Thursday, 13th January, 2022

[Day 668]

Today was ‘shopping’ day so it was a case of setting up the alarm, getting ready promptly and motoring (on a very icy morning) to Droitwich Waitrose to be there at the moment that the doors open. I must say I almost enjoy doing this now that I am on a regular routine and evidently, the number of fellow shoppers is minimal. So the shopping was completely unproblematic although it never ceases to amaze me how two little people manage to consume so much. However, I don’t think I forgot anything of great importance which is always a danger if you enter the supermarket ‘listless’. Since the Christmas tree got put away on ‘Twelth Night’ (over a week ago now) the corner of our hall which the tree used to populate looks incredibly sparse. So I have installed a low-energy minimalist-style table lamp to illuminate that corner and I must say in these dark early mornings and evenings, it is wonderful to behold a little fountain of light. Whether I will continue with this little experiment once the days start to lengthen and the nights shorten, I am unsure but in the meantime it gives me a little fillip of pleasure when I glance down the hall. Meg and I realised that we had a fairly tight turn-around this morning as our hairdresser was due to call at midday. So again we decided to use the car so that we could make a lightning visit into town to get our copy of ‘The Times‘ and get back by midday. After our hair had been cut, we then prepared our lunch which was a little special today as we were treating ourselves to some venison burgers. When we were having a little holiday a few months back in the Brecon Beacons, we popped into a little market hall where we found some superior grill pans being sold off quite cheaply. We bought one of these and I must say it has proved its weight in gold to cook burgers (and fish). It has a ridged design which means that the cooked item does not stick to the bottom of the pan and it takes a real minimum of cooking oil. I have a glass lid to another cooking pot which, quite fortuitously, just happens to fit the square design of the grill pan and so I can cook away without any fear that I will be making a mess of our kitchen hob.

This afternoon there was a lot of tidying up tp be down and after an involuntary snooze, I set to filing quite a lot of stuff that had accumulated in the last week or so. We had also put all of our Christmas cards on one side because I like to go through a little later rather than throwing them straight away so that I can extract any change of addresses (there are always some) and also keep any which merit a longer reply now that we have the Christmas season well out of the way.

There have been a slew of political (and quasi-political) announcements this afternoon, each of whih has been significant in its own way. The principal story today is, of course, how MPs are positioning themselves with reference to Boris Johnson’s ‘apology’ If we start off in Scotland, each one of the Tory Scottish members of Parliament (MSPs) has now demanded that Johnson should resign after which the insults started to flow as Rees-Mog called the Scottish Tory Leader a ‘lightweight’ and the recriminations have been flying back and forth all day. The Cabinet have been coralled into voicing their support for Boris Johnson which has been enthusiastic by some (Priti Patel, Liz Truss) and lukewarm from others (Rishi Sunak). But practically everybody is waiting to see what the Sue Gray report into ‘partygate’ will reveal. Some members of the Tory Party have been advancing some of the most specious explanations to support Boris Johnson’s walking into his own ‘party’. One was explaining that when he worked in the City, alcohol was often freely flowing so just because alcohol was around doesn’t mean to say that they were not at work (the riposte came from a NHS employee who retorted that if they brought alcohol into work and immediately starting to consume it, they would be sacked on the spot). The second major story is that Buckingham Palace have moved swiftly to ‘take back’ all of the honorific appointments enjoyed by Prince Andrew including his use of the honorific ‘His Royal Highness’ (HRH). This is evidently the Queen trying to ensure that Prince Andrew’s shenanigans do not completely overshadow the celebrations later this year for the Queen’s 70 years on the throne. But it does seem as Prince Andrew is being cast into the outer darkness and is now on his own. The third big news item was the announcement that isolation periods were now to be reduced from 7 days to 5 days (but with lateral flow tests on day 5 and Day 6)