Wednesday, 5th August, 2020

[Day 142]

Another cloudy and somewhat indeterminate day and we had been a little delayed for our morning walk because I was up late last night tweaking my WordPress installation to get it the way I wanted. It’s almost there but there are still one or two little problems to be ironed out. We needed to get home early and have a fairly early lunch because this afternoon we were due to go and look at the new car that we had promised ourselves. As you might imagine, the showroom was quite a revelation. Evidently, although we felt inclined to shake hands with the salesman, that was evidently out of bounds so we donned our masks, sanitised our hands and sat down to wait for our turn (having arrived about 20 minutes earlier by giving us some getting lost time) As it happens, exactly the colour and model that we would wish to have was parked in front of the showrooms, so we could have a quick preview of it before we started our discussions. Then came the test drive which was extraordinary in its own way. Because of the COVID-19 regulations that the garage had imposed upon itself, no one could accompany us so we jumped into the vehicle and drove off into the sunset (or we could have done) As we didn’t know the immediate environs of this new garage, we did not want to venture very far less we got lost but we were directed by the salesman to a road with some ‘speed bumps’ on it which is quite a useful way to test a car out, actually. We were delighted with our test run because the model we have chosen seems almost but not quite as roomy as our present vehicle and the boot, whilst smaller, was still pretty spacious. One particular feature of this model of car is what they call ‘Magic Seats’ which means that you can take the two back seats and then tip them up, cinema-seat style, and lock them into position which then releases a whole block of space which goes from the car floor to its ceiling (incredibly useful is we had to transport any largish objects, particularly tall ones, in the back which is more than likely.) We then completed the formalities, got sold a package which includes paint protection, interior leather protection, car mats, a boot liner and a full tank of petrol – all in all, we came home feeling pretty pleased with the excellent level of service we feel we will receive from this garage in the future. At the end of the day, we feel that the level of service provided by the garage is much more important than details like how fast you can go from 0-60mph (which always struck me as a vacuous sort of statistic).

Tonight, it was reported that both France and Spain had recorded about 1700 new COVID-19 infections apiece (about 800 in the UK) So it does look as though both France and Spain who came out of their own lockdowns a week or so ago are now starting to appreciate the start of a second wave on infection by the virus. Does this mean that we might follow their trajectory in a couple of weeks time? According to the MPs on the home affairs committee, having no special border measures for people arriving from Spain and France during February and March, and only having voluntary self-isolation measures for travellers from Italy until March 13, was a “serious error and had a material impact on the number of cases arriving in the UK, and on the pace and scale of the epidemic”. And in the meantime, the epidemiologist behind the government’s national lockdown warned that reopening secondary schools could see the coronavirus reproduction rate increase “by as much as a half”. Of course, in a few weeks time, children will be returning to school and the interesting political question will be to ascertain what other measures will need to be put into place to counteract the negative effect that the schools’ reopening could well generate.