Sunday, 31st October, 2021 [Day 594]

As I got up this morning, a really heavy band of rain was sweeping its way across the Midlands and according to the weather app. on my phone, we were going to have showers during most of the morning. But before I could even contemplate walking down for the newspaper, we first had the job of getting all of the clocks in the house out back by an hour (as British Summer Time ended at 3.00 this morning) This job is normally straightforward except there are always one or two appliances where I cannot remember from one half year to the next how to adjust the time (for example, our electric cooker) However, I managed to get most of that done having got relatively early and then I cast an eye towards the sky until to see it was raining quite hard. So I jumped into the car (changing its clock en route as well) and went down by car on this occasion. As there was no one else in the shop at this unearthly time on Sunday morning, I chatted for a few minutes with the young man who is regarded as a ‘trustie’ and is left to man the shop on  Sunday mornings. When we got home, it was the Andrew Marr show as per usual and then we delayed somewhat, wondering how the weather was going to pan out. As the immediate rain showers seem to have passsed us by and we had alternating periods of bright sunshine followed by a ‘spitting’ rain, we decided to have our walk as usual but made made sure we had all of our wet weather gear on and equipped ourselves with an umbrella. The weather was quite kind to us as we walked down but we decided that we would make for the bandstand (full of Victorian wrought ironwork) and not bother with trying to dry off a wet park bench. As we were drinking our coffee, we were joined by Seasoned World Traveller (one of the park regulars) and we one of typically bizarre conversations (this time, ranging over the characteristics of labrador dogs and the degree of ‘wokeness’ of the Labour front bench) As we made home for lunch, the sun came out and was actually warm on our faces as we walked home- we appreciated this whilst we could because the weather is certainly to get chilier in the next few days ahead. When we got home, we had one of those chicken-in-a-tinfoil-dish type of meals that some supermarkets ofer these days – all you have to do is to snip one or two little holes in the plastic bag in which it comes to allow for the egress of any steam and then give it a final blast in the oven with a big ‘window’ cut in the bag. All of this worked out fine and although our lunch was a little delayed we ate only ‘breast’ between us leaving us with enough chicken left over for the next 3 days or so.  Just before lunch, we watched the first half of the women’s rugby match beween England and the New Zealand team (called the ‘Black Ferns” to contrast with the English ‘roses’) England was up 17 points at half time – then we had lunch and immediately afterwards saw the second half in which the England team came out as undisputed victors and with the highest ever margin of victory against the New Zealanders.

Today is the first day of COP-26 (the Climate Change conference being held in Glasgow) As today is the ‘arrival’ day then nothing much to report at the moment – I suspect that later on tonight, there may be a procedural opening of the conference as various world leaders have journeyed on from the G20 summit in Rome. I must admit to a slight feeling of dismay as China, Russia, probably India and Brazil may all stay away and without commitment from all of these major players, what hope is there for the rest of the world? No doubt, as the conference proceeds for two weeks, there is enough time for negotiations to begin in earnest.

Tonight, seemed to be a pretty ‘naff’ night on the TV so Meg and I thought we would treat ourselves to an opera. Using my Amazon firestick is always an incredibly hit-and-miss affair – however, I managed to locate a copy of Puccini’s ‘La Bohème‘ which is always good entertainment,not to mention a real tear jerker. So at least I have this going in the background as I blog and so far, so good. 

The COVID news is still the sorry tale it always was. I think my sentiments have been well expressed by Stephen Griffin, a virologist at the University of Leeds, who says that the disappointing booster uptake is unsurprising given the hesitancy from the government about vaccinating children. But he adds that this decision has made the booster programme increasingly important. We are indeed in dire need of this booster programme, but it is at least partly of our own making as a result of policy. Yet again, it may become a case of too little, too late, despite the availability of fantastic vaccines to help steer the ship.’