Tuesday, 25th January, 2022

[Day 680]

Today is my Pilates day so we always need to have a fairly quick turn around on days like these. However, in the wee small hours of the morning, I decided to access the Aldi website to discern their opening hours because I am minded to revert to my previous shopping haunts at least for an experimental period. It may well be that I get ino a pattern of alternating Aldi with Waitrose and that way I can get the cheapness of Aldi with the quality associated with Waitrose. I was quite pleased, though, to be offered the option of a ‘Click and Collect’ option at my local Aldi store and so, almost on the spur of the moment, I decided to give it a go. Although it was the middle of the night, I imagined in my mind that I was traversing the aisles of Waitrose so that I could compile my shopping list for Aldi. When it came to the checkout, I was amazed to discover that despite the levy of £4.95 for the Aldi ‘Click and Collect’ services (lessened by savings on petrol and car parking charges), my entire shopping bill came to less than half the price I have been paying these last few weeks in Waitrose. So this Thursday, if all works well, all I do is turn up with my receipt between 8.00 and 9.00, and presumably some shopping bags and everything will have been done for me. During the course of the day, I have remembered some things which I had forgotten in the middle of the night but I can make adjustments to the list right up to the night before.

We knew that we had to have a quick turn around today but we collected the newspaper and then into Waitrose to pick up some supplies. There we heard the incredibly good news that the coffee bar in Waitrose, despite being closed in several Waitrose stores, is definitely to be reprieved in ours – and the newly appointed manager may even be thinking of a little party-cum-celebrations on the opening day which is in about a month’s time towards the end of February. We bumped into our Irish friend on the way down, met with a Waitrose regular who told us the good news about the coffee bar reopening and thence to our normal seat. There we gulped down some hot coffee, had a brief chat with Veteran Octogenarian Hiker who was busy trying to get 10k of kilometres under his belt for today and then shot home where I had about a five minute turn around time. I needed to depart for my class so that I could pop along the High Street and get the battery replaced in my watch which has just stopped working. As it has not replaced at all during pandemic days, then it is probably about 2½ years since I had the previous battery installed. I was promised that the new battery would proibably have a life of some 2-3 years which suits me just fine – the battery cost me £5.00 to replace but I could have bought a whole new watch for either £5 or a better design for £7.

Some quite dramatic political developments were evident this morning when the Metropolitan Police announced that there was to be a formal investigation of some of the ‘gatherings’ in 10 Downing Street. Later in the day, it emerged that the police were going to investigate some 7-8 of the approx. 17 happenings that had been reported to them. It seems as though Sue Gray herself had passed evidence of possible breach of the COVID regulations to the Met. For its part, the Met indicated that some of these incidents passed their own criteria for police investigation – that personnel had knowingly organised illegal parties, that there was no apparent defence to these allegations and that public trust and confidence in the judicial process would be undermined if further investigations were not pursued. At first, it seemed that the Sue Gray report might have to be put on hold before it was announced that the ‘findings’ would be published immediately. The question remains swirling around Westminster whether the report will be published in full or whether there will be some redactions so that junior civil servants, for example, are not named and shamed. In Parliament, Boris Johnson announced his satisfaction that a police investigation was underway. I am starting to wonder whether despite the close association with criminality, Boris Johnson might be gaming the fact that he himself would not be unduly ‘fingered’ (as this might smack of interference with the governance of the country) and he could point to the ‘criminality’ of others in order to deflect criticism of himself. Meanwhile, the phrase has been used this evening that Johnson could be accused of ‘misconduct in public office’ for which the penalty could well be a gaol sentence. It is possible that the Sue Gray report may be published tomorrow, Wednesday but I suspect that Thursday might be a better bet.