Tuesday, 14th April, 2020

[Day 29]

A busier than usual day in our local park today. We espied our friend Julie from 200 metres away as she was nearing the end of an hour-long walk and so another long and interesting chat. Julie told us about a flowering cherry in full bloom that had been felled in the recent storm but I think it’s not an unusual occurrence. We have an occasional gardener who tells us that quite a lot of trees in the area have keeled over because the water table is so high after the recent rains so they lose their footing. Incidentally, did you know that scientists think that trees have developed some communication systems with each other via their extensive root systems? It’s not quite as daft as it sounds. We then had another chat with another of ex-Waitrose friends who is the mother of two twin girls. She was in good heart but somewhat tired as she was only getting a couple of hours sleep before it was interrupted by one or other of the girls. On our way out this morning, I decided to make a present of a magnificent hoe made by Wolf tools that I think is technically called a ‘push-pull’ weeder. It has a flattish blade but with a wavy front edge and is magnificent for quickly cultivating some ground if it has been recently been dug over. It works by cutting off any the heads of any tiny little weeds which then shrivel up and die on the surface of the soil. I think this particular hoe was given to me over thirty years ago as a birthday present but as I have another more up-to-date model of this type, I was willing for its older brother to go to a good home. When we got home, we found some Easter cup-cakes had been delivered to us a ‘thank you’ and they were delicious.

We spent a very pleasant afternoon taking coffee with our new next-door neighbours. They have been incredibly busy juggling work commitments and getting the bungalow exactly to their likes which has involved building a conservatory, trying to reconfigure the whole of the garden and so on. They (and we) have been so busy of late that it was great to spend the days in each company – as it happens we think alike on many issues (such as the mutual loathing of Donald Trump, for example). As it happens, I had one or two garden implements that helped my neigbour with some difficult tasks (removing old concrete posts, for example).

We see that the Government has today reverted to its traditional mode of lying to us. We had a graph which showed the UK death rate below other European societies, particularly France – but the UK figures included only the deaths recorded in hospital and were not comparable with the more inclusive figures than the French data which included all COVID-19 deaths, whether in hospital or elsewhere. When one of the journalists pointed this out in the press conference, there was the usual obfuscation, answering a question that was not actually posed, trotting out that it was the government’s intention to… and so on. There happened to be a letter in today’s Times which argued that journalists should only ask one question and pursue it relentlessly until the question that has been asked is actally answered instead of being evaded, met with a half-truth, statement of the obvious and so on. In general, at the daily press conferences, the journalists nearly always do ask pointed and well-directed questions but the resplies are nearly evasive. The favourite seems to be answer a question that was not actually asked or else to think of a answer with a really big number in it that is meant to impress but is really meaningless. My particular gripe is over the claim that the NHS frontline has recently been supplied with ‘x’ million pieces of equiopment which does not answer the question that the front line is evidently short of PPE and needs a lot more!