Saturday, 11th April, 2020

[Day 26]

Another really beautiful day here in the West Midlands, only marred by the news that the West Midlands is emerging as a COVID-19 hotspot. I quote from the Health Services Journal:

While London has continually topped lists of coronavirus cases in the UK, Birmingham has the highest number outside of the Capital, with the West Midlands emerging as a hotspot for transmissions last month….The government has said it is investigating reasons why that might be the case, amid suggestions that people’s religious convictions are contributing to the spread.

Now for some more cheerful news. Although I didn’t count any ducklings in the park today, I did see a snow-white duck (which stood our amidst the mallards) and a bird which I surmise from its very long and upright neck was actually a goose. Well, it takes all sorts! As a sight for sore eyes, I was amazed to see a woman runner who, as she approached, appeared to be absolutely naked from the waist down. But as she approached, it became apparent that she was actually wearing exceptionally tight-fitting, flesh-coloured exercise leggings. I am reliably informed that this is quite fashionable amongst the younger women these days but I must confess I had never seen anything thing quite like it – perhaps I don’t get around much!

Later in the morning, I made a large fish pie – I normally do this every 2-3 weeks and it supplies a meal on the day and a further three meals for the freezer. It is not at all difficult to make but would be too fiddly for one meal and hence I make a large casserole of it. Typically it would four different kinds of fish (salmon, haddock, cod or plaice, prawns) with a bottom supplied by sliced (parboiled) potatoes and a topping of mashed potatoes and shredded cheese. I do cheat a little and add some Schwartz Fish Pie or White Wine sauce if I have in stock – the subsequent meals are really quick because it only takes about 3 minutes in the microwave and is normally accompanied by tender-stem broccoli. I realise this is not to everyone’s taste but I am trying to cut down on my consumption of meat (for a host of reasons) and increase that of fish.

In terms of political news, I observed that the Twittersphere was getting incensed by the news that Boris Johnson has been amusing himself during his recovery by playing Sudoku. The particular object of anger was with the rest of the Main Stream Media (MSM) for giving prominence to such trivia at a time when the best part of 1000 people a day are dying – surely there are more penetrating questions that journalists should be asking. Also quoted today was the estimate by a domestic abuse charity that in a single day last week the number of cases which it had to deal had risen by 120%. But most anger (in the press and which I share) was the briefing given by Priti Patel who was asked to apologise the fact that many of the deaths of NHS personnel from the COVID-19 virus ould be attributed to their lack of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). After being asked twice if she would apologise to NHS staff and their families over the shortages of PPE, Ms Patel said: “I’m sorry if people feel that there have been failings. I will be very, very clear about that.’ This must rank as one of the most half-hearted, weaselly-worded apologies of all time – a point quickly picked up by the press.

We FaceTimed our dearest and closest friends in Spain in the evening. I think it is true to say that whilst the death rate in Spain is now at a three week low, the population is starting to feel the pressure of a very strictly enforced lock-down policy – for example , only one person is allowed out of the house at a time and that to walk the dog but only a distance of 200 metres (but it can be done twice a day) It may come to that yet in the UK and some are thinking that if the WestMidlnds continues to be such a hot-spot, that day might not be too far off!