Sunday, 12th December, 2021

[Day 636]

Today being a Sunday, I leapt out of bed at a very early hour (for me) to walk down and collect our Sunday newspaper. Actually, it was quite a mild day with a brilliant pink sunrise as I walked down to town in a generally easterly direction. Although I normally see nobody at this time, I did bump into my Irish friend who was popping something into the boot of his car so we discussed some church matters such as the exact name of the new priest who we were informed last night will be taking over early in the New Year. Then it was a routine watching of the Andrew Marr show from 9.00am onwards and I thought that Keir Starmer was making exactly the right noises in his attacks upon the Prime Minister (quote: ‘the worst possible prime minister at the worst possible time‘) After we had collected our thoughts together, we walked down to the park in quite pleasant conditions – it was not too long before we were joined by our University of Birmingham, friend and a few minutes later, Seasoned World Traveller. We discussed some of the implications of the Omicron new variant, including the view that this might have arisen in the body of an immune-compromised individual being treated for Aids in South Africa. There is also the possiblity that Omicron might already have generated new ‘sons and daughters’ which are themselves the mutation of a mutation. A little like Atlantic storms, some of which fizzle out and some of which develop into major storms that sweep our stores, so the virus may act in the same way. As mutations in a virus are are fairly common, presumably some turn out to be ‘dead ends’ whilst others adapt to be highly dangerous. Yesterday, it appeared that the incidence of Omicron had increased by 50% but today, the situation is such that the increase is nearly 100%. The government is trying to roll out the booster jabs to everybody (including schoolchildren) as rapidly as possible and it is hopeful that this will hold the line. However, Boris Johnson is due to address the nation at 8.00pm this evening, probably to try and build up public support for the ‘Plan B’ measures in advance of 60 odd Conservative MPs rebelling against the new measures when there is a vote in the House of Commons next Tuesday. Up to a point, though, this will be a ‘pain-free’ rebellion as the new measures are bound to be approved as the Labour Party are committed to voting for them – hence any Conservative ‘rebellions’ will only reduce the size of a huge majority in support of the measures.

This afternoon, my sister and I were in contact with each other whilst we discussed some of the practical details of our forthcoming visit to Yorkshire to attend my brother-in-law’s funeral. Once we have discussed some of the details (difficult to park both near my sister’s house and at the church and at the crematorium and at the venue for the reception) we are formulating a ‘Plan B’. Meg and and I have had a series of unfortunate experiences at the last 3-4 funerals we have attended. Basically, the locals know the wereabouts of the local church/crematorium/venue for the subsequent refreshments. By the time you hve sat-navved your way to the church/crematorium/eating venue, you are invitably at the back of the queue (as the locals know their way around and secure the best of the available parking spots/seat at the venue and so on). The last funeral we attended for a near neighbour we have known for the past 14 years turned out to be particularly disastrous. By the time we had got a distant parking spot at the crem and an even more distant parking spot at the eating venue, there was no space left for us to sit and no food left for us in any case. So we came home feeling a bit frustrated that some of the attendees at the funeral who had not seen our neighbour for years managed to secure better parking/seating for themselves. The problem arises because we are always coming from a good distance away and generally do not have the insider local knowledge that other attendees possess so you inevitably at the back of whatever queue there is. The problem is compounded when more people turn up to the event than had been catered for. We think that one solution is to leave the car in the hotel and catch a taxi to the church. Then we might have to rely upon other people’s generosity to get a lift to wherever the eating venue is. It would be a great shame if after the journey and the hotel expenses of attending the funeral of a close and much-loved family member, Meg and I found ourselves in the really unsatisfactory situation that we have had the misfortune to experience on the last four such occasions.