Saturday, 20th June, 2020

[Day 96]

Well, there was certainly a pronounced ‘end-of-lockdown’ feeling in the air this morning as we made our normal trip to the park. It seemed to be teeming with children on their scooters (and why not?) but much busier than even a normal Saturday of late. We chatted with two lots of friends on the way down this morning and we were speculating how long it would be before the churches were open again. Apparently, our local parish priest is making the best of a bad job and is getting the church decorated whilst there is no congregation (but apparently, this has its difficulties in a listed building) This puts me in mind of a postcard which an artist friend of mine once showed me (or even described to me – I cannot now remember which) It showed Michaelangelo putting the finishing touches to his masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel whilst the then Pope was remarking to him ‘You really shouldn’t have bothered – all I wanted was a blue sky and a few stars!’ However, this story is quite interesting because when I did a quick Google search I discovered that ‘when Michelangelo began to work on the frescoes for Pope Julius II in 1508, he was replacing a blue ceiling dotted with stars.’ I suppose that the cartoonist who had drawn the joke postcard realised that – but who knows! The morning actually turned out to be quite showery and we did get caught in a light shower on the way home – fortunately, it was of the ‘April’ variety which was quite light and transient rather than the ‘June downburst’ variety. After lunch, I made to my way to my favourite hardware store to buy some pieces of timber so that I can start to construct my little framework to raise up my flower pots to a level where I can appreciate their effect when I look out of my study window. I can see that quite a lot of creosoting needs to take place but I will wait a few days until the weather warms up again which I believe it will in the next day or so.

It is now almost a foregone conclusion that the government will shortly reduce the 2-metres social distancing rule down to 1 metre. I must feel, I have a degree of ambivalence about this. One the one hand, having come this far, why put everything at risk for the sake of, let us say, another month? Of course, there is the argument that backbench MP’s have been pressing pon the government that for many businesses particularly in the hospitality area, the difference between 2 metres and 1 metre is absolutely critical as businesses will never be profitable if a 2-metre rule is maintained but they might just about be viable if the distance is reduced to one metre. This argument I understand but it appears to be made for absolutely economic reasons with no real concern about the health of the population or the possibility of a second wave of the virus (actually the ‘R’ rate in Germany has just risen to 1.7 which is truly frightening and shows what too early a lockdown may lead to) On the other hand, the Office of National Statistics has published some projections that argues that if we have a recession followed by no recovery for a year or so (the so-called ‘L’ shaped recession) there may well be en excess of 12,000 deaths a year which are recession-induced. This figure is about 20% of the present 60,000 odd deaths attributable to the virus and five years of this would mean that as many die in the recession-induced by the lockdown as are killed by the actual virus itself. So what to do for the best – I suppose, no one really knows!