COVID-19 has been strengthening it’s lethal grip on humanity during the month. Many countries including the UK are moving into what appears to be a second wave.  We remain hopeful that a vaccine may be available in the new year.  The UK Government is still resolutely pressing ahead where ever possible to get the economy moving again and life heading back to some semblance of progress.  To this end, all UK schools, colleges and universities have swung back into action this month.  Amidst a rising tide of  COVID infection rates sweeping across the World, this has been a bold move by the government and a highly significant landmark for families across the county.   For our children and teenagers it simply had to happen, it brings to an end half a year of closure due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  Max started his A-level courses at school on Wednesday 2nd September while Imogen had to hang-on until almost the end of the month to start her degree course at Cardiff Uni, and then there were three of us left in the family home, plus Teddy of course

In the lead-up to her departure, Immy’s been on a fitness campaign with daily work-outs, easing back into some running, and practicing her netball shooting as she is planning to trial for the Cardiff University Netball Team! The week before she set off for Uni, Immy joined five other students on trip to Yorkshire to complete the final stage of her DofE Gold.  The four day hike covering about 60 miles and included the Three Peaks  Pen-y-Ghent (691m), Whernside (728m), and Ingleborough (723m).   It seems that sweet daughter has physically and mentally recovered from the ACL rupture and reconstructive surgery 18 months ago.   Sooo proud of her.

Sonja and I drove Immy over to her halls of residence on the Wednesday 23rd,  a few days in advance of her Orientation / Freshers-Week activities. After unloading Immy’s gear into her tiny room,  Sonja and I headed 10 minutes further up the road to check-in to the Hotel Indigo. The hotel is very nicely stylised and located in the Dominions Arcade,  slap bang the City Centre.

We dropped our bags off in our room and ventured straight out to explore the city. Even in these subdued times, Cardiff comes across as a lovely city that will regain its vibrance when we get through this Covid trauma.   About 30 minutes into our exploration of the City Cente we were tempted by a pub called the Owain Glynwr which had some fine local ale on the pump.  After a couple of beers we headed back to the Steak House at the hotel for our 7pm reservation.  Immy declined joining us for dinner as she was getting acquainted with her new student mates.

Immy joined us for breakfast at the hotel the next morning and we popped out to the department stores when they opened to buy a few extra items for her.   The indoor shopping malls at Cardiff are really smart.  Very impressed.   We then headed out to a Tescos Extra to top up on food and rations for Immy before dropping her back at Halls of Residence and saying our farewells, hugs and kisses  An so it was, that we drove away and left our beautiful daughter,  at Uni in another city,  in the middle of a global pandemic, knowing that it could quite possibly be months before we would see her again.

Time for reflection.  Time to deal with our new challenges,  take everything in our stride, and prove our metal.   Time for a new chapter. Good luck Immy,  We’re missing you already,  We know you will be happy in your success. xxx

Football season has kicked off well on all fronts this month.   Arsenal are looking confident and firmly in contention for a top four position on their current form in the Premier League.  While they messed  up defensively agains Liverpool (to lose 3-1) they always looked like they could win and missed some good chances on goal. The other three (out of four) Premier League matches have been won convincingly.

Onslow FC U17’s  have also had a convincing start. We have won every league game so far  (two away games and one at home) and are playing with confidence on and off the ball.   We are looking solid in defence, often taking comment of mid-field and looking sharper in front of goal than we have ever looked before.    It was also a delight to see the lads play Milford for the last pre-season friendly at the Onslow Recreation Ground.  The pitch wasn’t too bad and for the first time ever, we beat Milford who are in the league above us, so it was great for our confidence.  We end of the month positioned very nicely at the top of the table.   Well done lads!

Another  big item for this month (in my world) is that I’ve had some success in my job-hunting.  The contract market has been torrid, so I switched to searching for permanent work last month.  My search activities have culminated in several interviews during the month, three of them in the last week.  Today I received an offer of a Fixed Term employment, which I accepted.   I am still getting my head around it, suffice to say that it will mark another life-style change and takes a load of pressure off.  I am very relieved right now.  Time to take stock, re-align and re-prioritise.  The new chapter is fast being re-written, it will be a more radical departure from the previous chapter.   I need to revisit my plans and business strategy.

Construction work began on the new West Coast ‘high speed’ rail network (HS2) at the beginning of the month (on 4th  September). I still think they should have called it something else.   It’s not really about the speed the train travels at , is it?  Surely the real benefit to the economy is the volume of people that it can transport?  While on the subject, during my recent job-hunt I have developed a much deeper understanding of the whole concept of ‘transport as a service’ and made a conscious decision to get more into this in the future.  There may be some options to explore in my new role (hopefully).

Brexit negotiations have become even more intense as an arbitrary deadline to conclude the Trade Deal negotiations approached at the end of the month.   The UK Government upped the stakes with the new UK Internal Market Bill by legislating to ensure that the UK’s internal trade and logistics will continue to operate as-is, unhindered by any no-deal scenario.  However the legislation breaks the withdrawal deal (agreed by Boris Johnson just over a year ago). It means that the UK will be breaking International Law and it may also threaten the Northern Irish peace deal. This brinksmanship could cost the UK it’s international reputation as one of the modern World’s most respected guardians of international law and justice and risks adversely affecting strategic UK relationships around the globe which rely on a high level of trust between businesses and governments.

The US Election process is now well underway and it’s starting to look messy.  Following the death of Ruth Bader Gindsburg, a Supreme Court Judge , the highest court of the land (in the US) is now tipping to the right. Gindsburg was a highly respected and prominent liberal voice in the group nine Justices that preside in the Court, so Trump is rushing to get his conservative nomination place ahead of the Election. I wonder what he is up to next?