Monday, 25th May, 2020

[Day 70]

Well, today doesn’t exactly feel like a Bank Holiday when most days feel alike. However, we must say that the park was a lot busier than normal and we had to hunt for a park bench upon which to munch our comestibles. Being what used to be called ‘Whitsun’ or ‘Whitsuntide’ put me in mind of the Whit walks that used to take place in Manchester and other Lancashire mill towns in times gone by. I thought the tradition had died out some time ago but apparently, they are still lingering on, according to Google, with a march of 1800 people as recently as 2018. The Catholics used to walk on one weekend around Whitsuntide (perhaps on Whit Friday) and the Anglicans and Non-conformists a week later. What was always so colourful was that as well as the scouts, guides, nurses, trade unions, brass bands etc. it was a good excuse for various ethnic groups (particularly, as I remember, the Poles and the Ukrainians who were strongly Catholic) to process in their national dress. As I write this blog and look upwards, I have a print of L. S. Lowry’s ‘A Procession in Pendlebury’ (showing a Whit Walk procession) on my study wall. I am told that L.S. Lowry who was a curmudgeonly old soul, used to take a taxi to the moors above Oldham and then set up his easel and paint.. pictures of Manchester mill towns!

As I write this, I am listening to ClassicFM and as a special guest they have Prince Charles on his own personal selection of classical music (Only Wagner and Strauss so far, but I have only been listening for 15 minutes) I think that as well as being a guest today, he may actually be presenting a show of his own in the next day or so. Interesting, really (well, it is for me)

Today, after lunch, I spent some time in Mog’s Den putting some finishing touches to the various supports I have put in place but in truth, I was just killing time because we had heard that Dominic Cummings was to have his own press conference later on in the day. I guessed it would be about 4.00 but it actually got going at about 4.30, eventually. Whatever, your view of Dominic Cummings (hero or villain depending on whether you are a Brexit or a Remainer supporter), it was an unprecedented type of event and an extraordinary piece of political theatre. Some of the revelations were incredible – e.g. going a 30-minute round-trip to ‘test one’s eye-sight’ before returning to London by car) In view of this self-confessed break of the regulations (which none of the journalists actually pinned him to the ground on) is surely grounds for a prosection or a £1000 fine (like the rest of us) I bet the Durham police pull their punches though. More of this later – I am fascinated to see Sky TV’s ‘Review of the Press’ make of it all. I will report later when I’ve had a chance to view it!

It seems now that it is quite legitimate to ‘use your best instincts as a father’ to exempt yourself from the lockdown rules you had helped to create. Some aspects of the Cummings account stretch our credulity to the limit e.g. you go on a 60 mile round trip to test your eyesight (incidentally putting the health and safety of your wife and child at risk) – an alternative explanation is that it is your wife’s birthday and you go a pleasure trip before you return to work in London the following day! What is fascinating is that politicians, the clergy, the police, scientists, lawyers, medics and the rest of the media have all universally expressed their disbelief and astonishment at the Cummings account. To read this for yourself, the article is entitled ‘Dominic Cummings draws condemnation from across UK societycondemnation

As we suspected the Daily Mail is not at all convinced (and neither are the rest of us!)