidently, in a very close election, the winner of the election is the candidate who gets to 270 votes out of a total of 538 Electoral College votes. Sometimes, some individual electors do not vote the way they have been mandated by the popular vote in the state but we shall have to wait and see if there are any such shenanigans this year.