Tuesday, 4th January, 2022

[Day 659]

Today the weather has taken a decided turn for the cold – whereas we have been used to a mild spell with temperatures of above 9° or 10°. Under clear skies, the temperature could drop to -3° tonight and could rise to about 6° tomorrow in the sunshine so we need to acclimatise ourselves to near freezing temoperatures and not much more than that in the few days ahead. Meg and I collected our newspapers today, journeying in the car. When it is my Pilates day on a Tuesday, we tend to make our excursions out by car if only to save enough time for us to get turned around in time for me to start my walk down. Today as it so cool we decided to walk round the lake but did not really fancing sitting down on a freezing cold park bench. So we had a reasonable little walk arond the park lake and then turned for home and had our coffee and elevenses, already prepared, by the warmth of our own fireside. Then it was a walk down into town for our normal Pilates session. Our Pilates teacher is always kind to us after two weeks of inactivity,not having performed our stretches for a fortnight now because of the Christmas break. I am sure this was much appreciated because we all felt a little creaky after the break. In little breaks between the exercises, we discussed how many professions used Pilates as part of their professional exercise regime, with professions as diverse as football, rugby, tennis and ballet dancers always incorporating Pilates routines into their own. As our Pilates teacher explained, most exercises tend to get muscles to contract and to shorten whereas the Pilates techniques are more geared to stretches of a variety of kinds and this acts as a kind of corrective.

Now home to what I hope what was going to be a quiet afternoon. I did have a plan to do do a little repurposing job this afternoon. I had an old (but unused) diary with a leatherette type cover which I decided to make into a credit card holder. This involved removing all of the pages with a craft knife, using tape to cover the rough margins and then incorporating some envelope sections (with the bubble wrap on the inside) and then a combination of ex-punched cards, band elastic and superglue to hold it all together. I have to say that I never seem to have good experiences with superglue but today was no exception. However, using a combination of materials I managed to get more or less what I wanted even though the cards do protrude by half a millimeter but I managed to engineer a type to solution to all of this. The whole is held together with I call a girly band (used by young women to hold their hair in place) which I tend to use in place of a crude elastic band. Having got most of the artefact made according to my satisfaction, I think I will leave it until the morning to make any refinements.

A lot of the media attention has been focused on the outcome of the court case which may or may not go well for Prince Andrew. What I think I had not fully appreciated was that if Prince Andrew loses the case, then evidently he will have to face a full scale trial in the autumn which will not go well for him, one feels. If however, Prince Andrew loses the case the fact that he got ‘let off’ by a technicality in which a convicted sex-offender paid $½ million dollars to one of his victims in order to buy her silence and Prince Andrew was semi-protected by a document which should have been kept secret but was only opened by a court order will not serve him well in the years ahead. It looks as though the Royal Family are trying to distance themselves as much as follows from the fallout which will inevitably follow.

The NHS is now being put onto a ‘war footing’ now that the level of infections has risen to nearly 219,000 cases. The bigger problem is, of course, how many key workers in excess of the 10% already off sick within the NHS will get the virus or have to self-isolate. It is admitted that the next 2-3 weeks are going to be critical for the NHS. On the one hand, the Omicron variant shows the slightest sign that the curve may be ‘flattening’ but on the other hand we have not had the full set of figures coming through from the Christmas and New Year celebrations – which will surely boost the infection rates. Multiple hospitals are now reporting that they are experiencing ‘critical incidents’. The government, though, is firmly committed to ‘Plan B’ which is basically no change from the ontardictory advice given out e.g. it is OK to attend football matches but everyone is encouraged to work from home.