Saturday, 11th December, 2021

[Day 635 ]

It is extraordinary to think that Christmas is now only two weeks away – for a reason, I cannot quite put my finger on, Christmas really seems to have crept on us this year and I am starting to think about all of the jobs that need to be done before Christmas. Principal amongst these are the Christmas cards which, in theory, ought to be quite easy. All I have to is to make sure I have enough labels of the requisite type, find the appropriate file, conduct an experiment with one page to make sure all goes well and then run off the completed file. I think we have about 55 contacts altogether so at 10 to the page, this should take six pages of labels. When I checked, I only had 3 x. 10 left so I needed to make a quick foray onto Amazon to have a few more of the relevant type sent to me. I am making my absolute cut-off point 12.00 on Monday for the following reason. No doubt, lots of people will be writing their cards this weekend so Monday morning at the post office is liable to be hell-on-earth. If I delay until Monday afternoon, then I should manage to get everything posted off in plenty of time. In the meantime, I have to make sure my list is up-to-date. I seem to remember that last year I sent a Christmas to one of Meg’s cousins and got an out-of-date address for the cousin fron an old address book. The recipients of the Christmas card sent it back to me (as I always stick my own address labels on each card I send) with a note saying that the perspn for whom the card was intended had moved at least 10 years previously. I am sure this must happen quite a lot, actually, but I need my list to be as accurate as possible before I start this year’s run.

Meg and I walked down to the park today in weather not particularly inclement. There we met with our long time park acquaintance, Seasoned World Travellor, and we exchanged Christmassy type things, as well as Omicron and related news with each other. Because of the cloud cover, it ssemed to start getting dark at about 3.15 and for this reason, as well as the fact that there is a Thomas Hardy film on the TV tonight (‘Far fom the Madding Crowd‘) which I particularly want to watch. By the way, ‘madding’ in this context mens ‘frenzied’ which I didn’t know until a visit to Google. When my mother was alive, she would often bewail the fact that ‘the light was failing’ when she was trying to do jobs at this time of year. As a teenager, I had no idea what she was talking about and could not discern why she didn’t just put on the (electric) light and make do with do that. Several decades later on, I think I know what she was talking about because there are some jobs (of the cleaning variety) where you actually do need genuine daylight as far as possible.

The COVID news continues to dismay. With no further restructions than the ‘Plan B’ that we already have in operation, there are authoritative projections that buy the end of the month, we shall have 1 million new infections and 75,000 deaths. Already there is talk of a ‘Plan C’ to be implemented immediately that Plan B appears not to be working. Yesterday, the increase in cases over the day before was 50% as the number of new cases rose from 1265 to 1898 so the exponential trend of the number of new infections doubling or tripling within days is being played out before us. Schools have not been mentioned recently and I suppose this is because we are now entering the period (a week and a half before the Christmas break) when school attendance ought to be high. I wonder, though, whether at this rate of progression, it would be sensible to delay the start of the new term by 2-4 weeks. The trouble for the government is that the scientific and medical community seem to nearly of one voice, or at least ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’) as the Omicron data slowly emerges. However the libertarian (= right wing) of the Tory party are threatening to withhold their support from the ‘Plan B’ measures when the vote takes place next Tuesday – and, of course, there is the critical by-election in Shropshire North next Thursday. If the Conservatives lose this seat, I can see the pressures on Boris Johnson to move aside or be replaced may well be overwhelming. Just to make matters worse for the government, it has been that some staff at the Treasury had office drinks while England was in lockdown last year. It has been reported that around two dozen civil servants were present for the drinks on 25 November, 2020.