Saturday, 18th July, 2020

[Day 124]

Yesterday was a beautiful and fine day and one in which it was a real pleasure to meet with our long-standing friends in the park. By all accounts, tomorrow is meant to be the same kind of weather, with fine weather projected over most of the country. But today was very much the day in between – it has been a cloudy, humid and glowering kind of day which has really been quite oppressive and quite unpleasant all day long. So it was not really the kind of day in which one could do anything much, so I indulged myself in a really good read of The Times the weekend supplement of which was actually quite interesting for a change (for example, the foodstuffs to eat to keep you healthy in the long run – it was no surprise that broccoli makes it into the list once again, justifying its position as a superfood. Try putting ‘Broccoli: Super Food’ into a search engine such as Google to see what I mean). Just to compound the type of rotten day that today has proved to be, the bad weather in Manchester meant that there was no play in the England v. West Indies Test Match in which a potentially match-winning position that England is in (which would level the series) is put at risk since a whole day’s play has been lost.

Today is the day when our Waitrose order is delivered, quite late in the day but at least it arrived in the allocated time slot (unlike last week where it was much delayed) I always amaze myself that one can spend such an amount on shopping only to see it all disappear into store cupboards and you seem to have nothing to show for it (although we did avail ourselves of spending some money on cosmetics which would normally have been bought in a different type of store) Earlier in the day, my sister had texted me with the excellent news that not only had my package of gooseberries been successfully delivered to Yorkshire (it was only posted yesterday) but she had already turned it into three jars of jam. Rather than posting a jar down to us, we resolved that it could wait until the next time we visit Yorkshire so that will be quite a treat then. We had been in some doubt as to what is the best occasion to see relatives both in North Wales and also in Yorkshire in view of the uncertainties generated by the coronavirus. We have a tentative plan which is to wait until the 1st August deadline has well and truly passed and then go off to North Wales for a few days in the second week of August (assuming hotel booking’s can be made as normal) and then visit Yorkshire about two weeks after that, which would be the final week of August and will coincide with my sister’s birthday at the end of the month.

It looks as though the blame game for the coronavirus debacle has well and truly started. Well and truly in the firing line is the body called Public Health England where there is already a certain amount of dispute whether under the reforms instituted by Andrew Lansley (generally regarded as pretty disastrous) give the Secretary of State (for Health) to power to take direct control or whether the degree of autonomy they were granted meant that ministers lost the power to intervene and control that part of the NHS. In any case, it looks as though Public Health England (or PHE) which undoubtedly made some mistakes will now be the fall guy thus deflecting the blame away from the politicians who dithered and delayed by at least a week thus doubling the total number of deaths due to the virus. We are talking about an excess death toll due to the delay in the lockdown being of the order of 20,000 which is a truly staggering figure (equivalent to about 60 jumbo jets crashing with a total loss of life) The Sunday newspapers tomorrow will no doubt expose the divisions between the scientists and the politicians in forensic detail which I am sure will pass most of the population by (but which news junkies such as myself will surely lap up)