Friday, 9th July, 2021

[Day 480]

Today turned out to be quite a fine day, once we actually got onto our walk. We spent a certain amount of time chatting with our domestic help which is quite usual for a Friday. We had got up a little bit earlier than normal because I had spent a certain amount of time sorting out some financial things during a sleepless period in the middle of the night. Specifically, one particular account had matured and then it got whizzed from account to another until I located where the money had eventually lodged itself. This is because I prefer to budget using lots of little individualised accounts whereas my son prefers the approach in which he uses one account but a spreadsheet to organise between one heading and another. I can see the advantages and disadvantages of both ways of doing things but good and up-to-date record keeping is always the recipe for an easy life. I had a routine health monitoring appointment this morning with one of the nurse practitioner team. This was not particularly stressful as certain routine measures were taken (blood pressure, blood samples for a variety of assays) but a more crunch moment will come in a couple of weeks when I have a telephone appointment to discuss some of the results that will have been returned by then. Passing past my local Asda, I noticed that they had quite a range of hydrangea plants for sale for £10. I noticed when I was showing the practice nurse the laminated cards on which I keep the NHS numbers for both my wife and I that I tucked a spare £10 note into one of my mobile phone case slots so I decided to treat myself to a plant to help to populate Mog’s Den. I have a few more cut-price plants arriving from a web source so hopefully if the weather holds out, I will manage to bring my plan to fruition to install several tubs of flowering and/or colourful shrubs. One in particular I thought to be quite interesting as it was a buddleia in which three different colours of flower are grafted onto one root stock and the various colours are meant to intertwine and to complement each other. We shall have to wait and see if the promise of the advertising actually gets fulfilled. Having walked home from the medical appointment, Meg and I went down into town by car but, once again, having picked up our newspapers we discovered that the Waitrose cafe was closed for a second day. So we did what we did yesterday which was to buy an iced tea drink, couple it with a sandwich and make for a set in the park here e consumed our snack in glorious sunshine. Then we made off for home, knowing that we had an afternoon appointment to see our friends at 3.00pm in the afternoon.

Our ex-Waitrose friends had long since wanted us to view their apartment and its surroundings and it was truly impressive, once we had a little guided tour. The building itself had been built especially to provide good quality apartments for members of the Bromsgrove business community. We had to acknowledge the fact that the quality of the internal layout and fixtures were superb – also, the accommodation had some well maintained gardens in which the residents could entertain visitors as well as some communal areas which of course were utilised to the full when there not COVID regulations in place. We spent a very pleasant afternoon, drinking tea and eating some delicious cake, especially prepared for yesterday’s ‘Birthday Boy‘ in the gardens overlooking a pond sporting a variety of vegetation and even wildlife (although we didn’t see any frogs today). When we got home, I carried out a little outside activity in which I am making a series of drain holes in the planters I have recently purchased. This involves making a pilot hole and then gradually enlarging it with a variety of implements until each hole is about 1cm in diameter which I feel is just about right to make sure the whole planter does not get waterlogged.

An estimated 400,000 tested positive for the virus last week which sounds scarily high to me. Although the link between incidences of the virus, hospitalisation and eventually deaths is now a lot more tenuous than it was, it is still there. Also, as the numerate of incidents continues to rise, so too does the possibility of new variants which might be immune to existing vaccines – then we would be in a mess. There are signs that the rate of increase is moderating a little but the R-rate is between 1.2-1.5. I do feel that the government is running the most dangerous game of ‘chicken’ at this point – and of course the huge crowds of football fans jumping up and down and exhaling vociferously is just what the virus really likes.