Thursday, 10th December, 2020

[Day 269]

We seem to have been on a much more even keel today with no early morning appointments apart from the weekly delivery from Waitrose, which has become a weekly fixture in our calendar. The weather had improved just a tad so we worked down the hill with only a little adverse breeze in our faces. At our little newspaper shop, I was delighted that our new little ‘system’ seems to have worked because the minute I walked in, I was presented with our two daily newspapers of choice. We then popped into Waitrose to get some eggs that had been missed off the main order and so on to the park. Although we started off in some wan sunshine, the weather had all turned quite cold by the time we got to the park so we drank our coffee in some haste and did not tarry before we struck off for home. We knew that we had to have fairly quick turn around because our regular hairdresser was coming to the house to give Meg a perm (and I get a haircut that is fitted in the intervals between the rituals of a perm). On way or another, these hairdressing activities seemed to occupy a lot of the afternoon. I always ask our hairdresser if she can only snip up the grey hairs and leave the rest intact and she tries to oblige.

The COVID-19 news today is interesting if a little disturbing. Hospitals have been receiving more and more cases and it could just be that we are at the start of a third wave of the pandemic. I might add that the second wave is only just past its peak. In the meanwhile, the whole of London is right on the verge of being moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3 (the highest Tier) and perhaps next Wednesday is the critical date when the distribution of areas between Tiers will be adjusted. There is also some evidence that schoolchildren may be transferring the virus from one section of the community to another – there is a suggestion that mass testing will be rolled out for all school children aged 11-18 across London, Essex and Kent (well, I suppose it makes change from the declining areas in the Midland and the North). The news from the USA is similarly chilling as today, for the first time ever, deaths have exceeded 3,000 and 106,000 people are hospitalised with the virus across the country. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) in the USA are predicting another 72,000 deaths in the next four weeks. Meanwhile 10 counties in California have run completely out of critical care beds – California is the richest state in the richest country on earth but there again, the Americans do not have our NHS!

Boris Johnson is now softening up the population for what appears to be an inevitable ‘no deal’ with the EU by announcing that there is a ‘strong possibility of no deal. The interesting question now becomes what the Brexiteers will make of all this because there is a strand of Brexit opinion which really does not want to leave with a ‘no deal’ One can almost hear the excuses for a ‘no deal’ that are already being prepared i.e. all of the fault of the dastardly EU not to mention the French who will not allow the English to trade with them on an ‘unlevel playing field’ i.e. the UK wants to trade with a competitive advantage by offering lower wages and conditions than the rest of the EU. When the reality of ‘no deal’ hits the general population, there may well be adverse reactions. One of the first of these is that medical insurance at massively inflated prices may make European travel too expensive for many who wish to take a holiday in continental Europe, now that the EHIC card will no longer apply. Phone charges for data roaming will also increase rapidly. We haven’t started to think yet about the food and medical shortages, traffic jams across the whole of Kent, ports brought to a standstill and so on. Of course, there is sways the possibility of a really last minute deal (as in the Greek case) but it looks more and more like the typical Greek tragedy when one can see the inevitable unfolding before one’s eyes!