Tuesday, 29th September, 2020

[Day 197]

Well, you never know what a day is going to bring and today was no exception. As we have now decided that we are not going to risk visiting Hampshire to see ex-colleagues and friends, we wondered whether we might try to ‘Skype’ some of our friends instead. As it happened, I had ‘Skype’ on my computer but had never utilised it, not least because you need to have the person you wish to contact at the other end to see if the system works. When I fired up Skype it seemed to have one of my friends in the ‘Contacts’ list so I fired off a quick email to him last night, saying that I would try to ‘Skype’ him at 9.0am this morning. Promptly at 9.0 I fired up Skype, clicked on my friend’s name and there he was! It ws easier, they say, than taking sweets from a baby (not that I have ever tried to do anything as mean as this!) So we had a wonderful chat fo the best part of an hour which was particularly pleasurable as I have not seen my friend for about a year now or even longer. All of this delayed our daily walk to the park but we were so pleased to establish contact with old friends that we really did not mind. Today was my ‘Pilates’ day so we had to get home to have a fairly brisk turn around and then I attended the Pilates class, accompanied by my near neighbour who introduced me to Pilates more years ago than I care to remember (about 6-7 I think)

After a delayed lunch and a quick snooze, I wondered whether it ws worth contacting some more old friends as my experience with Skype had gone so well this morning. So I sent off a quick email and got my friend’s Skype identity which the system found very quickly and, just like this morning, we had a wonderful long chat. We had an extremely pleasant chat and members of his family had been ill so it was all the more gratifying to be in touch again. We have set up a little system so that we can Skype each other at about the same time each week from now on. Then we FaceTimed some of our other Waitrose friends who, as it had turned out, had a rather dramatic sequelae to a CAT scan undertaken earlier in the week. Anyway, we are pleased to say that ‘all’s well that ends well‘ although our friend is going to have further investigations in a week or so. In the meanwhile, we have plans to meet again in the park in a few days time to partake of some celebratory birthday cake even we are both anticipating things by a day or so.

The COVID-19 news is worrying today as over 7,000 new cases have been diagnosed today, which, if I am reading the graphs correctly, is the highest daily total recorded. Of course more tests are being conducted now than in the Spring. The proportion of tests indicating ‘positive’ is also increasing which must be a worrying tendency. Just out of interest, I checked on the number of infections in my local postcode area and they had doubled from 18 to 36 in a week. So I think it is a case that, without being neurotic about this, we cannot afford to be cavalier about our normal COVID-19 precautions.

After last night’s revelations on Channel 4 News about the way in which Trump had tried to suppress the black vote in the last presidential election, tonight’s programme followed this up with more revelations. This time, it was revealed how the same algorithms and databases that were used to suppress the black vote was directed to particular sections of the white vote who might be susceptible to the Trump message. In particular, the ‘law and order’ theme played out large and if the same trend is repeated in this year’s election then the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign could serve to energise both a degree of BAME solidarity but also white fears and resentments. It appears to me that the ‘middle’ may well be evaporating in the American electorate and opinion solidifying between those who feel that Trump has stood up as no other candidate before him for their interests (generally, white and without a college education) and those who feel that Trump is an unmitigated disaster and must be stopped at all costs. Tomorrow morning is the first of the presidential debates and I wonder what attack lines the street-fighter in Trump will utilise to further enthuse his support.