Saturday, 12th September, 2020

[Day 180]

Today was one of those somewhat indeterminate types of day where nothing quite happens the way it should. For a start, Meg had a rather disturbed night last night so I went to church on my own which is a novel experience – I must say that it is some decades since I have done such a thing on my own, but there we are. Whilst Meg stayed in bed this morning, I wandered off down into town to collect my newspapers (thankfully intact for a Saturday) and then made a rather rare venture along our local high street before availing myself of the delights of ‘The Works‘ to buy some stationery materials for Meg. Whilst in town, I bumped into my ex-Waitrose friends with whom I used to have coffee once a week. We enquired about mutual friends and bemoaned the fact that that our regular sojourn in the Waitrose cafe is now no more. After my little bits of shopping, I had a solitary trudge home but it was made somewhat better because I had with me my ‘i-player’ I should point out that this is an extremely old i-Phone which is about eight years old and has no value in the market place. However, I had managed in the past to download about 200 tracks of classical music onto it and the play-back facilities of this gives it a new lease of life (Top tip – I tend to have it on ‘Aircraft Mode’ nearly all the time which massively conserves the battery life, given that I do now need it for WiFi/Web/phone purposes)

This afternoon was largely given over to domestic activities that are the type usually left to a Saturday afternoon. Tomorrow, though, we anticipate going to Oxford to lunch with some old friends. I haven’t taken the car into the centre of Oxford before but I am assured that car parking on a Sunday is usually unproblematic – now that I have my route planned out, I know how long it should take with a bit of extra ‘getting lost’ time added on in case of delays. This evening, I was trying to sort out a wicked little HTML/CSS problem that I think I have resolved. By the way, nothing is more infuriating when I am trying to get something to work on the computer which I know I had working OK in the past but now stubbornly refuses to be put right. It can be something as trivial as a misplaced semi-colon as I have just reminded myself. In the background, we had ‘Last Night at the Proms‘ going on where there has been some controversy (culture wars?) as the BBC were both unhappy and unsure about to broadcast the amazingly jingoist renditions which are normally quite good fun to watch but increasingly out-of-kilter in these times when we are beset by the COVID-19 crisis, Brexit negotiations and an impending constitutional crisis in which it looks as though Britain does not so much ‘rule the waves‘ but rather ‘waives the rules‘

Tomorrow’s Sunday newspapers are full of the news and the analysis of the news about the Internal Market Bill which Boris Johnson is due to bring before the Commons next week. Tow ex-Prime Ministers (Tony Blair and John Major), who happen to have ‘issues’ with each other, write jointly in the ‘Sunday Times’ that “We both opposed Brexit. We both accept it is now happening. But this way of negotiating, with reason cast aside in pursuit of ideology and cavalier bombast posing as serious diplomacy, is irresponsible, wrong in principle and dangerous in practice.” In the meanwhile, it is evident from the expressions of urgent concern, that Britain is poised on the very edge of another major outbreak of COVID-19. The number of new cases diagnosed today was still of the order of 3,000 and there are fears that the younger generation, realising that they will be confined to a ‘group of six’ for the foreseeable future intend to have a party to end all parties whilst they can. Last night, a 19-year old in Nottingham held an illegal party for 50 in his house and was promptly fined £10.000 for it. Whether this is a sufficient deterrent is hard to say because the number of fines actually issued had been pretty small across the whole society.