Wednesday, 23rd September, 2020

[Day 191]

Today was one of those days that started somewhat gloomy but then got worse. True – the weather forecast had predicted that a band of rain was to sweep up the country but you are never quite sure what that means at any point in time. When Meg and I started our daily walk, there was the faintest of drizzles but this intensified into a more conventional rain shower as we progressed, Having picked up the newspapers, we realised that today was going to be a ‘bandstand’ job – the park has a Victorian style bandstand, octagonal in shape but open on every side which keeps the worst of the rain off you. Nonetheless, we managed to juggle rucksacks, flasks and biscuit containers so that we could have a quick burst of coffee before we made for home. We both had a hairdressing appointment with our longstanding hairdresser who calls at our house to do our hair so we really had to press on to make it back home with 30 seconds to spare. As it happened, our hairdresser was quite late (not unusually) but it shows the Sod’s law does not always work (it would have worked if on the very day that we were late our hairdresser was on time!) Having been shorn, we then proceeded with lunch but had determined that we were going to have a venture out to our local Asda in the afternoon (when, incidentally, the weather had turned benign) The idea at calling into Asda was to see if we could replace our very battered stainless steel vacuum flask that we use for coffee everyday. This part of the plan worked very well but the trouble was that we thought we would take the opportunity to buy some other bits and pieces which are only obtainable at Asda and not in our normal Waitrose shopping. One thing led to another and we finished up with two really heavy bags that we had to carry for a mile uphill to our house. To the riposte ‘Why didn’t you take the car?’ the answer is that we thought that an additional bit of exercise would only be good for us – but we hadn’t reckoned that we were going to buy so many things and that they would weigh so much. You live and learn!

Meg and I are debating whether, now that ‘King Boris’ has spoken to us all last night, whether we could seize an opportunity to make a trip down to the Southampton area in a week or so’s time to see as many of our Winchester/Southampton former colleagues whilst we can. We are aware that the virus situation might only get worse, that the fine autumnal days are limited and that our friends may have lots of other priorities at the moment. I will have a hard think about this overnight and see how I feel in the morning before I send off some emails and perhaps make a hotel booking.

The COVID-19 situation has developed during the day -there have been 6,178 cases in the UK in the last 24 hours, up 1,252 cases since Tuesday. This is a really startling rate of increase and we are now within a whisper of the two worst days we have ever had before – the rate of acceleration is dramatic. I read the the police have started to hand out £1,000 fines to two people in Bolton who have acted recklessly in helping to spread the virus and they are hoping that this may act as a deterrent (I wouldn’t hold my breath). In the meanwhile, we are waiting to see what the Chanceller of the Exchequer is going to announce tomorrow to replace the furlough scheme as it appears that with the latest semi-lockdown unemployment is set to soar. To cap it all, Michael Gove has been ‘explaining’ how we are building a lorry park in Kent to accommodate the 7,000 lorries that may well not comply with the increasing documentation required now that Brexit is upon us and we have ‘taken back control‘ It appears that lorries will need a ‘Kent Access permit’ to show they comply with all of the new requirements and the Government is estimating that perhaps as many 40% of the lorries arriving will not comply (the assumption being that it is ‘all their fault’ as they have failed to comply on time) In a few weeks time, we will have the worst of the COVID-19 crisis hitting us compounded by the Brexit scenario – one really shudders to think how bad things might become. We all voted for it in 2016, of course, as we are constantly being reminded!