Thursday, 3rd September, 2020

[Day 171]

It was quite a fine and pleasant day today, so our walk down into the park was even more pleasurable than usual – a pleasure compounded by the fact that we managed to pick up the very last Times and Guardian in the store. We had no particular commitments in the morning and we were pleased to have a chat with our Italian friend on the walk down as well as some of our oldest friends on the way home. Lunch was an all-vegetarian affair today being a cheese and onion quiche with some Cavolo Nero kale (black cabbage) and a mixture I often do at the end of a week to use up bits and pieces (onions, peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms with a shake of fruity brown sauce and a touch of garlic salt). This afternoon, I busied myself with getting the rest of the damson gin prepared and I managed to make rapid progress as I now the proportions of damson, sugar and gin off to a fine art for the 1-litre kilner jars I bought yesterday. I finished off in the late afternoon with the preparation of nearly 3 litres of damson vodka which is a bit of an experiment this year. All in all, I have prepared some 17 litres of damson gin/vodka which, if I can accumulate enough 20 cl bottles, should give me some 80+ little bottles to give away to relatives, friends, and acquaintances particularly over the festive season, if I manage the bottling process for early December. All I have to do is to make sure that the bottles get agitated at least once a week to ensure that the sugar is completely dissolved and that the damsons have released all of their precious essences.

I had a bizarre experience in the early evening when I had a physiotherapy appointment timed to start at 7.30. When I got there, the building appeared closed and no-one responded to my ringing of the bell. I assumed that I must have made a mistake and the appointment must have been for 7.30 am! No sooner had I got home but the physiotherapist was on the phone enquiring as to my whereabouts. I raced back down to the centre (only a mile distant) and it seemed that some sort of administrative mix-up had occurred – the front door should not have been locked and the physiotherapist, working late, could not in her treatment room hear the sound of the front doorbell. Anyway, all’s well that end’s well as I was eventually seen and teated by my local physiotherapist who has an excellent local reputation. Our Pilates classes are held in her premises and I have been attending these classes for many years now, so much so that there is great anticipation towards the end of the year of a ritual appearance of Fr. Christmas and his distribution of bottles of damson gin to all and sundry.

One particular opinion piece in tomorrow’s newspapers caught my eye. It came under the headling in The Guardian that ‘Labour’s poll comeback doesn’t yet threaten the Tory brand‘ and it seemed such a persuasive piece that I thought it worth quoting verbatim.

The Conservative brand, relative to Labour, remains remarkably resilient. In a recent poll by JL Partners, taken in the aftermath of the exam results crisis, voters still saw the Tory party as more “competent and capable” than Labour. They also named Labour as the most divided party, by a margin of 15 points. This is important: it does not much matter if voters think the Conservatives are a bit rubbish if they think Labour is even more rubbish. Brands are formed in relative terms rather than absolute terms, and for now, this is an advantage for the Tories.

It is rather parallel to what is happening in the US where the prominent commentator Michael Moore (who correctly and almost single-handedly predicted the Trump victory in the last presidential election) was warning that the bedrock support for Trump is still so fervent that a second Trump victory cannot be ruled out.

I conclude without any further comment except to say that if a Labour government had shown such a lack of direction and incompetence, it would almost certainly have fallen by now…