Friday, 3rd December, 2021

[Day 627]

Friday has rolled around once again and normally it is the day when we meet our University of Birmingham friend either in the park or in a local coffee bar, depending on the weather. Today, though, we had an exchange of text messages and we have agreed to meet tomorrow rather than today, all being well. Today, we had our usual natter with our domestic help whose ‘day’ it is on a Friday and we always seem to have a good laugh, one way or another. As the weather was a little indeterminate this morning, we decided that we would collect our newspaper by car and then go and park in the ‘top’ carpark in the park. This way, we have a little walk to give us a breath of fresh air and to blow away the cobwebs but without getting thoroughly chilled. Meg is still fighting off some sniffles and although it is not a fully fledged cold, we are not tempting fate by getting needlessly chilled. Later on in the day we decided to sort to sort out our collection of gloves that had been populating the piece of furniture in our hall called a ‘Monk’s bench’ and bring some kind or order to the motley collection. Once we had matched up the pairs, we divided them into ‘quality’ items such as real leather gloves and ‘utilitarian’ gloves, normally made of a wool mixture and made weather resistant somehow (the trade mark is ‘Thinsulate’). We did end up with a collection of leather gloves, woollen gloves, fingerless gloves (that we must have thought useful at on time e.g. if you don’t want to take gloves off whilst tapping the keys of an ATM) and a couple of odd gloves of which the companion must have been lost. My first thought was, of course, to throw these away but, in the event, they finished off in the boot of the car where I reckoned they would always come in handy to clean off a misted or frozen window.

Today being a Friday, we had our by now traditional meal of sea-bass with salad – which only takes about 5 minutes to prepare which is just as well as we often seem to run late on Friday mornings. This evening, we raided our supply of diced carrots and parsnips from which we made another hearty soup, given a slightly spicy twist by the addition of a spoonful of Balti cooking sauce. I am getting into the habit of buying from Waitrose some diced vegetables known by the Italian name of ‘Soffritto’. I had no idea what the constituent parts of this mixture were but, by consulting the web, I have learnt that Soffritto’ is actually a mixture of diced onions, carrots and celery with perhaps a bit of garlic thrown in and tossed in an olive oil. This means that the hard work of dicing the vegetables has already been done and after a bit of parboiling it just have to be thrown into the SoupMaker, together with some ‘sweated’ onions and eventually served with some croutons and a big dollop of yogurt (which helps to cool it down).

The Omicron variant news coming this evening continues to be a source of concern. More than half those who were confirmed to have been infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus in the UK were double jabbed, health officials have said. A new technical briefing from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says 12 of the 22 known cases up to 30 November had been fully vaccinated. Admittedly, this is a very small number of cases upon which to base a trend but I am not sure that this news has fully sunk in with the general population. If one has to go in for ‘clutching at straws’ time, then there are a few very slight indications that the severity of the new variant might be less than than other variants and, in particular, the Delta variant which is now the dominant one.

This afternoon, I spent a certain amount of time completing the most esoteric questions that are a necessary to fulfill the safeguarding provisions of our community bank account. One of the questions asked whether any members of our group had any dealings whatsoever with the ‘Crimea’ which is, of course, the bit of the Ukraine that Russia seems to have reclaimed in the last few years – with more to come. The interesting thing about all of this is if I did have any connections with the Crimea are other outposts of the Rssian empire, I would hardly tick the box marked ‘Yes’ on the form. I seem to have got to the stage where the whole of my complex form seems to have been completed and submitted and I am now told that is being ‘considered’ by the SafeGuarding unit of the bank so I have to wonder all of this is going to take.