Tuesday, 12th January, 2021

[Day 302]

Today’s date is one of those interesting ones which occur from time to time as it can be written: 12.1.21, which if you examine it means that it can be written backwards and the date will remain exactly the same. This is called a palindromic date and there are various cult groups who both study these things and also make dire predictions about them. For example, one cultish type group is convinced that the world is going to end today (but what happens when they wake up in the morning and find they are still alive?) Notwithstanding all of this, we were a little delayed on our walk down into the town today but encountered one of our near neighbours who we have not seen over the whole of the Christmas period and also our Italian friend who lives further down the hill. The topic of conversation soon turned to when we might receive the call to be vaccinated and our best guess is that this will probably be within about 2-3 weeks time. The government is hoping to have all of the over 70-year olds and the especially vulnerable vaccinated by the middle of February which is in some five weeks in time. Although there are some mass vaccination clinics being set up around the country, whether we would want to go and queue up in central Birmingham (the site of our nearest mass clinic) is uncertain. One rumour is that supplies of the Oxford AstraZenica vaccine actually arrived at our group practice last Friday, but, as with so many things in life, we shall have to wait and see. We were somewhat delayed because a gentleman we have met before in the park engaged us in conversation and the question tuned to politics – I might hasten to add that I never initiate a conversation like this but will not run away from the challenge. When I was asked if I could challenge the fact that the vast majority of the universities and the press in this country were left-wing, I realised that this conversation might not end well. So I got in a few parting shots (e.g. Brexit was hardly the last word in democracy as only 37% of the population actually voted for it, that referenda were beloved of fascist dictators and were generally used on the right to engineer social change and so on) and we then made our way homewards for a belated lunch.

In the afternoon, we had a couple of video calls to make. First I called one of our Hampshire friends whose wife had been ill and had had to have some further investigations but so far, these have turned out to be reassuring negative. We spent a lot of time comparing notes on the minutiae of the American ‘coup’ attempt by the Trump brigade and then turned to more domestic matters. After we had been chatting for an hour, it was time to terminate that call and start another with some of our ex-Waitrose friends here in Bromsgrove and we were chatting for some 75 minutes before we realised that our tea-time was approaching.

The pandemic news as well as the American news continues to dominate. After the announcements of yesterday when the politicians were arguing for more complete adherence to the lock-down rules, we imagined that the police and or some COVID vigilantes employed by the local authority might be more in evidence, but this was not the case. Although Meg and I enjoyed our normal coffee, we are still minded to cut short the quite legitimate (in our view) rests upon the park benches and replace them by standing up in the bandstand and having a quicker snatch of some coffee and some fruit. The American news continues to be of interest to us. Today, the Democrats are going to ask Vice-President Pence to invoke Amendment 25 which allows for the replacement of a president if the Vice President and rest of the cabinet agrees. This is extremely unlikely as Trump and Pence seem to have ‘buried the hatchet’ in the last day so it appears that a resolution will be passed tomorrow for the impeachment of Donald Trump. The current feeling is that the Democrats so as not to cause further distress before the inauguration on January 20th, a week tomorrow, will hold off until President Biden has completed his first 100 days and will then press the Senate for a vote after Donald Trump has left office. If successful (which is by no means certain) then Donald Trump would not be eligible to run for President again in four year’s time, which may be his intention. The news however is a little chilling in that the FBI are preparing for there to be armed protests taking place in each of the 50 state capitals on inauguration day. Were this to happen, is the USA on the brink of a civil war (or a re-run of the last one?)