Wednesday, 8th April, 2020

[Day 23]

Yet another fine day – I suppose we had better enjoy it whilst the good weather lasts! As you might expect, there was a sprinkling of people in the park (rather than none) and we spent a happy few minutes chatting with some of our acquaintances. When we got back, Meg had a medical ‘appointment’ but everything is done by phone these days and quite a lot of things do not actually require face-to-face contact. We read one of the many articles that appear in the quality press these days and, of course, the consensus view is that no area of social life will ever be the same again. It looks as though the default medical consultation (GP’s, outpatients) will now be performed remotely as the technology becomes more widespread. As we use Apple technology in our house, we tend to use FaceTime which I must say has already worked excellently. One letter (or was it an article in the Time newspaper?) was arguing that more has been achieved by using the new technology to facilitate doctor-patient interaction in the last three weeks than in the last twenty years. Personally, I feel quite optimistic that the ‘new normality’ which will emerge after the worst excess of COVID-19 (not when it is over, if ever) may mean new forms of economic and social organisation in which as many one third of the population work from home (probable), new patterns of sociability and patterns of cooperation will emerge (more than likely) and that essential local shops and businesses may enjoy a resurgence (a possibility). What the modern-day High Street will look like in the typical town will look like, goodness alone knows, as many of the presently closed businesses will surely never re-open again (if only because there is not the footfall or the consumer spending power) to make them viable. In some ways, this might present more opportunities – e.g. bars/cafes more like their continental counterparts that sell coffee, cakes, alcohol, light meals and so on. We shall see!

In the afternoon, we had the organisation come and empty our BioDisk (miniature sewerage treatment plant) and were relieved that although it was quite full, everything was functioning normally – it will be checked mechanically tomorrow all being well. In the autumn rains, we had a large Hawthorne tree that had been overcome by ivy and was a little precariously growing on a slope. Anyway, it became uprooted and had to be removed which it was very efficiently. But left behind was a large amount of garden detritus not to mention some garden tools that used to be hung up in its branches (to save a journey into the house – don’t ask!) and this had been left all winter. So I set myself the task of a tidy-up which was meant to last 20 minutes but became an hour. I am glad to say that Miggles, our neighbourhood cat that has adopted us (not the other way around) supervised all of my activities, pretending to catch spiders and insects (she missed the two frogs that I unearthed), and checking that everything I did was being performed to specifications. I must say I have never seen a cat like her. When last autumn, I was laying a path and that involving taking slate delivered in a ton bag which had been delivered to our house down in bucket loads to where the path was being laid, my every move was carefully observed and scrutinised. When I filled up my buckets with shovelfuls of slate, Miggles observed and counted out the correct number of shovel loads per bucket and then followed me down the garden path and supervised that it was distributed correctly before the procedure was repeated) I wonder if any readers of this blog have had similar experiences like this with any of their household pets (I exclude goldfish and hamsters from this observation)