Tuesday, 15th December, 2020

[Day 274]

Tuesdays are typically quite busy days and so it proved today. Having just got our supply of Christmas cards, we knew that one of the first priorities would be to get the overseas cards (to Spain) written and posted – and this would entail a visit to our local Post Office. We had five in total to post and had anticipated that Mondays would be murderous in the Post Office (as people would have written cards and packed parcels over the weekend) so always had in mind to get to the Post Office on Tuesday. To speed things up, we took the car and parked in our local Waitrose car park – as it turned out there were only about six people in the queue in the Post Office and so we were in and out quite quickly. What we did find was a shock, though, was the price of a first class stamp. These are 76p each and due to rise to 85p on 1st January- a 12% increase. No doubt the Post Office is trying to recoup some of the loss of revenues as fewer and fewer people are now sending Christmas cards these days. However, it was a relief to get out cards destined for Spain into the system (and beating the day recommended for posting) by one day. In the park, we happily drank our coffee and chatted gaily away with our Italian friend who was taking a turn in the park. Then we realised that we had precious little time left so we jumped into the car, gathered up my Pilates gear (we have to take our own mat these days for understandable reasons) and walked briskly down into town. I regaled my fellow class members of my (dream!) adventures last Monday morning where I had felt tired after flying to Spain and back and running down to Pilates in a on-piece shocking pink onesie. One of the other class members indicated I must be ‘somewhere’ on a scale! Having said, we had a jocular session as is normal and next week is the week when traditionally in our Pilates class, Santa comes to call with a supply of damson gin. We shall have to wait and see.

I had intended to spend what remained of the afternoon after we had our lunch (delayed by my Pilates venture) by starting to process our Christmas cards. In the event, I spent some manipulating my Christmas card labels program so that I could write a bit of family news onto an address label and then have this duplicated several times so the I am not writing the same thing on card after card. I know that some people from whom we receive cards must do this but I wonder at their patience.

Now that Joe Biden has been ‘formally’ elected president by the US Electoral College, he has come out fighting with a scathing attack upon soon to be ex-President Trump. It is interesting to note that eventually, the leader of the Republicans in Congress has congratulated Joe Biden upon his win but only after congratulations had come winging their way from both Russia and China. One thing that is seriously worrying those who follow politics seriously in the USA is the fact that so many Republicans have still failed to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the presidential election quite legitimately. Some senior Republicans have now recognised and even congratulated president-elect Joe Biden but the sizeable number of Republicans who have not is helping the view to gain credence in a sizeable minority of the American electorate that Joe Biden is not their legitimate president. As I write this, the White House is still refusing to acknowledge the fact of Trump’s defeat.

Tomorrow is the date when the revisions to the Tier levels will be published. But what has caused a greater shock is the fact that the whole of London has moved into Tier 3 and this has proved a profound psychological shock to many Londoners, as well as a threat to many businesses. There is a massive breach building up between the world view of the scientific community who by and large want to see Christmas effectively cancelled or massively curtailed and the political class who recoil from the notion of effectively cancelling Christmas. As I write, Esther Rantzen is on Channel 4 News arguing that Christmas should effectively be moved to the summer solstice (June 21st rather than December 21st) and that three-year-olds should be discouraged from ‘hugging’ (and hence ‘killing’) granny for Christmas. The mantra from government used to be that they ‘follow the science’ but that is not being heard at all these days. Whilst there is quite a fierce debate going on between various columnists, it is interesting that the older generation (of which I am one) is generally holding to the view that having come this far, surely we can go on for a few more weeks of semi-lockdown!