Friday, 10th April, 2020

[Day 25]

It is evident that the government is getting increasingly worried that the coincidence of fine weather with what was traditionally the Easter vacation period will bring people out into the parks and recreational spaces. The frequency and stridency of the messaging seem evident because the ‘peak’ of the COVID-19 deaths is not yet actually in sight – all could jeopardised if a significant portion of the population decided to kick over the traces and try to see some friends ‘en-masse’ Although by and large, the police have gone about their law-enforcement with a degree of sensitivity, to some police chiefs the crisis gives the opportunity for the assumption of wide-ranging powers. One police chief suggested that an individual’s supermarket trolly be examined for goods that were not deemed to be essential. Fortunately, this last proposal had to be rapidly withdrawn when it became evident is was both draconian and unenforceable.

We had four interesting conversations with diverse groups of people. The first was with our friend, Julie, who we know from our Waitrose days and who lives on the edge of the park, in any case. Then we bumped. into a youngish couple who were out dog walking and it turned out that the husband worked for the part of the Health Service that evaluates the efficacy and affordability of various drug regimens. As he was working at home (like our own son) we were speculating how this situation might become the norm rather than the exception in the post COVID-19 UK. Finally, we saw two lots of our friends who live along the Kidderminster Road and we adopted our by now usual policy of standing outside a house and jumping up and down until we are noticed and people come out for a chat.

As it is Good Friday today, I also scan the broadcasting schedules to see if any performances are to be broadcast of Bach’s Mathew Passion or St. John Passion. As it turned out, I was not disappointed as St. John Passion was broadcast on Radio 3 and to be honest, some of the cantatas seem quite similar between the two works. I listened to the first hour of this before attending to the cutting of the communal lawn whilst the weather is so good. The mower stuttered once or twice and actually stopped although it started again quickly but I couldn’t find any evident cause (a slight malfunction of the carburettor, I wonder) As I type at the moment, I am listening to Dame Judi Dench who is conversation with John Humphries – and as it is Good Friday she has chosen the closing section of Matthew Passion (the cantata 'In tears of grief') which I always find incredibly moving. Bach wrote this cantata in such a way that one can almost ‘hear’ the sobs embedded in the rhythms of the music. I first heard this when I was 13 going on 14 yeas old in the school music room and it has been a particular favorite of mine ever since.

The news that the daily tally of deaths in a single day (980) now exceeds the biggest ‘one day’ totals recorded in either Italy or Spain seems grim. A more local analysis reported in the Worcester News seemed to show the rate of increase was moderating in Worcestershire i.e. we were getting near the ‘top’ of the curve but the national picture does not look at all encouraging yet.