Posted on 31st December 2021

Well this damn virus is everywhere and I’m sure the reported cases no-way reflect the real numbers but we can all be grateful that for most people who get the virus the symptoms are relatively mild. In my family there was a mild panic when my youngest daughter got the virus and that this meant that I might have been exposed. Earnest antigen and PCR tests followed and, as it transpired, boosters, infusions, Hepa filters, and maybe even timing, helped my wife and I dodge the bullet. However it did ram one thing home. In so many cases it is nobody’s fault they got the virus. Virus-guilt within a family circle is very real and upsetting. It gave us all some idea what families throughout the country are enduring. I am not sure when as a nation we are going to arrive at the peak of infection and it is clear that it is not just the health service that is under severe strain but all services. Until it passes everybody should exercise caution. In the midst of this crisis it would be helpful to the national morale if one felt that somebody in government was in charge. Instead we are greeted in the national newspapers by grinning figures from the Dept. of Foreign Affairs celebrating and breaking government rules in the middle of a pandemic. It sends out the wrong message. No wonder people are angry. Is there anything good to come out of all of this – actually, yes. At the rate the virus is ripping through the population we might establish herd immunity more rapidly than was anticipated. In the meantime, batten down the hatches.

Slane Castle

Christmas brings good viewing on the box and this year was no different but for the fact that one offering featured some people we knew – “A Very British Scandal” which dramatised the acrimonious divorce between the 11th Duke of Argyll and his wife Margaret. I knew two of the Duke’s children and their stepmother Margaret. It was all pretty electrifying stuff and one could see why some people have called it an early and quite extreme example of slut shaming. I met the Duchess some years later when she was staying with the legendary oil-man Paul Getty. Her reputation preceded her but as far as I was concerned she was self-important, dripping in coronets and comforted by poodles. The Duke’s son, the 12th Duke was a charming and interesting fellow who came to stay with us many years later. Funny old world.

So Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty. Keeping an eye on the evidence emerging it looked like it was going that way. In any democratic state it is important that the rich and powerful are brought to account. I imagine there will now be substantial pressure on London’s metropolitan police to re-examine Prince Andrew’s involvement. Still HRH has a civil action against him, being brought to Court in New York next week. My sympathy in this case rests entirely with the Queen, for whom I wish a Happy New Year.

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