Tuesday, 22nd June, 2021

[Day 463]

Today was one of those days when I seem to have been like the proverbial dog chasing its own tail. We were a little late getting up this morning but knew that we had quite a lot to fit in. Our domestic help had promised to come along for a few minutes to work her magic with a hair-dryer and make Meg’s hair more presentable before we set off on our jolly little holiday break tomorrow. I was just on my way into town when our domestic help asked me if I could wash Meg’s hair first. This I did – Meg and I have a well-worked routine but it meant I was delayed by several minutes. I walked fairly quickly into the town and picked up our daily ration of newspapers. Then on my back, I made a slight detour into the park to see if I could espy our University of Birmingham friend on one of the high benches. As it happened, I couldn’t see him so I struck straight off for home knowing that I had to have a quick turn-around when I got home (changing into my track suit bottoms in which I do the Pilates exercises, gathering my mat and a few things together) before I met one of my fellow class members on the way down. The other two regular members of the class were away on holiday so we formed a little bubble of two in the class and it is so much more difficult to hide when there are only two of you. We had a fairly rigorous Pilates routine today and I remembered to pay for my sessions, some in arrears and some in advance. Then it was a brisk walk home in order for me to prepare my traditional, ‘fast’ lunch for a Tuesday which involves fish-cakes heated up in the oven and some microwaved vegetables. After the briefest of rests, I took the car down into town because I needed to fill up with petrol and check the air pressure and water. I know is is outrageous these days but at the BP garage at which I like to fill up on petrol one has to pay £1.00 to get a supply of air and you have to race around and try to get it done in a minute. Then some frustration set in as I needed s supply of water to top up my detergent bottle and this needed an (outrageous) £2.00. The machine was filled with £1.80 worth of coins but refused/was not designed to cope with the 5p coins I had to make the amount up to £2.00. All I got a smidgeon of detergent water left over from the last user to top up my washer bottle but the machine refused to deliver the proper complement of water as it hadn’t been loaded with the correct money – so I finished off losing £1.80. Having got the car filled with petrol and checked over, I then repaired to an ATM where I got out a supply of money to help us with casual purchases over the days whilst we are away. I then went on a tour of cosmetics shops trying to buy some cosmetics of a particular type and was eventually successful after quite a frustrating search. Whilst in Boots chemists, I got a FaceTime call from our Waitrose friends with whom we had an arrangement to FaceTime at 5.0pm each Tuesday. As soon as I did get home, it was time for a quick cup of tea and then a meal of ice-cream and fruit before setting down the football at 8.0pm.

The COVID news is quite interesting to analyse this evening. The rate of infection is at more than 11,625 which is the highest since mid-February. But there is some limited evidence that the rate of infection in the North West may be starting to abate somewhat. The more startling news is that the highest rates of increase are in the 20-29 years old olds (i.e. the unvaccinated) in multiple hot spots throughout the country. This points to the importance of getting the vaccine into the arms of the younger generation in all parts of the country. Also for most of the pandemic, the admissions numbers were dominated by those aged 65 and over. Today, for the first time in this pandemic, those under 65 are outnumbering those over 65. Also it does appear that the link between infections and the ultimate death rate is becoming more tenuous – whilst the infection rate has increased, the death rate does not seem to have increased at the commensurate rate.

There is quite a lot of concern expressed by the WHO amongst others about the UEFA semifinals and finals to be played at Wembley. The stadium will be quite fullish at 60,000 and there will be a fairly full complement of Uefa officials who are demanding a quarantine-free stay in the UK – this, at a time, when the infection rate in the UK is worse than the European average. One suspects some kind of financial stitch-up here i.e. the rules get ‘bent’ in order to keep the economic advantages of semi-finals and finals to be played at Wembley.