Sunday, 18 July 2021

Priority news items? To self-isolate or not? Meeting old nodding acquaintances.

First item on the 7.00 news last night was something I had already heard earlier in the day: Health secretary Sajid Javid has tested positive for Covid 19. Couldn’t happen to a better person. He’s only got mild symptoms. 

Why was it the first item on the news? Goodness knows! Surely more important things were going on. 

This morning my brother-in-law sent me a message telling me that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were not going to self-isolate, despite having been pinged by the NHS app. It seemed that they were planning to avoid it by taking part in a pilot scheme involving testing. But there was an outcry, from MPs but also from members of the public. People whose children have been sent home to self isolate because their class bubble has burst were furious at the idea that the prime minister and his cabinet could get away with it. As a result - surprise! surprise! - there has been a u-turn. 

It must be remembered that the number of pupils absent for Covid-19 related reasons is higher now than at any point in the pandemic.

1 in 5 pupils were absent from school last week. Figures from the National Education Union. 

Some wag has also suggested that the virus will be self-isolating after coming into contact with a toxic Sajid Javid!

And as “Freedom Day” approaches, I have received this text message from our doctors’ surgery:-

“Our patients and team safety is our priority, we want everyone to feel as comfortable as possible when they visit us. For this reason and in line with NHS guidance will be asking everyone to continue to wear face coverings and social distance after the lifting of the restrictions on Monday 19th July. Thank you. 

Saddleworth Medical Practice. “

Sindhu Vee, stand-up comedian, asks “What did Covid teach me?” And she provided an answer: “It’s time for my kids to look after each other.” Which basically meant she delegated the home schooling of the little ones to their older siblings while she got on with stuff she wanted to do. Okay!

At one point she described herself as a typical controlling “desi” mother. This was a new word for me somI looked it up. It means Indian English. One definition says, “a person who comes from or whose family comes from India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh but who lives in another country.” There you go. 

This morning it was already so hot when I set off to run that I decided to run along the Donkey Line, where there is considerably more shade than is usual on my route around the village. During my run I came across one of my oldest nodding acquaintances. I must have got to know this gentleman some 9 or 10 years ago, progressing from a quick “good morning” to longer chats. I found out that long ago he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had been told he had perhaps five years life left. On that basis he should have been gone just a few years after I met him but he kept on going. I’d not seen him for a while but there he was this morning, now 85 years old, quite a bit slower, leaning on his stick rather more but still going. 

We stopped and chatted not far from an old and very extensive house next to the Donkey Line. High up on the gable end of the building is a boarded-up loading window where bales of wool or cotton would have been hauled up from the side of the railway line back in the day. So clearly this was not just a residence but a mini textile mill as well. The place looks very run down but my daughter, her older offspring and I have often daydreamed about buying the property and renovating it, converting it into a huge family residence where we all could live but still have our separate private sections. Pipe dreams!

Anyway, my old nodding acquaintance, whose name he tells me is Ernie (“People who don’t know me call me Ernest, which I hate, most people call me Ernie but friends call me Ern”.), told me that the building is in fact still occupied. Well, after a fashion. The owner of the building, Stuart, still lives there all alone in part of the building. For a while he had no electricity or running water but that has possibly been sorted. My daughter and I have occasionally seen evidence of occupation, rubbish behind the building and so on, and wondered if someone had broken in. Apparently not. 

These are the sort of odds and ends of local information I glean as I go out and about. 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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