Tuesday, 4th August, 2020

[Day 141]

Today was one of those slightly indeterminate days when nothing seemed to go quite right! The weather was trying its best to be unhelpful as there seemed to be a layer of cloud as far as the eye could see, so there was a slightly ‘muggy’ feel to the day although we were spared any rain. Our morning trip to the park was uneventful with its normal quota of joggers (not very many). mothers with young children on little bikes (lots) and a few oldies making up the numbers. Social life in the park does show some signs of organisation, however, as every so often there is a grouping of individuals obviously meeting by prior arrangement and equipped with light outdoor chairs that are easily transported in the boot of a car and thence over the grass. We now equip ourself on our morning venture with a little folding stool which is primarily aluminium and hence extraordinarily light and we use this a miniature table which helps us when we are pouring the coffee from our flask.

At lunchtime, I engaged in a culinary experiment making lemon chicken. These results were fine but with a lemon type sauce, some raw slices of lemon skewered to the chicken thighs and a liberal helping of concentrated lemon juice from a bottle, we might have overdone the lemony bit (but I will know next time). This afternoon, I thought I would install WordPress in my newly acquired webspace and all seemed to be going well at first. But then it became apparent that a crucial component, the PlugIns which is an important part of WordPress functionality would not allow one to install any new Plug-ins. After fiddling about with very settings to no avail, I went on the web and found a YouTube video detailing the four things to be done in order to get things put right (none of these worked!) Having deleted everything I could see, then a complete reinstall seemed to be the answer except that the package would not allow me to do that in the vacated webspace (probably down to some hidden and inaccessible file components). It seemed that a complete reinstall into different folders might work and this seemed to get things half working but after several hours of fiddling (not helped by comments read on the web which said ‘I have tried for two weeks to make this work and it will not‘ I was left with a half-installed package in which some things work but others do not (for reasons that are beyond me) It all ought to be so simple, but in practice there seem to be hidden problems which I do not know how to resolve. I will try again tomorrow when I am a little less stressed and rested!

Tonight the big political battleground seems to be whether or not it should be ‘pubs or schools’ in about three weeks time as the reopening of the schools will add significantly to the levels of social activity. On the one hand, we have the likes of Isabel Oakeshott, a very right-wing commentator on Sky’s review of the daily press saying that all schools should resume as fully open as possible for the sake of the most disadvantaged children who have been deprived of education for the last six months. On the other hand, there is a considerable groundswell of opinion from parents, teachers and healthcare specialists who indicate that opening up schools is not just about the infectivity of school children (which is indeed low) but the increased social interactions (mothers dropping children off to school and then going on to work) not to mention the non-teaching adults necessary to make a school run efficiently which all provide new avenues in which the virus can thrive. This particular argument will run and run – the government say that ‘without a doubt’ that schools will re-open but I think a battle royal lies ahead (particularly if a school reopens and then some cases of COVID-19 rears its ugly head and what happens then?)