Freedom? Week 11, September 27th to October 3rd 2021 inclusive

Monday, September 27th

The head of the Petrol Retailers’ Association has said that the panic-buying’s been caused by someone from the Road Haulage Association leaking selected notes from a confidential meeting, making it sound like there were fuel shortages when there weren’t.  Grant Shapps has said the same.   The Mail on Sunday has gone further, and said that the leak came from an ex-BBC man, now at the Road Haulage Association, who’s an arch Remoaner and wanted to cause a crisis and then try to blame it on Brexit.  All this talk of conspiracies sounds like something from the 1670s, but, quite frankly, it’s probably true.  Could we please get past all this polarisation over Brexit?  The referendum was 5 1/2 years ago, for crying out loud!   The decision’s been made.  OK, some people don’t like it, but stop moaning and move on.  Meanwhile, I hope whoever’s responsible is pleased with themselves for all the trouble they’ve caused.

Mum and Dad are having their Covid boosters on Sunday, and probably their flu vaccines at the same time.  That’s all been organised very quickly and efficiently.


Tuesday, September 28th

A lot of my elder nephew’s friends have tested positive over the past few weeks, but he hasn’t … which seemed a bit odd.  The only logical explanation, unless he was a medical miracle, was that he’d had it asymptomatically in the holidays, when he wasn’t being tested regularly.  So he’s had an antibody test, and, sure enough, he’s got antibodies.  There’s no way now of knowing when he had it, and, from our point of view, it’s good news, because it means he shouldn’t get it again any time soon.  But it really makes you wonder how many other people have had it without ever knowing, especially in the early days when there wasn’t the capacity to test anyone unless they were really ill.  I still wonder if I might have had it early last year, when I felt rough for several days but, at the time, thought it was just AN winter bug, because no-one was really talking about Covid then.  Who knows?

We’re being told that the fuel shortages are easing.  However, the petrol station at Tesco was shut this morning, and the one opposite all the office has been closed all day.  The media are busily claiming that ambulances could run out of fuel, schools could have to close if teachers can’t get to work (can teachers not use buses?), etc etc, which isn’t helping.  Boris seemed to have gone to ground until he finally emerged this evening, and Grant Shapps does nothing other than bleat that everyone needs to stop panicking.  As for the Opposition, they seem more concerned with whether or not men can have cervixes than issues which actually bother the general public.  I’m not impressed with any of them.

And I really wish that I could go back to WFH full time.  Most of my anxiety symptoms have worsened considerably since being trapped in the office again.

Roger Hunt’s died.  So many iconic footballers have died over the past couple of years.


Wednesday, September 29th

FFS!   I tried to make a doctor’s appointment today.  The online system wouldn’t let you book anything.  It took me ages to get through on the phone, and a stroppy receptionist then told me that a) you could only book a phone consultation, not an in person appointment, and b) you could only book on the day, and there were no appointments left today.   WTF?   I wasn’t expecting an appointment today: I was expecting to book one for next week.  No.  You can now only book one on the day.   Er, why?   Because they can’t be sure if doctors’ll be in tomorrow or not “because of Covid”.  I have never heard such rubbish in my life.  The pingdemic is over.  Hardly anyone is off work because of Covid.  You may as well say that you can’t book an appointment in case the doctor gets run over by a bus on their way home tonight.  You can book appointments with dentists and opticians, and indeed with hairdressers, electricians, bank managers or anyone else – this is just a stupid excuse.  Ring in the morning and hope you get luckier then.  Well, I’ve got to go to work tomorrow, so I can’t ring first thing because I’ll be on my way to work.

And I can’t have a phone consultation at work: there’s nowhere private to go and I don’t really want to be discussing medical problems with other people wandering in and out of the room.  If they could guarantee that they’d ring at a definite time, I could go out for a bit, but they don’t – they say something like “after 11”, and then it could be any time.  Are people supposed to walk out of a shop full of people, or a classroom of young kids, or a meeting with a client, to answer the phone?  And that’s if there even is anywhere private to go.

I’m absolutely fuming.  It’s bad enough that organisations like energy companies are using Covid as an excuse for bad service, but for doctors to be treating people like this is a disgrace.  NHS England has actually told GPs that they need to offer face to face appointments, and the issue’s been raised in the House of Commons and the Health Secretary’s backed up what NHS England have said, but it appears that GPs aren’t listening.  If they’d at least guarantee a day, I could make a phone appointment for a day when I’m WFH, but they won’t.

I was so upset that I tried to submit a comment on the “contact us” section of the surgery website … only to get a message that the digital service was unavailable and that the only way to express concerns was to ring the number I’d just spent an hour getting through to and complain to the stroppy receptionist!


Later – wa-hey!!  Injury time goal!  Ronaldo, of course.  United 2-1 Villarreal!


Thursday, September 30th

I was so upset yesterday that I wrote a letter to the surgery “expressing my concerns”, left a stroppy note on their anonymous feedback section once it started working again, and even wrote a letter to my MP.  I’m actually rather glad that I did this because, coincidentally, figures were released today showing that people in many parts of the country are having significant problems getting to see a GP, and that this is having a knock-on effect on A&E because people are going to their local A&E in desperation.  The BBC’s interviewed some people on the subject, and, basically, patients want to go back to a normal appointments system but doctors don’t/won’t.

However, I tried the surgery again today, and got put through to a different receptionist, who was absolutely lovely and said that I could come in to see the practice nurse, in person, on Monday morning.   Well, why couldn’t the stroppy madam who answered the phone yesterday have said that?!

The local petrol stations seem to be functioning again.

And the furlough scheme ends today.

And it is raining.  A lot.


Friday, October 1st

My ticket for the musical I’m going to in three weeks’ time came.  Along with a note saying that you need a Covid pass to get into the Palace Theatre.  All theatres are making their own rules.  You do need a pass for the Palace Theatre and the Opera House, but you don’t for the Lowry.

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi’s baby is called Sienna Elizabeth.  Not bad.

Covid rates are very high amongst secondary school kids, although less so amongst other age groups.

It is cold.  But it is October.

And Australia’s partially reopening its borders, at last.


Saturday, October 2nd

FFS.  Drew 1-1 at home to Everton.  Our league season is really going wrong with a vengeance.  With all due respect to Everton.

Petrol stations here have all got fuel again.  But those in South East England haven’t.

And the Australian state of Victoria’s making it mandatory for professional athletes to be vaccinated.  I haven’t heard any anti-vaxxer comments from any of the England cricket players likely to be in the Ashes squad, but it’s no secret that certain top tennis players aren’t keen on being vaccinated, and they’re now going to have to make a choice between getting jabbed and missing the Australian Open.  Interesting development.   Meanwhile, a pill which helps reduce the effects of Covid is sounding promising.


Sunday, October 3rd

Hooray, at last, we can see the new James Bond film, No Time To Die!  I went this morning, and it really was quite busy for a Sunday morning.   Let’s hope that this can revive the cinema industry.  Then I went to The Vienna Coffee House, and it was lovely to see it to busy after all its struggles last year.  Whilst I was so near the Midland, where Boris & co are staying for the Tory party conference, I went over for a nose, but there was nothing to see except a load of police and a few people waving placards about various things.

It’s the Manchester Marathon next week. and 80,000 people took part in the London Marathon today.  Rather odd having them in October, but better late than never!


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