Monday, September 6th
What a to-do last night! Brazil has put the UK on its quarantine list – possibly as a tit-for-tat thing because they’re on ours. UK-based Brazilian players did not travel for the World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina. UK-based Argentinian players did, and the Brazilian authorities apparently told the Argentinian FA that they couldn’t play as they hadn’t gone into quarantine for 2 weeks (although they were due to fly out of Brazil straight after the match). Argentina fielded 3 (out of 4) of them anyway, and, about 11 minutes after KO, Brazilian police and health officials invaded the pitch and the match was abandoned!
And Emma Raducanu’s into the QFs of the US Open! Absolutely amazing. Dan Evans lost to Daniil Medvedev, but that’s hardly a disgrace.
Those schools which didn’t go back last week have pretty much all gone back today.
And I’ve had an e-mail from Old Trafford to say that there will be spot checks on vaccine passports on Saturday. As there’s not yet a legal requirement to show them, you will not be refused admission to the stadium without one, but I suppose they want to check that the system works. Just hope it doesn’t cause long delays like it’s done at the US Open.
Tuesday, September 7th
The Christmas puddings, mince pies, chocolate Father Christmases etc are out on the shelves in Tesco. This didn’t surprise me, because it happens every year, but … how ridiculous! In the first week of September!
Anti-vaxxers have thrown gravel at Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and protested at public transport sites in parts of Europe.
Boris has announced plans for a new 1.25% tax to cover health and social care costs. I think we all accept that there is a huge problem with social care, and also issues with the NHS, and that the money for increased funding has to come from somewhere. However, that’s a huge chunk out of people’s income, and you can guarantee that horrible bosses will not be giving private sector workers a pay rise to cover it. I suspect that “the pandemic” will be used as an excuse to freeze private sector pay – i.e. cut it in real terms – for years to come, whilst public sector workers get rises but moan that they want more. And, of course, self-employed people can’t just put up their own income. But I do accept that the money has to come from somewhere.
The i newspaper has seen fit to report that there are plans for some sort of lockdown in late October or early November. The Government’s denied it – although not ruled it out if hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. Do newspapers have to do this? Now, anyone who’s due to get married, go on holiday etc around then is going to be stressing, and hotels and entertainment venues are going to be stressing about losing half term bookings.
And it’s suddenly gone really hot. Like, 80 degrees hot. And I’m stuck in an office. Bah!!
Wednesday, September 8th
Oh no!! The boiler packed up last night. I suppose at least it didn’t pick the middle of winter. You used to be able to speak to a human being at British Gas even if you rang at midnight: now, even if you ring at a normal sort of time, you only get an automated voice prompt. However, I was able to book an engineer for this morning. To be fair, he turned up at 9 o’clock, for a “between 8 and 1” appointment. But he seemed rather clueless, kept looking for answers on his tablet (hopefully a technical website and not Google), kept muttering to himself, rang his mate, and then said that it was “pointing towards the circuit board”. But they don’t carry circuit boards. So he will have to come back tomorrow. Again “between 8 and 1”. Let’s just hope that this sorts it. And that it stays sorted – on numerous occasions, British Gas have claimed to have sorted a problem and then it’s gone again days or even hours later.
And this is what happens. I appreciate that they cannot give an exact time. I appreciate that they do not carry expensive parts with them. But imagine if this had happened pre-Covid, when I wasn’t set up to WFH? Mum and Dad are in London for a few days, visiting my sister, so I couldn’t have asked them to wait in. What on earth would I have done? Rung in sick and felt guilty about lying? And then had 2 days knocked off my paid sick leave allowance, so that I wouldn’t have got paid if I genuinely *had* been ill later in the year? I am so, so glad that WFH is now a “thing”, but so sorry for those people for whom it isn’t.
But, OMG, Emma Raducanu is into the semis of the US Open! She’s beaten Belinda Bencic, whom I thought had such a chance here, in straight sets. I’m lost for words. A million times well done, Emma!
In Covid-related news, hopes are rising that the infernal travel system may soon be overhauled. And Fred and various other players are going to be suspended because the Brazilian FA have complained that clubs wouldn’t release them. Releasing them would have meant them having to go to quarantine hotels when they got back. Talk about a no-win situation!
And official figures have shown that people in northern England were 17% more likely to die with Covid than those in the rest of the country, and that northerners had a 26% higher mortality rate in care homes than elsewhere in England, due to existing levels of deprivation. I’m very angry and very upset about this.
