Thursday, 2nd July, 2020

[Day 108]

Today was a cloudy day with occasional bursts of sunshine, interrupted by the occasional dark cloud scudding across the sky. In the park whilst we were having our elevenses as per usual, one of our closest friends happened by together with another friend from church. As they are both ‘golf widows’ for the morning, I took delight in telling them the only golfing story I know. It was our next door but one neighbour in Leicestershire whose husband happened to be the treasurer of the local golf club. Our neighbour was deeply resentful of the time her husband spent away from her (with good reason, as you will soon see!) and took it upon herself to fling wide open the doors of the committee room where her husband was meeting with fellow members with the exclamation ‘Peter! You shouldn’t be here -you should really be at home cooking my tea! The two sequels to this story are that (i) the golf club immediately threw out the husband and installed a new Treasurer (ii) When we subsequently bumped into Peter (as I shall call him) and we enquired after his wife, he replied ‘Oh, she’s died‘ and grinned from ear to ear. Meg and I often said to each other that if the local newspaper had run a headline which read ‘Man runs berserk- chops off wife’s head with an axe‘ we would have thought to ourselves, ‘Well, I suppose that must be Peter!‘

After lunch, it was evidently grass-mowing time and I hastily set to work trying to get everything done before the rain threatened at 4.00 pm in the afternoon (I find the timings of the Weather app on my iPhone to be incredibly reliable) After this had been done, I indulged myself to trying out my new 17″ spiral ratchet screwdriver to which I had treated myself – I am sure that in the days just before cordless screwdrivers hit the market, joiners used to use these all the time and it only seemed to take a quick ‘whoosh’ or two to drive a screw in. Looking on the side of its cardboard case, I noticed that in Spanish this type of screwdriver is known as a ‘destornillador de carraca‘ If you keep saying ‘carraca‘ to yourself quickly several times, I convinced myself that this was a classic onomatopoeia and that the screwdriver was named after the sound of the word. However, I turned out to be wrong because carraca is the Spanish word for a ratchet even if not a spiral ratchet. But is one of those words with several layers of meaning, one of which is an ‘old crock’ if applied to a car. You can sometimes be too clever trying to guess at the origins of words, by the way.

I read in the news tonight that the coronavirus infection rate has risen in 36 local authority areas- and that is before the liberalisation if this weekend. So am I being neurotic or merely prescient, by being perturbed by this rise in cases? It does look as though we are ending the lockdown too early – if you look at other European societies who are ending their lockdowns, they are doing it when the infection rate is running at a much lower level and with superior ‘test-and-trace’ regimes in place. The other members of my family have been laughing with a kind of gallows humour at how one manages to have a full class of children in September with teachers maintaining a two-metre distance from the children and with breaks organised in such a way that no years of children overlap. As one teacher explained on Radio 4, how do you organise breaks in a 7-year entry – do you organise it in such a way that the breaks extend over a three hour time period? The problem is that the current lot in government have never run anything properly (often coming up through the ‘political adviser’ route) and have literally no idea how to organise the logistics of anything. When told of practical difficulties, the teachers are told they are being obstructive or even worse!