Monday was a rather bleak day among many others this year. Travel bans, new variant Covid, Brexit trade talks deadlock, lockdowns and the ‘loss’ of the family Christmas. Roll on 2021?
As if that wasn’t enough, my expectation was that the BBC had omitted me from the Sports Personality of the Year nominees because they were going to unveil me as the surprise winner during Sunday’s live programme. They didn’t. Lewis Hamilton won.
I took refuge in the gym where I was the only person for most of my hour. I hate to think what their finances look like at the moment but I enjoyed it.
After bemoaning how the Fantasy Football league was spoiling my enjoyment of many of the matches, I appear to have won last week with a record score and taken the top position in the league. It just makes the inevitable fall all the further and all the harder when it comes.
Running on Tuesday with our younger son – the regular 10.2km (6.3 miles) with the light relief of a painful right ankle for a bit of it. If I can invent the game of ‘body hurt bingo’, I am very close to calling ‘house’.
Back to the gym again on Wednesday and a 7km (4.34 miles) run with my wife and our younger son on a cold but bright Thursday – Christmas Eve. A slightly brighter Christmas Eve than expected as the conclusion of a trade deal was announced between the UK and the European Union. A cross between the Holy Grail and a shameful sell-out if you listen to the rival politicians – no doubt time will tell that it is neither but it will be good to move on from Brexit.
Christmas day was, of course, different from usual and from what we had planned. Our older son was in London (happily not on his own as his girlfriend was with him) and my wife’s family were in Surrey and Hampshire so we had various video calls – not quite the same but surprisingly good. The food and drink were, at least, unchanged in quality and quantity.
We went into the UK’s Covid tier 4 on Boxing Day, it’s the highest level of restrictions with a basic ‘stay at home’ message. That’s the gym closed again for a while, along with non-essential shops and leisure services. The county had 8 cases of the new variant of the virus just before Christmas, all the the City of Oxford itself.
I guess we are caught because of proximity to more worrying areas and because it’s simply not possible to give the restrictions enough ‘texture’ to carve out specific towns or villages. Our local authority area has had the lowest infection rate in the county – long may it stay that way.
The three of us went for a good walk on a cool, breezy but sunny Sunday – just under 4km (about 2.4 miles) around the sodden fields behind the house but a great bit of fresh air after Christmas. We saw three other people, but nobody within 100 metres.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: Do not call a dog with a whip in your hand
2. BBC News website: Couple hold 10,000 guest drive-through wedding in Malaysia
The newly-weds were seated outside a grand government building while guests slowly drove past in their cars. The windows had to remain rolled up and guests only got a socially distant wave from the wedding party. The guests were treated to a dinner – but had to pick up their pre-packed food through their car window and drive on.
The report says the celebration came a day before the groom’s politician father was found guilty in a $500,000 (£370,000) corruption case and sentenced to a fine and 12 months in prison, stayed, pending an appeal.
3. BBC News website: First cases of coronavirus detected in Antarctica
The Chilean Army reported 36 personnel at its Bernardo Riquelme O’Higgins base have tested positive. Antarctica had been the last continent without a case of the virus
4, BBC News website: ‘Chris Whitty is more popular than Britney Spears’
Few people had heard of Professors Chris Whitty or Jonathan Van-Tam at the beginning of 2020. Now, after months of featuring on governmental briefings, England’s chief medical officer and his deputy are proving a hit with shoppers.
An online search reveals the faces of the two unlikely cult heroes on novelty mugs, T-shirts, beer labels, birthday cards and even prayer candles. “We have Britney Spears and Michael Jackson designs,” says the co-owner of a gift business. “Chris Whitty is outselling them all.”
5. I was reminded that Donald Trump had a cameo role in ‘Home Alone 2’, directing Macaulay Culkin ‘down the hall and to the left’. I’d have been more impressed if he’d insisted on the line being ‘down the hall and to the right’.