Friday, 16th October, 2020

[Day 214]

We had a different set of routines for today so up to a point we were running to catch our own tails, as it were. In the morning, we had another video consultation for Meg and this took up most of the morning as it happened, although we were given the opportunity to have a break and a cup of tea in the middle of it! When all of this had been completed, we still needed to collect our daily ration of newspapers so we thought we do the unthinkable and collect the newspapers in the car (which we did), and then we made our trip to the park and a brief sit down and the briefest of walks before we return home in the car. On a Friday we used to make ourselves a ‘risotto’ but as this was principally a rice-based dish, we had got into the habit of doing another fish dish in its stead. But now I have discovered something called ‘Cauliflower Rice’ which is cauliflower florets made up into a rice-like consistency but with a minimal amount of calories. So I made a risotto using the cauliflower rice as a substitute, some kippers which were boiled in the bag and the other usual ingredients (onions, peas, yogurt) and the result was ‘OK-ish’ but I have made better, I must admit. In the afternoon, after a good read of the newspapers, I devoted myself to getting my accounts in order. Although it is not strictly necessary, I tend to write my transactions into a large ‘day book’ and then I have a complete written record of what I did and when. However, I not maintained my records for a long time so it took me an hour or so (the best part of the afternoon) to get all of this done. I am now firmly resolved to attend to my records a little more assiduously in the future. In the early evening, I had a video call with a Hampshire friend – we discussed mainly the American elections about which my friend is extremely knowledgeable but a domestic crisis intervened so we had to cut short our call and resume at a later date.

Being a Friday night, we are relaxing before the normal fare of end-of-week comedy. More unintentional comedy is being provided by Donald Trump who has apparently posted a tweet to a satirical news site that claimed that the whole of Twitter was being shut down to slow the spread negative stories about Joe Biden. The satirical website then claimed that the Twitter boss had smashed “as many computers as he could” with the help of a robot programmed to use a sledgehammer. It looks as though Trump eventually saw his mistake. The article ended by saying that “after hearing the Twitter employees talk about critical theory, the robot got woke and began attacking all the cis white males”. And as the president said ‘This has never been done in history‘ (You couldn’t make it up, if you tried!)

There seem to be two big political stories in town tonight. The first of these is the Brexit negotiations in which Boris Johnson has declared that negotiations are at an end. The consensus view is that this is but the last stage in a last-minute stand-off and, in practice, a deal might be achieved at the very last moment in which Boris Johnson will claim victory and the rest of the supine British press will agree. The second story is, of course, the huge row between Manchester and Whitehall with Manchester refusing to be pushed into Tier 3 of lock-down categories, like Liverpool. The central government will always have the upper hand here as they control the purse strings but there is a feeling that the bitterness created by this dispute will last for a generation. One can understand the frustration of Manchester in this respect as moving to a more complete lock-down means that many businesses in the hospitality business will close down never to re-open. On the other hand, despite its protestations, it appears that the government is actually working on a variant of the ‘circuit-breaker’ approach and we might see a sort of ‘circuit-breaker lite’ appear that will be timed to coincide with half-term and will last for some 2-3 weeks.