Saturday, 24th July, 2021

[Day 495]

The weather is evidently on the turn and when we woke up this morning, there was quite a breath of fresh air when we popped our noses out of the back door. There were occasional smatterings of rain throughout the early morning but not the prolonged and sustained downpour for which we had all been hoping. So we decided to make our journey down into town by car just in case the heavens opened – but as it happened, they did not. Having collected our newspapers, we then bumped into our University of Birmingham friend so we all dived into Waitrose to have our mid-morning coffee. As it happened, we had quite a lot to catch up on with various happenings throughout the week so we spent quite some time explaining the various things we have been up to in the last week. We explained that next week is going to be a little fraught for us because I have to Worcester for a COVID-19 test, then three days of isolation before I have some investigations performed on me next Friday. So I think the week ahead may be a little ‘chewy’ bit just has to be managed one day at a time.

In the afternoon, I spent a certain amount of time spreadsheeting some of our finances so that we could make some plans for the post COVID era. It looks as though our planned trip to Rome in late September is now looking more ‘on’ than ‘off’ and we have also an offer from the tour organiser to forgo one day’s vacation but to fly from Birmingham rather than Bristol. We will have to see, of course, whether Italy is still enforcing five days of quarantine to travellers from Britain but there is about seven weeks to go before the flight is scheduled to depart. The skies were still threatening a little this afternoon but I was determined to try to get the lawns cut before we left for church at 5.30 this afternoon. I was fortunate because although time was tight, I still managed to them cut in time. Then it was our customary attendance at church on a Saturday evening, Up until now, we have been having to book in for the service every week but now we have booked in the ‘last’ time as all of the data for this week will form the template for the weeks to come so the attendance record will ‘roll on’ week by week. Outside church, we managed to have a brief chat about the week ahead and they were not to be surprised if they didn’t see us as we have to self-isolate from Tuesday to Thursday.

It is being reported tonight that UK airports have been the busiest they have been since the start of the pandemic but the system of COVID-19 testing (or showing that you have been tested) is taking a wait of at least two hours. What is not clear is whether people are actually missing their flights because of these enforced delays or whether the airlines themselves are having to reschedule their flights. I suppose that it was fairly predictable that having been subject to pandemic restrictions for the best part of 500 days, people are desperate to get away particularly as the schools have just broken up. From the brief snatches of videotape I have seen, it looks as though airports might become a magnificent venue for the spread of the virus. Some members of the SAGE committee are showing their exasperation with the present government strategy. One of them broke ranks yesterday and argued strongly that the government attempting to generate herd immunity by letting the virus rip through younger sections of the population (20-29 year olds) by giving free reign to the nighttime economy of pubs and nightclubs was immoral. On the other hand, there is a glimmer of hope that the infection rate may have peaked and may just about be starting to fall consistently. The amazing thing is that the government is starting to lose its popularity but still seems to be ahead of the Labour party in the opinion polls.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day for us as we are meeting some old friends for a lunch date in Oxford (we will ‘sat-nav’ the restaurant to find it OK) I only hope that there are not devastating storms and floods because Hampshire, where we used to live, seems to have received a real battering since the hot weather broke down and the almost inevitable flooding now occurs. I must say the I am really looking forward to a period of prolonged rainfall – but I say this from the rather smug position of having all of my lawns cut, all my plants planted and the garden in generally good order and receptive to being trained upon!