Tuesday, 5th January, 2021

[Day 295]

Today started off with a fairly clear sky which indicated that we might have quite a fine day today. It is going to be interesting to observe how closely the impending 3rd lockdown will be observed today which was only announced by Boris Johnson at 8pm yesterday evening. In law, the lockdown only starts at a minute past midnight on Wednesday morning but we were being encouraged to start the lockdown straight away. As it turned out, the day turned out to be a comparatively ‘normal’ day. The volume and validity of the traffic seemed to be no different to any other day and we made our way to our newspaper shop, wondering whether this was to be classed as an essential service and was therefore going to keep open during the lockdown. We joked with the shopkeepers that the shop was evidently an essential service to the public as it sold both chocolate and wine (as well as newspapers). We then made our way to the park which had slightly more than its normal complement of children – Meg and I surmised that they had probably been informed (by text message) that the school was closed (or at least ‘not open’ for the majority of children) and hence they had come to the park to amuse themselves and/or let off steam. We ate our comestibles but an icy wind developed so we were glad to get going and into some pale winter sunshine. On our way back up the hill, we bumped into some of our oldest friends who were having some problems with the water supply into their property and the water board was there with a ‘gizmo’ which detects the presence of water underground. I have no idea how these detection devices work, by the way, unless it is by the means of some ground-penetrating radar or a similar technology. Whilst we were chatting, I gave them the jar of compôte I had been carrying around with me for a day or so now and I hope that it hasn’t gone ‘off’ before they have a chance to enjoy it.

We had no particular plans for this afternoon and intended to have a fairly easy afternoon. I was pleased to receive my fairly large parcel of address labels which I only order once every few years. I tend to buy them 1,000 at a time and they last for many years but at Christmas time, I tend to use them up in great quantity as I always stick a spare label in each Christmas card I send so that I know that th recipients have our latest contact details. On this occasion, I did take the opportunity of squeezing the lines of text a little so that I could include my mobile access number as well as our landline. However, I find that today there are a variety of other electronic-type addresses that you sometimes wish to convey which will not fit onto a conventional address label. So I am treating myself to an additional set of labels which I shall use sparingly which contains details of my mobile, email, website homepage and a couple of blog addresses (WordPress version and a text-based alternative). This afternoon, I took some time to hunt out our official NHS numbers which I intend to keep easily accessible as I may need them both in the fairly nature future. When we were chatting about the availability of the vaccine which we hope will be offered to us within the next 4-5 weeks, it is quite important that we have our NHS numbers easily available. It is evident (to us) that before we can receive any vaccine, those responsible for the vaccination will have to link onto our NHS records so that our eligibility can be confirmed. At the same time, once we receive our vaccinations, it is evident that our records will have to be updated and presumably the NHS number will act as link between the vaccinator’s own database and the rest of our NHS records. When you go to hospital and hand in a blood or urine sample, the nurse generally runs off a special label with the official patient details which can go onto the sample bottle. I typically ask the nurse if they will run off one or two spares and these ‘official’ labels can then go into my diaries and the like. In my own case, I had a spare label so I was catered for. In Meg’s case, I hunted through some old medical records and discovered a letter inviting her to a radiology appointment some ten years before but this letter contained details of name, address, date of birth and NHS number. These I managed to seal into a self laminating pouch so that means that I now have to hand both my own and Meg’s NHS numbers for when the vaccination call eventually comes. I am anticipating that I may be called in for a vaccine jab within some five or six weeks but we shall have to wait and see.

In the late afternoon, we were going to FaceTime some of our ex-Waitrose friends by prior arrangement but the Prime Minister was due to make a special broadcast so we watched this- complete with the news that something like 2% of the UK population is/has been infected with the COVID-19 virus which is quite a sobering thought. After this, we had a good long hour and a half chat with our friends before we settled down to a light supper of rice pudding plus our own special damson compôte (which was delicious).