Thursday, 28th October, 2021

[Day 591]

Well, it was of those ‘chewy’ type days, not getting off to a particularly good start. Thursday is the day when our bins get emptied – grey bins once a fortnight and green bins in the intervening weeks. We always have to remember to put the bins out for collection as it goes dusk on Wednesday evening and every so often, as last night, we forget. In the case of green bins (paper waste) this not matter so much but in the case of grey bins, that may well contain food waste, this is a bit more problematic. So we knew that we would probably have to head for the tip to dispose of our ‘grey bin’ household rubbish because even in the winter, I do not wish to food waste hanging about for the best part of a month. But first, we had to wait until we had the car returned from the garage after its annual service. The rather nice thing about modern technology is the way in which the quality garages inform you about the progress of the service on one’s car. We received a ‘video clip’ showing us the amount of tread marked in chalk on each tyre (in our case more than 4x the legal minimum) plus the condition of the brake shoes, the suspension and the ‘floor’ of the car indicating any possible oil leaks. So this was all very reassuring and the car was returned to us in the late morning. Then we set off for the trip and evidently, today of all days, then ‘Sod’s Law’ swung into operation as the road to the tip via one of our neighbouring villages was completely closed. This meant that we had to make quite a lengthy detour but at least we remembered how to do this and got our household rubbish safely and legally disposed of. Afterwards, we got back into Bromsgrove and treated ourselves to a coffee and cookies in Waitrose – whilst Meg was safely esconced with her coffee, I went off to get our newspaper. I then went to get some monety out of an ATM and, once again, mine seems not to be accepted (even though it is only about 2 months old – so I perceive more hassles ahead with my bank as I want to retain the same number which may not be possible) Then, I decided to make a lightning tour through Poundland but of course they would have to be altering the layout of items in the store that they have had for the last ten years. This means that the simplest thing has to be hunted for – and one or two of the little items I wanted/needed no longer seem to be stocked. On the other hand, I did acquire some ‘branded’ 10″ scissors which I intend to use as general purpose scissors in my study. When I checked these out on the web, Ebay were selling them for about twice the price that I paid in Poundland so I did feel that I had at least got a ‘good buy’ if not a bargain. I spent a bit of time in the afternoon making a little cardboard sheaf for them so that after a trace of machine oil they should keep themselves in good condition for as long as I need them.

So I set myself a couple of outside jobs just before our afternoon cup of tea, one of which involved the sweeping up of holly berries which tend to arrive in profusion at this time of year and can easily mess up one’s shoes. The other was to take the contents of our two shredders. and dispose of the shreddings in our compost bin at the bottom of the garden. ‘Sod’s Law’ immediately swung into operation once again as the heavans opened the minute I got outside to do my outside jobs (and, of course, ceased as soon as I go inside again) I suppose that every so often one gets days like today.

With yesterday’s Budget subjected to more intense media scrutiny, it is now starting to dawn on people that the budget is not as rosy as the government is trying to pretend. With inflation heading for 4%-5% and big tax rises due next April then living standards will be very much under threat in the forthcoming financial year. The fact that Universal Credit will now be ever so slightly eased by the taper being reduced somewhat will do nothing for those, who through no fault of their own, are receiving Universal Credit but are not in work.

The latest COVID study reveals that the tranmissability of the Delta version of the virus remains high even though one has been vaccinated. This might help to explain why rates of infection, particularly of the Delta variant remain high (and very much higher than the rest of Europe) even though the proportion of those vaccinated is slowly creeping up (but still behind the European average)