Sunday, 12th September, 2021

[Day 545]

Another Sunday and the weather dawns as one of those grey and indeterminate days. I get up early-ish and walk down for my copy of ‘The Sunday Times‘ (the pleasure of The Observer now being foregone). On my way down, I left a bottle of wine outside a bush which graces the front of one of our friend’s houses (a present for their wedding anniversary) and, on the accompanying card, reminded them to look behind the bush for their bottle. On the way home, I noticed that the bottle had disappeared which either means that they have taken it safely inside the house or there are a lot of opportunistic thieves roaming the streets of Bromsgove first thing on a Sunday morning. On the Andrew Marr show, we had the Health Secretary Sajid Javid (our local MP) announcing the fact that a health passport, under consideration by the governnment, had now been ruled out. What is significant about this, is that one hour earlier on a rival show, he had intimated that this policy was still under consideration so there was a rapid and dramatic change in public policy in the space of one hour without any evident consultation with colleagues. Strange! But we are unfortunately having to get used to bizarre modes of government and contradictory announcements from this government – as the opposition and the press do not seem able to ‘lay a glove’ on them.

We knew that in the late morning, we were both due to go along and have our routine ‘flu jabs which is part of our normal autumn routine. We texted our University of Birmingham friend to say that we would have to leave him at a precise time – but we chatted with some of our other regulars before we had to announce our departure. As we have come to expect, the whole surgery and vaccination process was like a military operation. We walked in before our annointed slot, booked in, followed the arrows, bared our left arm, received the jab and were then outside of the building by another entrance all within about two minutes or so. I managed a brief chat with the health service professional giving me my dose saying how difficult it was for the vaccine makers to call the correct ‘strain’ of ‘flu which they feel might be prevalent in the autumn as they have to make a judgement call in February and a few years back they didn’t get it quite right. My vaccinator explained to me that to try and minimise the risk of this happening, what was actually administered was a cocktail of about four variants to maximise the chance of success. I must say that today, for about the first time, the injection site in my left arm is a little on the tender side and I can feel that I have been ‘jabbed’. This will settle down in a day or but in the past I have had the vaccine with no ill effects whatsoever so I wonder if COVID-10 antibodies are putting up a fight? Anyway, we returned home to a chicken dinner hoping that one of those whole chickens that you get these days (on its own tray, complete with cooking bag) had not exploded and wrecked the entire oven. I am pleased to say it had not but an awful lot of fluid seemed to come of this partticular fowl which formed the basis of our gravy.

The media today is full of the success of the 18-year old Emma Raducanu who was the first ‘qualifier’ to ever win the American Open. I hadn’t realised that Channel 4 had broadcast the match live last night becase we were busy watching Last Night of the Proms and then went promptly to bed. She seems to be a very level headed young woman and, after Wimbledon, has coped with the pressure well – let us hope that she continues to do so and does not ‘crash and burn’ as can happen if success comes too early. I did just wonder by what criteria her parents (father from Romania,her mother fom China) had gained access to the UK but as they were evidently not short of money, perhaps they fulfilled the criteria of ‘high net worth’ individuals when her parents emigrated from Canada when she was two years old. Their loss is our gain, though.

The Sunday Times is running a story today to the effect that Boris Johnson has surrounded himself by incompetents within his cabinet and hopes that he can remain PM for about 10 years, hoping to rival Margaret Thatcher. Much as I thoroughly disliked Margaret Thatcher and she had her favourites amongst the ‘Drys’ rather than the ‘Wets’, I think she did not overlook talent. One does get the impression that with the possible exception of the Chancellor, Boris Johnson has surrounded himself with people who cannot challenge his authority. Although the vast majority of the Tory party hate the provisions they have just voted through in the Health and Social Care Bill, if Boris Johnson keeps on winning elections with 80 seat majorities, then do they care? As one prominent politician said (I must look up the source) ‘Look if you don’t like my principles, I have lots of others‘ which sounds like Broris Johnson to a tee.