Sunday, 13th September, 2020

[Day 181]

Today was the day when we were due to visit Oxford to have lunch with our friends so we made sure that we had breakfasted in plenty of time and checked that we had got the postcode OK for the SatNav. As it happened, we left a little before we had intended but were lucky to get a parking place outside our regular newsagents and secured the last copy of the Sunday Times and the last copy of the Observer as well – required reading for later on. We had left ourselves a certain amount of getting lost/parking time but we arrived half-an-hour before our lunch date, got the car securely parked in a blocked-off road where they had lifted all of the parking restrictions and enjoyed quaffing lasses of Leffe (Belgian) beer before our friends arrived. We always enjoy their company and always seem to have a lot to chat about. Because the restaurant (well. more of a bistro actually) was on several floors and it meant Meg would have a lot of running around to do from the top floor to the basement where the toilets were located, the young but accommodating staff thoughtfully provided us with a place on the ground floor to minimise Meg having to traverse several lots of stairs. I had some sea-bass which I thought was well cooked and delicious but unfortunately, my good friend’s duck was well over-cooked and by the time it had been eaten it was a bit too late to complain about it (although we did – it should have been sent back) We decided to have our after-dinner coffees in another little cafe down the road – the street was stuffed full of eating places so it was not hard to find. There seemed to be many more young women in fashionably stylish and shortish skirts which, to my mind, is a lot more attractive than the ubiquitous jeans but I do acknowledge that it is a very male perspective (although Meg did agree with my perceptions)

We are feeling the need to be extra careful in our domestic arrangements now that our daughter-in-law has returned to her primary school. Our rather pessimistic feeling is that given the catchment area it is only a question of time before a virus is brought into the school but in the meantime, we are being extra careful with surfaces such as kitchen preparation areas, taps and door handles of all types and so on. Of course, this is the day before the ‘Rule of Six’ comes into operation. This seems to an easy rule to remember and put into effect but it is somewhat more complex to determine exactly how support bubbles are to be defined.

After. day or so of reflection, we now seem to be in a strange situation politically when Boris Johnson has two major rows on his hands at the same time (Brexit and COVID-19). Each of these has the ability to blow up in a rather spectacular fashion and, of course, you could say that they were linked. The Government has now made it illegal (subject to a fine) to have a meeting of more than 6 people (the so-called ‘Rule of 6’) but at the same time says that it fully intends to break international law over the status of Northern Ireland in the forthcoming Brexit discussions. The justice secretary indicated on TV his morning that he ‘would‘ resign if he asked to sanction any evident illegalities whereas the Attorney General (Sue Braverman) has been berated by fellow lawyers for bringing the whole of the legal profession into disrepute by not upholding the ‘rule of law’ following an oath that she took upon taking office. Of course, being an ardent Brexiteer, when she sought legal advice it was not from government lawyers (one of whom resigned last week anyway) but from known Brexiteers outside the government, arguing that it was quite acceptable to take legal advice from whichever quarter one wanted. Of course, if she had any integrity she would resign immediately but has indicated that she can ‘live with’ breaking international law even though past Prime Ministers and even past leaders of the Conservative Party and known Brexiteers like Michael Howard have indicated that Britain’s international reputation would be utterly trashed if we made agreements and then broke them immediately they ran foul of Brexit ideology (or should it be theology – a pure statement of faith!)