Thursday, 30 December, 2021

[Day 654]

Today is our ‘shopping’ day so I made sure that I could leap out of bed in plenty of time to get washed, tea made for both of us and then I could set forth in plenty of time to arrive in Droitwich about five minutes before the store opened its doors. All of this worked well but I must say that I was surprised to be about No. 4 or No. 5 in the queue. After last week’s heavy expenditure, I decided I was ging to be much more circumspect about my purchases and only buy an item if I thought it was absolutely necessary. All of this having been done, I got home at about 9.30 having spent an hour shopping and then did a slow unpack. As we were going to bed last night, the guilty verdict in the Ghislaine Maxwell case had been announced and there was a rapidly increasing throng of the asoociated media assembled at the front of the courtroom. No doubt reporters and photographers were waiting for members of the Maxwell defence team to appear. Certainly, some members of the family of Maxwell had seemed to escape from the back of the courtroom and the lawyers did not make an appearance for a couple of hours. At this stage, I had gone to bed so I don’t know if the lawyers actually did appear but I did fancy a bit of bloodsport if the lawyers had to run the gantlet of the press. Ome of the commentators on the case opined that the Maxwell family was shocked and disappointed by the verdict and they had expected that they could destroy the integrity of the witnesses. They had hoped to convince the jury that Epstein was the main culprit in the case and as he had committed suicide in prison, then Maxwell was being pursued by the authorities in lieu of Epsten himself. But the jury returnd a unanimous guilty verdict on five of the six charges.

After the shopping had been put away, it was time for me to make a visit to my bank to try to get to the bottom of the debite cards which cannot be read by ATMs. I must say that I was very well and sympathetically treated by the bank staff which took me into a back office and tried to get to the bottom of my problems. The upshot of all of this is that two new cards have been ordered for Meg and myself. When they turn up, I think I am going to store them very carefully because I suspect that in case the magnetic strip has been compromised so I evidently want to avoid all of these issues arising again when the new cards appear.

After lunch, we were engaged in more Christmas entertaining with some of our closest friends who had spent time away over Christmas so it was delightful to see them and to share a lot of our family and other kinds of news. So we had a very jolly time for most of the afternoon but we had some more close friends calling around in the early evening so it was case of saying a hurried set of goodbyes to our departing friends and a quick whiz around until our other friends turned up. This is really quite a frantic time of year because we are popping into yet more friends for a Christmas drink on Sunday morning and our Italian friend from down the road is also organising a little rendezvous-vous for us as well. No doubt, we will get down to earth early on next week but then, of course, it will be at the start of a New Year.

Tomorrow we will be seeing our domestic help and we always look forward to our lively chats. Moreover, we anticipate seeing more of our acquaintances in the park tomorrow so we need to make the most of the mild weather spell we are experiencing at the moment. New Year’s Eve is often the time when people go out to celebrate the New Year but Meg and myself are more than content to see the New Year in with a quiet drink on the stroke of midnight.

The COVID news at the end of the year is that the number of new infections continue to soar (to over 180,000) Meanwhile sites are being prepared all over the country to help the NHS cope with th surge of cases that are bound to hit within the next week or so. Even though the hospitalisation rate is not increasing at the same rate as infections then the basic mathematics remains of great concern. Even if only a few very percent become seriously ill, then a small percentage of a very large number of infections could still mean 5,000-10,000 additional cases a day hitting our NHS hospitals, Do we have the staff to cope with all of this?