Saturday, 21st November, 2020

[Day 250]

As today is ‘Day 250’ since I started this blog, it feels like some kind of anniversary – but of course it isn’t. We did have a more pleasant and milder date than of late, so although there was a cooling wind we enjoyed our customary walk to the newspaper shop and the park. On the way down, we had quite a long chat with one of our closest sets of friends who espied us through her window and came out to greet us. Our pleasure was only increased when we encountered some more of our friends who were brave enough be outside doing a bit of autumn maintenance. We spent some time discussing what we thought might be the arrangements for more ‘normal living once this period of lockdown finishes on 2nd December. In particular, we were speculating whether the churches would be allowed to open in the post-lockdown period and what the arrangements might be for the various Christmas services which will be held, all being well, on Christmas Eve. We did rather go down memory lane and exchanged reminiscences of the student parties we used to enjoy in the 1960’s. This was the era before nightclubs so we all had to make our own entertainment. The ideal party lasted for about 12 hours (7.30pm to 7.30 am) and generally consisted of three elements. The first of these was a certain degree of drinking, sometimes with food if we wanted to be posh and to have a ‘wine AND cheese’ party. The stable musical entertainment were Beatles and Stones records played on something like a Decca Dansette record player (remember that Radio Caroline only started broadcasting in March, 1964 and we were at university in 1965 – out of the range of Radio Caroline anyway) The second phase of the party was when a certain pairing off ensued – generally couples sank to the floor and canoodled in the semi darkness for as long as was deemed necessary. The third and most enjoyable part of the proceedings started at about 3.30 in the morning when we would sit round in a circle on the floor and argue about the meaning of life, political and moral questions of the day and so on. We generally had a dim of view of engineers (if, for example, you looked in the Yellow pages of a telephone directory and looked at ‘Engineers’ there was a cross-reference to ‘Boring’). Medics, although well qualified in terms of their ‘A’-levels never got beyond their comfort zone. We seemed to have some of the most stimulating conversations with people studying Law, Geography, Town Planning, Psychology – on occasions I even attended some of their lectures out of interest!)Then you would wander home at about 7.30 in the morning with all of your physical, emotional and intellectual needs fulfilled (well, not completely fulfilled but you get my drift)

This afternoon, we watched a highly entertaining rugby match between England and Ireland which I had anticipated that the Irish would win – in the event, the England team steamrollered their way past the Irish who only made a score late on the game. We had intended to follow this up with watching the Wales-Georgia match but for whatever technical reason we could not get Amazon Prime to deliver us the video of the match today although we were successful last week.

The Priti Patel row is still rumbling on, despite Boris Johnson wanting to draw a line under the matter. There are several issues that are rearing their ugly heads. The first of these is that Boris Johnson had on two occasions asked the author of the report to ‘tone down’ his conclusions but had met with a refusal. In addition, opposition politicians are expressing outrage that the home secretary’s apology was for the upset caused, rather than the behaviour itself. There are also calls for the full report to be published rather than an edited summary of it – this might happen as a result of pressure from a Select Committee which is going to investigate the matter or even have to be produced as evidence in an Industrial Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal. If this continues to run and run, then as well as Priti Patel being damaged, the role of the Prime Minister in over-riding the decision of his own ‘independent’ report looks distinctly sleazy. Ultimately, of course, along as Priti Patel remains the darling of the Tory right wing and the ardent Brexiteers (i.e. nearly all of the newly constituted Tory party since Boris Johnson/Dominic Cummings organised the departure of modern voices such as Ken Clark, Philip Hammond, David Gauke- one could go on and on) then Priti Patel will be safe.