Tuesday, 11th August, 2020

[Day 148]

Another day in the current heatwave but fortunately for us, it is not too oppressive in the morning when we walk down. Today we met some of our old Waitrose friends in the park by prior arrangement or rather Meg did as I needed to go off and buy a few ‘essentials’ (such as getting a new watch battery fitted) on the High Street. We thought our friends might have told us of lots of exciting places that they had been to since the semi-release from lockdown on 1st August – instead, they have been getting some medical appointments in that had to be postponed over the last few weeks. So we had a rather hurried meeting today but at least we got a meeting before the weather turns really nasty which it might in the next few days if we have multiple rain and thunderstorms. This afternoon, I needed to consult with my neighbour before I started some much-needed edging and gully clearing in our communal area. As it happened, my neighbour and I are going to start our Pilates class together and we had to have some practical things to sort out. We also had several other bits of news to impart to each other, principally on the subject of actual neighbours and soon-to-be neighbours (as a large bungalow just around the corner from us has just been sold) so by the time we had finished our long chat it was ‘Tiffin‘ time i.e. mid-afternoon cup of tea time so the edging had to be given a miss for another day. Quel surprise!

Whilst not wishing to be a ‘car bore’, the various reviews of the new Honda we intend to purchase do all mention not particularly good acceleration for the model in question. However, I did by a series of ‘accidents’ arrive at a website that detailed most makes and models of cars with a plethora of information giving, in particular, what I found to be of most interest i.e. a table of ‘overtaking times’ such as the time taken in seconds to go from 80-120 km/h (which is 50-75 mph) which is just the sort of information you need if you entering a motorway via a slip road and have to slot into a lane of faster-moving traffic on the right-hand side. Armed with this information, I could then draw comparisons between my ‘intended’, a much faster beast from the same stable and cars that I had owned in the past. I discovered that whatever the motoring journalists might have written, there was no difference between my intended and a Mazda 3 which I had owned in the past and only 1.0-second difference between my intended and the faster beast. This leads me to conclude that motoring journalists get fixated on one or two aspects of a car which, whilst real, are not that important in the wider order of things. I also discovered an owner’s website in which owners reminisced about the much older, heavier, more powerful but less ‘zippy’ cars they had owned in the past and which made them more than contented with their present model, whatever the motoring reviews had to say. They also stressed that such things as cargo space are much more important to the average owner than to the ‘boy racer’ in us who is trying to get every smidgeon of acceleration out of his vehicle. And now, I promise I will leave that topic for good.

There are two disturbing COVID-19 stories tonight, no doubt related to each other. The first is that 1148 new cases have been reported in the past day which is the highest total since June – it does look like the start of a second wave of the pandemic. The second issue was a Sky News investigation in which it was shown that in a Manchester suburb (where infection rates are rising) 9 out of 10 establishments are not following the guidelines i.e. that a record of names and addresses of all of these who enter the pub is not being taken and if the video evidence is to be believed, then social distancing is being largely ignored. The requirements are only ‘advisory’ at the moment but the Scots are shortly to give these the force of law (and perhaps we will be dragged, reluctantly, doing the same but two weeks too late!)