I have come to realise that when you are entering a new phase or situation in your life, it is really important to establish some facts and have genuine information before you ‘blunder’ on. I have found Age UK invaluable in recent times. They support older people as the name suggests and have an incredible store of knowledge.

Their Information and Advice Service is second to none. I only discovered recently just how many excellent ‘fact sheets’ the organisation produces. And so, as is my usual custom, praise and thanks to Age UK for their help recently.

I have to say too that I have been impressed with the flow of information coming out of various organisations in Kensington at this particularly difficult time and also the way places are being made ‘covid safe’ to visit. Take for example my GP practice, Stanhope Mews West Surgery just alongside Gloucester Road. They have done such a great job at organising flu jab clinics. 

The surgery is in premises that lend themselves to the separation of people to make an operation ‘covid-safe’. It is in adapted mews houses and so there can be three different entrances. For the ‘flu clinic,’ it was ideal. Each entrance had a member of staff, easily identifiable in a coloured tabard. Bunting with flu clinic strung outside the whole building. A careful timetable of patients who seldom overlapped but a chair outside of each door just in case. And a member of the team inside to administer the jab. 

Well done, it was a flawless operation Stanhope Mews West surgery! And, it is reassuring to know how well a clinic of that sort can be organised. There may be different sorts of jabs in the future to administer – we can but hope! If you listen to Donald Trump – no don’t get me going on that topic. 

My day started with laughter. I was rapidly dismissing items on the newsfeed at the right-hand side of my screen when I accidentally clicked on one item. It was about Arnold Schwarzeneggar having had heart surgery for an aortic valve replacement and he is ‘feeling great’. As I am waiting and hoping for a similar operation – although with understandable trepidation – I was really encouraged. 

I am crawling around a bit at the moment – very sluggish with swollen legs and feet (sorry horrible image) and having to take water tablets with the inevitable rush to the loo at regular intervals! It should fix all that. And, Arnie at 73 is the same age as me. 

I am a firm believer in the ability to dig out optimism from the most unlikely places. We all need to do that now and be good neighbours – more on that theme shortly. I have great neighbours and that is another reason to be thankful. 

In Praise of the Information Givers