Thursday, 4th June, 2020

[Day 80]

Today we enjoyed a slight variation on the theme of our daily routine. Meg and I went to our little newspaper shop to collect The Times and The Guardian aa per usual. Then, as we had an earlier start in the day, we decided to brave a little venture into the weird and wonderful world of Waitrose. At the door, we were informed that only one of us would be allowed to enter the store but when we were recognised by the staff inside, the previous instruction was overwritten and we were both allowed in. Then we treated ourselves to some dark chocolate Digestive biscuits and some of our favourite oatmeal crackers before escaping the store as fast as we could. Then we sat by the lake in the park and drank our coffee. On our way up the hill, we encountered both of our sets of friends and exchanged some gossip as a six-some – quite legal as we were in the open air and keeping our distance from each other. After lunch, I had determined to do a mini tidy-up of some tools and similar ‘useful things’ whilst at the same time looking for some things that might be useful for some woodworking activities. The bad news is that when I opened a large wooden chest that was filled with spanners and other bits of ironmongery ‘that might come in useful at some time’ I was dismayed to find that we had been visited by our little furry friends who had evidently been on the search for nesting materials – hence what used to be jiffy bags I used for storage had been reduced to a mass of chewed up paper clippings not to mention mouse droppings. I wondered how on earth they could have got into a closed box (which had been housing for a radiogram popular in the 1960s) until I realised that various holes were cut in the back panel to allow for the ingress of cables and leads so the little blighters had just walked in. So there had to be a lot of washing down with a strong bleach solution, throwing away of some items rendered useless and a general sorting out which took most of the afternoon. However, there was a slight bonus to all of this because I discovered three things that I think that I will need in the next day or so when I affix a capping rail to my newly installed handrail, namely a wood chisel, a type of rasping tool which acts as a plain and a chuck for muy little Bosch hand-held drill so I had a certain amount of fortune to offset the misfortune.

Tonight was the end of the Thursday night ‘Clap for our Carers‘ routine. I went outside ready to join in with whatever clapping might take place but there was just silence in the gloomy and rain-filled evening air. The official website had stated that last week’s was to be the final one but as the lockdown was being eased perhaps the movement had run its course. It was good whilst it lasted but had perhaps outlived its purpose. Out of interest, I clicked on a map showing the hotspots of Coronavirus throughout the country (i.e. at least 100 deaths per 100,000 of the population) and there seemed to be a smattering across the South, the Midlands and the North with no evident pattern staring you in the face and Bromsgrove remained one of the hotspots. I did wonder whether the hotspots could have been made ‘hot‘ by having more than the average share of the population in residential homes in each area and this constitutes a reservoir of infection back into the local community as we know that the sector as a whole is under-tested and not well supplied with PPE. This might have to await further analysis but perhaps is too difficult to tease out statistically. Just to keep things in perspective, about 0.5% of the population in the UK have experienced the virus whereas smallpox afflicted 1 in 6 of the population in early Georgian England (the latter rate being about 30 times more than the former)