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Leviticus 256/84: 600,000 vaccinations recorded ... and Barbara Pym.

Extraordinary number achieved. Only yesterday I recorded that well over 400,000 vaccinations had been given in one day; now comes the news last night that a new record of some 600,000 were made. Unless supplies of the vaccines get delayed Boris Johnston is well on his way to achieving his promise of 14,000,0000 for the vulnerable by February 15th. I've never known why he chose 'that' date but maybe so we can celebrate with Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, 16th? Can't be celebrating in Lent can we! Amongst that exciting news Wales announces it's planning to be first in the UK to start getting schools rolling again; and Capt. Sir Tom Moore got admitted to Bedford Hospital with pneumonia and Covid19. As would be expected and deserved, millions of messages of support were flying his way.

Quiet reflections, echoes even, with Barbara Pym. It'd been a grey day till 3.30pm but then the sun burst out and Avril suggested our half mile constitutional around the village - past the Village Hall and back along the Jitty. I surprised her by saying Yes, immediately. It was Barbara Pym's anacamptics, reflections, in North Oxford that brought it all on. I wanted to share the story of Pym's life as an author which fell away until Phillip Larkin sang her praises although my current read, Crampton Hodnet penned in 1940, was not published until 45 years later - after her death, to acclaim; it was also published in the US, France and Germany and serialised on BBC Radio. I wanted to wax about Pym before Avril got around to these amused and fascinating reflections on life from Ms Morrow, Jessica, Companion to Ms Doggett and a delight to the Curate Rev Latimer who lodged with them. It tells of a life with little significant purpose well and contentedly lived, a life with minimal expectations that were therefore frequently exceeded giving simple pleasure. [Our dust jacket in centred Row 1 below.] She penned more than a dozen social comedic novels so I can see much enjoyment for months ahead .

On even date Space Shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry. February 1st 2003 saw this second and final fatal tragedy for the NASA project as it was building the International Space Station orbiting Earth. On re-entry through the atmosphere a tile damaged on take off led to excess heating and the break up with all seven crew killed. The previous disaster had occurred actually at launch in January 1986 when Challenger blew up 73 seconds after take off. Both disasters led to temporary suspension of flights and construction delays although NASA was able to continue humbly hitching flights on Russian Soyuz space vehicles which had made their first manned flight as early as St George's Day, April 23rd 1967.
Freedom from Slavery Day. Also on even date in 1865 Abraham Lincoln as US President signed the Joint Resolution of both Houses of Congress to Abolish Slavery through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. His support for the Cause led Booth to assassinate him at Ford's Theatre in Washington on April 24th that same year. The 13th Amendment became Federal Law when the requisite quorum of 27/36 States adopted it which was on December 6th 1865. Kentucky, Delaware and Mississipi did not formally do so until the 20th century!

Published Date: February 1st 2021

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