Fancy, apparently some of you are suffering from withdrawal symptoms – not from Covid-19 but from my self-isolation blogs!  I’ve just counted (typical of the silly/inconsequential things I do with idle hands) and you’ve had no word from me for 52 days!  No wonder some of you are fearing the worst.

We remain well and far more active than previously.  We have ventured out to London (on near empty trains with our masks and sanitizer) a few times: to some socially distanced lunchtime concerts at Wigmore Hall, to play croquet at Roehampton, to visit the dentist. We have had friends to lunch outside on the terrace, I have made numerous trips out on my bicycle and my U3A writing group had a face-to-face meeting in a member’s garden.  We probably interrupted each other just as often as we used to in our Zoom meetings but it wasn’t as noticeable (unintentional over-speaking on Zoom is irritating and tiring).

But now, with Covid-19 numbers on the increase again, we oldies are expecting to be told to stay at home again ‘to protect the NHS’.  A setback, but not the end of the world.  Just think, if we were Americans we could have the same miracle drugs that have apparently saved Donald Trump − not only virus free but also feeling twenty years younger!

One of my maxims has always been to under-promise and over-deliver, something that politicians (I’m thinking of Boris with his frequent ‘world beating/moon shot’ promises) spurn. In a perverse sort of way, the fact that so many people have a gap between their saying and doing, makes it easier to get a reputation for being reliable. Producing things ahead of an agreed deadline always delighted my clients, and delighting, not merely satisfying, everyone is a definite win-win.  I’ve always been in favour of targets, even ‘stretch targets’, so long as they are realistic, i.e. achievable in the time span and with the available resources.

Enough of this!  Do I sound like a retired management consultant?

I’ll revert now to being a crotchety old man.

Have you noticed how often people say ‘thanks to’ when they really mean the opposite?  ‘Hospital admissions are up thanks to the coronavirus.’  ‘The virus is spreading exponentially thanks to people not wearing face masks.’  It also irritates me when people say ‘of course’ implying that everyone knows, or should know, something. Jeremy Paxman, on University Challenge, often throws in an unnecessary ‘of course’ when revealing the answer to an obscure (to me) question.  A couple of other words/phrases that cause my heart to sink are ‘world premier’ and (of course!) ‘password’.

Have I said enough to reassure you that we are alive and well and, as the saying goes, in good spirits?   Hope so.


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