Wednesday, 20th October, 2021

[Day 583]

Today really was a rainy day and we were resigned to the fact that our normal activities would have to be curtailed somewhat. Consequently, we took our time getting ready and when we were ready to set forth, we had changed our plans somewhat. We collected our newspapers and then went to the park where we only intended to walk through the drizzle to the bandstand – which we did. Needless to say, nobody else of a sane disposition was walking in the park save one intrepid beagle owner so we went to the bandstand and ate a few biscuits which we had taken with us, foregoing the coffee which is fiddly when you do not have a park bench to perch upon. As we were finishing off, the clouds rolled away and we were subjected to that kind of really bright sunshine that you tend to get after a storm, with all the colours of the trees and shrubbery having a specially vivid appearance. We knew we had to have an early-ish lunch because I was going to be telephoned by the doctor to discuss some blood tests some time after 2.00pm. The doctor actually phoned at about 1.30 and we had a general discussion with the result that I am being prescribed some iron for my sins.

After we had discussions with family and neighbours we have heard mention to two or three free-to-air programmes at least that we do not seem to be able to receive. I am never very happy about re-tuning the TV but after some reading around the subject, it looks as though this is what is required in order to get the TV to update itself. So after midnight, I took my courage in both hands and re-tuned the TV which was actually quite a breeze and only took some five minutes or so. Later on today, I thought I would have a quick look at the channels I hd managed to access. One of them is Sky Arts and another is PBS America (Public Service Broadcasting, America) and whilst lingering on the channel, we stumbled into a documentary on Annie Oakley, the great all-American ‘Wild West’ heroine. Another channel is the Smithsonian (associated with the great American museum of that name) and I am looking forward to exploring this channel and the other two if nothing else grabs my attention. To be honest, I tend to find the things I want to watch on BBC2, BBC4 and Channel 4 so now I feel that I have expanded considerably my viewing options.

Late on this afternoon, I did some mundane little tasks (screwing a new head on a brush – something for some reason I seem to spend all of my time doing in my mid-teens) and then came the Wednesday afternoon ‘chore’ in which I drag our brown and green bins to the end of the drive where they can be accessed by the Refuse Disposal vehicles (we have to do this because our road is ‘private’ i.e. unadopted and the bin men do not/come down our road) Whilst doing this I met and had a long chat with one of our near neighbours who I had not seen to chat to for several weeks now. When we moved into this house her two children were very much younger. Now of course they have grown up, both gained first class degrees from De Monfort University in Leicester and are now in gainful employment and living fairly locally still. We were just finishing off this conversation when our immediate next door neigbour swept into view and we are always good for a natter whenever we coincide. Sometimes the topics centre around classic pop songs/groups of the 1950’s and 1960’s of which our neighbours has an encyclopaedic knowledge (as well as a collection of juke boxes whih he lovingly collects whenever he comes across a good specimen)

The COVID news is dominated this evening by our Health Secretary (Sajiv Javid) warning us that the number of cases of the virus, currently nearing 50,000 cases a day could well reach 100,000 cases before too long. It seems to me that the Health Secretary is almost trying to blame the public for this state of affairs by urging everyone to come forward as soon as possible for their booster jabs (as the immune status of the first vaccinated might be waning after six months) He could always make a start, of course, in making sure that the massive reservoir of infection otherwise known as schools receive the attention that they deserve (particularly as other societies have been vaccinating schoolchildren for months) I suspect that face-mask wearing (or the absence of it) is not helping the situation as it worsens day by day. I listened to an interview with an A&E consultant explaining that the number of attacks on staff was increasing rapidly. Some of the frustrations amongst patients was caused by the reluctance of patients to wear masks, wash their hands and generally accept that hospitals differ from other spaces!