Wednesday, 10th June, 2020

[Day 86]

Today was an intermediate day, weather-wise – we wondered if we were going to get a smattering of rain and indeed we did get a few drops later in the day. Today was a little unusual in that having collected our newspapers and had our usual supplies in the park, we didn’t encounter any of the ‘usual suspects’ for a chat on the way home. But before I forget, I must mention one of the best ‘mot-justes‘ that I have heard for a long time, and this coming from the lips of Meg. When we were discussing the fate of the statue of Edward Colston, the notorious slave owner which was dragged from its plinth and dumped unceremoniously into the harbour in Bristol recently, Meg made the remark ‘May he rust in peace‘ to which I added (‘or in pieces’) but, in truth, Meg’s comment was far more funny.

Just before lunch, I thought I would give my new fence/handrail its first coat of point – by sod’s law, it started smattering with rain within 10 seconds of my starting but soon stopped. The first coat took about 3/4 hour to complete and I think the results are going to be OK. Certainly, the timber doesn’t look as untreated and has a more mellow appearance. Meg likes the overall appearance of it but I am not absolutely sure. I think I will reserve judgement until the second coat is applied and then it has had a chance to ‘age’ for a bit. I still have the option of adding a bit of external varnish to it if I think that will improve it overall. The rest of the afternoon was taken up with tidying up various things within the garage, left rather strewn about when I was assembling various woodworking tools to secure the top handrail. I was eager to get finished by 5.00 pm so that I could see what Boris Jonson had to say for himself in the light of the latest revelations. Tomorrow is going to be quite a busy day as I am expecting several deliveries from Amazon and also the delivery of a 2-metre hornbeam tree that has been on order for nearly a month now but ought to be with me by tomorrow. It will come complete with fixing stake and helpful root fungus so I will try and plant it immediately if it is not absolutely pouring down. Late on this evening, I took delivery of the latest Waitrose order which soon got put away. But the joys of internet shopping – I discovered that the two items of ‘Fishy Fish pie’ I had ordered turned out to be two tins of dog food! I shall try one out on Miggles the cat tomorrow and give the other away.

The astounding political news is the revelation that in the opinion of Prof. Neil Ferguson, one of the most influential of the modellers of the pandemic crisis that if the Johnson government had locked down a week or so earlier than one half i.e. 25,000 lives could have been saved. If I were the surviving relative of one these ‘unnecessary’ deaths, I really do not know how I would feel. It is too early to say whether this revelation has fed back properly into public opinion but it seems astounding that the Conservatives are still ahead – just – in the opinion polls. How is that possible, I ask myself, after having been responsible for so many deaths of the population? It now seems likely that as well as the politicians, several critical errors were made by the scientific community. According to the BBC Radio 4 statistics programme ‘More or Less‘ it seems that the modellers did not take fully into account the fact that the infected numbers seemed to be doubling every 2-3 days (not 4-5 as they thought) or take into account that much of the UK infection came from the rest of Europe and not directly from China. Also, it has emerged today that government advisers did not anticipate how high deaths would be in care homes as they were acting on the assumption that the residents would be shielded. Nor did they build into their model that many carehome workers were employed by agencies and would move from care home to care home thereby contributing to the spread of the virus.