Thursday, September 9th
Hooray. The boiler is working again. Touch wood! Let’s hope that it stays that way!
Having my hair cut tonight.
All the Parklife crap is up in the park … including signs saying “Please have your Covid NHS pass ready”. I’ve never actually seen signs like that in person before.
And my elder nephew only went back to school on Monday (the younger one is still at primary school so not affected by testing) but two of his friends have already tested positive for Covid. The first kid will now miss a close friend’s bar mitzvah, at which he was due to be giving a speech. The second kid tested positive after he started coughing *at* school … so could already have spread it all round the class and all round the bus. Will this nightmare ever end?!
Friday, September 10th
OMG, the US Open final will be Emma Raducanu v Leylah Fernandez. I can’t believe what I’ve just written. Very, very, well done, ladies – and come on Emma! What an unbelievable achievement.
I am less impressed with the Indian cricket team. A few members of the backroom team have tested positive. Not one of the players has. But they’ve used this as an excuse to call off the 5th and deciding Test match at Old Trafford. At 9am, just 2 hours before the first day’s play was due to start. A lot of fans were already on their way to the ground. OK, they’ll get the cost of their tickets back, but they won’t get their travel and accommodation costs back, nor the day off work. And the insurance will cover some of Lancashire’s costs, but not all, and it won’t cover the losses suffered by local businesses. There’s a very strong feeling that the Indian players are prioritising the megabucks IPL over the Test series, and to hell with the fans and the Manchester businesses affected. It’s not on.
Saturday, September 11th
Ronaldo is back!! We beat Newcastle 4-1, we’re top of the league (for now), and he scored the first two goals! Brilliant, brilliant afternoon!
And Brazilian players will now not be suspended.
And no-one asked me for my vaccine passport. But presumably some people got spot checked.
Now for the U.S. Open final …
… although, on the 20th anniversary of “9/11”, the mood in New York must be fairly sombre.
In Covid news, Boris will be announcing the “Winter Plan” on Tuesday. This is likely to include:
- An announcement on exactly who’ll be getting booster jabs this autumn. Israel’s giving them to everyone. That’s unlikely to happen here. But we don’t know whether it’ll be everyone in the initial nine priority groups, or just the immunocompromised, frontline workers and the elderly.
- Presumably, a decision about vaccinating 12 to 15-year olds.
- Contingency plans to reintroduce some restrictions if the NHS starts to struggle under the combined weight of increasing Covid cases and the usual winter pressures. Hopefully, this won’t be needed, but I’d rather hear Boris spell out the plans than have the press speculating and panicking everyone. I really do feel sorry for people planning weddings or other big events: instead of getting excited about the big day, they’re going to be stressing in case they have to change their plans at the last minute.
Later – OMG, Emma Raducanu is the US Open champion!!! 6-4 6-3. Disappointing for Leylah Fernandez, after beating three top 10 players, but I’m sure her time will come. But Emma – WOW! Over many years of watching tennis, I’ve seen plenty of teenagers win Grand Slam titles. Rafa in 2005, for one! The Steffi/Monica/Arantxa generation, and then the Venus/Serena/Martina Hingis generation. And others. But this! For someone to win a Grand Slam title in only her second main tour event. As a qualifier. Unbelievable. What an incredible achievement.
Sunday, September 12th
Oh, for heaven’s sake! After everything I said yesterday, it now appears that we will not be getting used to vaccine passports, because the idea of using them even for big events has been scrapped. This sort of thing really annoys people. There are arguments for and against them, but don’t say that they’re being brought in and then change your mind! It was only last week that Nadhim Zahawi was saying that the end of September was the right time to start using them. Now Sajid Javid’s saying that the idea’s been scrapped. Make your minds up!
I went to Tatton Park today, for the harvest festival – I always like to go if I’m here, and was sad when it was cancelled last year. It rained in the afternoon, but it was all right earlier.
And come on Daniil … yes, I know that it’s really mean of me to be hoping Nole doesn’t win the calendar year Grand Slam …
I always say that the end of the US Open marks the end of summer. Without wishing to sound like a doom merchant, I think we have to accept that things may well get worse over the autumn and winter months. At best, they’ll stay stable. We can’t really hope for any improvement until … well, you have to say late March/early April, so almost 7 months away. It’s not the most cheerful of thoughts! But fingers crossed …