Friday, 24th July, 2020

[Day 130]

So a cloudy day to start off with but it brightened up as we started our walk down into town, where we were due to coincide with our Waitrose friends in the park. On our way, I encountered one of my Pilates class-mates and we exchanged notes as we are both due to start back on 1st September. She had been following some Pilates classes on Zoom (in common with many others these days) but she reckoned it wasn’t quite the same and she couldn’t wait to get back. I explained that our Pilates teacher when I had texted her when the lockdown was being slowly released had indicated that we would probably all have to bring along our own Pilates mats (which makes a lot of sense) On the strength of this, I had gone onto the internet and bought myself one so I will be ready for the off as soon as we get the word. After another pleasant hour with our friends, Meg and I got home and I immediately went off to collect a camping chair from Halfords ready for the days when we are going out on little expeditions like the other day. We already have a National Trust collapsible stool which is ultra-light and hangs over your arm or can be used a walking stick – we must have bought it at least 15-20 years ago but it hasn’t had a great deal of use. The idea is that when we next go on a trip and assuming that we will be roaming around parks and gardens rather than going around the stately home, at least we have some gear that we can transport around with us (including a small tarpaulin purchased for 99p a year or so ago which we can use to picnic upon) After lunch, our chiropodist called and Meg and I had our feet serviced (in the garden as the weather is fine) and then I started the weekly lawn mowing. I was just finishing the communal lawns at the front of the house when the Waitrose van arrived with our weekly order so this had to be seen to (putting frozen stuff away) before I completed the lawnmowing of our own lawns to the rear of the house. In the late afternoon, I went to water my Tilia Cordata which seems to have survived its yellowing leaves trauma as I now water it every day. I disturbed Miggles the cat who was stretched out on the forest bark beneath the tree – she then accompanied me around the garden as I filled up the watering can to water some of the plants that we have in pots which would not survive on the rainfall alone. I was accompanied (supervised?) as always after which the cat deigned to sit on my lap and fall asleep. She had previously tried to make me a present of a small bird but when she opened her mouth to say ‘Miaow’ the bird popped out of her mouth and fluttered away. Miggles didn’t bother to chase after it but merely came over to us to say ‘Hello‘ and then stretched out on the flagstones to fall asleep.

This evening what should have been a quietish night in front of the TV turned into one of those nightmare type repair jobs. We have a downstairs toilet which has a simple locking mechanism to prevent another person from entering the loo when it is already in use. But the locking mechanism had fallen to pieces and it seemed that a tiny little ‘grub’ screw had somehow got detached and was nowhere to be seen (I have a horrible suspicion it had probably been hoovered up and then thrown away) So I searched amongst a collection of screws I had inherited to find a replacement screw but all the woodscrews would not fit the bill. I eventually raided some old electrical spares for an engineering screw that then had to be cut to size as a substitute that just about worked – this took the best part of an evening to fix but at least it is now done.

It is the end of Boris Johnson’s first year as PM and for the first time, we have a sort of acknowledgement that ‘things could have been handled differently‘ There is still no acknowledgement of the fact that the lockdown came a week or so too late, thus costing about 20,000 lives. Instead, it is being claimed that the single thing that we didn’t see at the beginning was the extent to which coronavirus could be transmitted asymptomatically between people, meaning it had spread further than believed in the UK before the lockdown was imposed. But the blame game has started, history is being re-written and there is no acknowledgement that the whole crisis has not been handled well (compared with Scotland, for example).