Tuesday, 27th July, 2021

[Day 498]

Today has been a very strange day in lots of ways. I suppose you could say that it started off in a unique way as in a slightly wakeful patch in the wee small hours of the morning, I decided to come downstairs and turn the TV on in order to catch up with the latest news from the Olympics. No sooner had I turned the television on but I caught the closing stages (about the last 5 seconds) of the 100m men’s freestyle swimming in which Team GB got both gold and silver – this is the first time that this has happened since 1908 which is evidently 113 years ago. After the commentators had recovered their poise, the coverage switched to the women’s triathlon and this was equally exciting in its own way. Georgia Taylor-Brown has won silver for Team GB in the women’s triathlon, despite a flat tyre, caused by hitting a pothole, in the final lap of the bike race. She lost 20 seconds and dropped to fifth place although at that stage, the gold was within her grasp. She gradually clawed her way back through the runners in front of her and gradually overtook one of her best friends to eventually claim silver. So it was quite an eventful night – at that point, I took to my bed for the rest of the night.

Today I have been subject to self-isolation which I have to keep up for three whole days until I have my investigations next Friday afternoon. It is rather a strange experience to not even walk as far as the park which I have done every day for approximately the last 500 days. Fortunately, the day was the kind of day when you never knew whether it was going to rain or not. It was a little overcast and we had the slightest smattering of rain this morning but it did rain a bit more systematically – but not as heavily as we would have liked – later on this afternoon. This morning between 8.00 and 9.00 the power was cut off across our immediate neighbourhood. We had been given plenty of advance notice about this but the burglar alarm in my neighbour’s unoccupied house was squawking in a kind of alarm mode once the power was eventually restored. Our neighbour had let us have a front door key together with her daughter’s telephone number and the code to activate/deactivate the burglar alarm. I let myself into my neighbour’s house with a degree of trepidation and was relieved when the code deactivated the alarm so it was not screeching all day. I think these systems might turn themselves off after 20 minutes but I did not wish that any internal batteries got exhausted.

As it has been wall-to-wall Olympics for most of the day, this has helped to alleviate the strangeness of keeping myself to myself all day long. The pre-paid vouchers that I have for my daily supply of newspapers were taken down to the newspaper shop by my daughter-in-law and activated so we have enough reading matter for the day. Tuesday is the day which The Timesdevotes itself to medical issues and I read the results of one research finding to the effect that if you exercise regularly you run less risk of developing cancer – even if you have currently do have a cancer, then regular exercise can get to alleviate the symptoms. So this is another press cutting for the files.

The COVID-19 data for today is interesting in that UK records 23,511 new coronavirus cases and 131 more deaths. This means that the new cases is sharply down (for the seventh day in a row) but the death rate is sharply up and is the highest rate since mid-March. Government scientists are slightly puzzled by all of this but some tentative explanations are as follows. It could be that in the recent hot weather spell, people spent more time outside and this helped to reduce the amount of ‘free-floating’ virus in the air. Also, I have seen it argued that as Scotland got knocked out of the Euro finals quite early, then this, too, helped reduce the crowds following the match on TV’s in pubs and squares. In yesterday’s Times, I read with interest that ‘it is well known that schools are massive reservoirs of infection for the COVID virus and now that schools have closed for the summer vacation, this may help to avoid further infection‘ The bland statement that it is ‘well-known’ that schools are a reservoir of infection is certainly not one that would be admitted by the government. The government ‘line’ has always been that schools are safe places for the children within them – but the government have been deliberately vague, silent or contradictory on the fact that the adults who work in or near schools (teachers, teaching assistants, admin staff, some catering staff, anyone visiting the school, parents at school gates and so on) might have been massively at risk by insisting that the schools should re-open and the Tories seemed insistent upon this whatever the consequences (which subsequently, we may learn, has helped to fuel the infection rates)