Sunday, 9th August, 2020

[Day 146]

Today’s date is the date of my mother’s birthday and although she died some 13 years ago, the date of your mother’s birthday is always something that is lodged in your memory (after years of buying cards and presents). As I walked down to Bromsgrove for the Sunday newspapers this morning, I was wondering to myself whether there was any saying or piece of advice that I remember my mother giving to me. There was just one piece of advice, given if we had a family argument or tiff over something, which was: ‘Do not let the sun go down on your anger‘. Actually, over the years I think this is quite a sound piece of advice and so I did a quick Google search as it sounded vaguely biblical (as indeed it was as it was apparently said by St. Paul). My mother was always quite concerned with the political process – in fact when she died, I found an examination paper for some Local Government examinations she must have taken called ‘Civics’ and many of the questions were just as pertinent today e.g. ‘How does Central Government control the spending of local authorities‘ and questions of a similar ilk. Whenever there was a general election as there was in 1955, she felt it was her duty to go down to the village hall (for the village in which we were then living) to ask questions of the prospective candidates. As a local government officer, she always relished the opportunity to act as a ‘poll clerk’ as it was the only way in which a local government officer could earn a smidgeon of extra cash on top of one’s normal pay. Although she started off life as a Conservative, she increasingly voted Liberal (Liberal Democrat) in her later years and finished off stuffing envelopes for the Liberal party candidate. Eventually, as an inmate of a residential home in her later years, she caused quite a kerfuffle when she insisted that she be included on the electoral register and be given a postal ballot. I think that she felt incredibly strongly that whilst women had fought so hard for the vote, then it certainly had to be exercised on every available occasion. Although she could by no means be described as a feminist of any description, I think that she took her part in the political process very seriously.

In the park, we met with an elderly lady who was a regular visitor (in her wheelchair) to the park on an almost daily basis and she showed us a leaflet that she acquired from the local authority (and now available on the web) which details how the great and the good of Bromsgrove’s past were buried in Bromsgrove cemetery and how to find their graves. This is something we might do if at a really loose end! On our way home, we bumped into our Italian friend and continued our conversation of a few days back relating especially to family matters. And then a friend turned up for a Sunday lunch so we continued on our way in what was turning out to be quite a humid day. The weather has continued like this most of the afternoon and we are hopeful that there may be some dramatic thunderstorms (and rain) in the next few days to save me the trouble of watering various pot plants. I even watered my sickly Hornbeam first thing this morning to coax it back into better health.

The new cases of COVID-19 have topped 1,000 for the first time since June so this must be a source of concern. According to a headline on Sky News, ‘Boris Johnson {has been) told teachers and students must get weekly COVID-19 tests for the safe return of schools‘, which advice he almost certainly ignore. For a start, we have to have a much more reliable ‘Test and Trace’ regime rather than the present (private sector) disaster run by Serco and this looks like being a long way off. Apparently, even staff in care homes have only been tested once since the start of the epidemic and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. There has been a hint dropped by the Government, though, that in the very last analysis pubs would have to be closed in preference to schools if there were to be a resurgence of the virus, which looks more and more likely.