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I remember an article in a Sunday newspaper many years ago – probably The Observer- though it was while I was a student in London and I am not sure I could afford such a weekly treat in those days. It was about the care of your tyres – something for an owner-driver of a minivan to find fascinating – Those little wheels went round lots of times in getting from place to place and the loss of thread, not to mention the risk of nails in the roads, meant you should check the tyres quite often and try to be sure their pressures were correct and balanced.

The essence was that tyres do not like doing nothing and will be at risk if your car simply rests beside the road or in a garage. On the other hand they do not like doing anything too quickly – acceleration, deceleration, starting and stopping all put a strain on them and wear away the thread. Cornering is another problem – putting strain on the sidewalls. Humming along at a steady pace on a straight road is what tyres do best.

Well – it seems sensible to be aware of what causes harm to tyres – but if we are to get anywhere we sometimes have to deviate from their sedate preferences.

Some people thrive on taking risks. Much of the entertainment of funfairs and the like depends on putting people into situations which are scary – but hopefully safe. Most of us will accept a degree of risk – but not too much and not too often.

The covid pandemic has placed us in a situation where we have lost confidence in our previous experience of normal life – meetings with strangers, friends and even close family have been labelled as potential hazards – and prohibited for our own protection by law. We are asked or required to wear masks. We are asked or required to wash our hands or to use hand-gel at every going out and coming in. My reading is that covid is mostly spread by respiratory droplets – is hardly a hazard in the fresh air, but more likely to be transmitted indoors when in close proximity with others. Wearing a mask when walking in the park or countryside is probably unnecessary. Not wearing a mask in the supermarket – may be reckless and irresponsible. But I am not sure that handwashing beyond the usual civilised routines is necessary.

I need to remember a code for the burglar alarm – or risk a dreadful noise every morning which will wake the household and part of the street. I need a code to use my bankcard for purchases above a certain cost – or risk embarrassment in the queue