Friday, 22nd May, 2020

[Day 67]

It comes to something when you look forward to the Iceland delivery of shopping as the highlight of one’s day! But this is not quite as ridiculous as it might sound as I got delivery of a pack of 10 eggs which my spies tell me are hard to find as everybody is going crazy baking goodness-knows-what in which eggs are a vital ingredient. Anyway, the order came as expected and I suspect that the quality is going to turn out OK (although I did change one item when the reviewers said it was the most disgusting rubbish they had ever eaten). Today proved to be a different kind of day as our regular cleaner/domestic help was now allowed to come along (she can come into our house because that’s for money but not into her mother’s house because… the difficulty in applying the lock-down rules) However, we managed fine by agreeing never to be in the same room together at the same time. On our walk down into the hill, we encountered one of our regular husband-and-wife friends who we were glad to see again because their grandson is about to enter higher education and having given advice to countless youngsters over the years at a similar stage in their lives, we were quite happy to make the offer again when these strange times are over (or have at least, moved on).

Friday is grass-mowing day and again this went without a hitch – I say this, because there is always the slightest scintilla of doubt in my mind whether my petrol driven mower will actually start – it is a Swedish ‘Stiga’ model and it always does. I only mention it because I once had a Mounfield which was an absolute ‘beast’ ( polite word!) to start and eventually, I got so fed up with it that I gave it away. I suspect it had never been set up properly form its manufacture but it leaves a horrid memory. Right at the end of the afternoon, I did finish off my gardening ‘opus’ with a swift strategic use of forest bark and the construction of a bed with the slope removed (or at least ameliorated) in which I can plant my California poppy seeds tomorrow. There happen to be one or two poppy plants that have ‘escaped ‘ onto the public highway (footpath) so I will attempt to ‘liberate’ one tomorrow, all being well.

The breaking political news this evening is the ‘revelation’ that Dominic Cummings, the Svengali-like special adviser to the Prime Minister has been caught apparently breaking the ‘lock-down’ laws following a period of self-isolation (definition of Svengali: a person who manipulates or exerts excessive control over another) Other senior figures who have engaged in such hypocritical behaviour have been forced to resign (e.g. Professor Neil Ferguson, the scientist whose modelling led to the lockdown, the Scottish health minister) and it remains to be seen whether the same will prove true of Dominic Cummings or not. It is a sad reflection of the operation of political influence that the nearer one is to the centres of political power, the greater the feeling that ‘rules are only meant for the little people, not for people like us‘ It all depends on whether the press, which is generally Tory-supporting, decides collectively that they are going to ‘go’ for a political figure or not. I think it was Alastair Campbell, the last press secretary in the Labour administration who argued as a rule of thumb that if a negative story ran for more than about three days, then the individual in question was probably ‘toast’ – so we shall watch ‘What the Papers Say’ with particular interest over the next few days…