Tuesday, 2nd March, 2021

[Day 351]

We wondered how today was going to turn out as the skies were initially grey and looked somewhat threatening. But once we got underway, the sky gradually changed from a freezing fog grey to a light blue and it turned out to be quite a pleasant day. I left Meg in the park in the company of our Birmingham University friend and walked quickly on my own to pick up our daily supply of newspapers. Upon my return, I found a little gaggle of friends, friends of friends and those of us who just happen to be exercising at about the same time of day every day. We laughed and joked for a while and then we get onto the more serious business of discussing backup technologies and strategies for the computers that we own. We swapped some bits of information and then departed as soon as the park police (actually two very young PCSOs – Police Community Support Officers) – were spotted in the distance from our vantage point and we judged it diplomatic to gradually start to disperse and make tracks for home.. It was a delightful walk home with some pale spring sunshine and a promise of some more to come in the days ahead. Although it was only about 1-2°warmer than yesterday, it felt a lot warmer as the wind had dropped. But I gather from the weather forecast that I have just heard that the weather is going to get colder and the winders stronger and keener in the next few days so we had better not greet the arrival of spring too soon.

We know that tomorrow is going to be a big day, politically as the two main events of the week unfold. One of these is the Budget which is more or less predictable (and has been predicted or at least well-trailed) But the other much more explosive issue is going to be the evidence that the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, will give to a committee of the Scottish parliament. If she has found to be lying or at least ‘economical with the truth‘ then she may be found to be in breach of the Ministerial Code which would normally lead to a resignation. Whether this is going to happen tomorrow or in the few days that follow, only time will tell but it looks as though Nicola Sturgeon will have the fight of her life tomorrow. I think it would be a pity if one of the most effective of the current generation of politicians (and one who has had a ‘good pandemic’) were to fall at this stage. There is a saying attributed to Enoch Powell, though, that ‘all political careers end in failure‘ (actually part of a much longer and less snappy quote) but of course this is a truism, usually determined by an election or a ‘defenestration’ (literally death by throwing someone out of a window but now used in a much more metaphorical sense vide what happened to Margaret Thatcher).

Tonight as I am writing this blog there is a wildlife programme on the television in the background when the young female commentator was commenting on the problems of an impala buck having to defend his territory during the mating season. The commentary that came floating over the airways explained ‘mating with fifty females whilst keeping an eye over your shoulder for any potential challengers can be quite an exhausting business‘ with which sentiment I can only say that I agree. I utter a silent prayer that I was not born into a religious tradition in which I might have be re-incarnated as a impala at stud – there again, envy is one of the most destructive of emotions. But in the same nature program, I did learn that 50% of black rhinos are killed in fights with other black rhinos but I suppose for an animal of that size there are not many natural predators.

Tonight, we FaceTimed some of our closest ex-Waitrosefriends and caught up with each other’s news for the week.It should only be about four weeks to go before we can (legally) meet in an open space somewhere – perhaps in the garden attached to the residential block where our friends live. We are not in the business just yet of making too many active plans at this stage but we will wait until we are about a week to go before we make firmer plans.Tomorrow night, we are going by appointment to have a Zoom call with Meg’s cousins in Derby so that will be another opportunity to catch up news but this time with much more family-centred news.

There is slightly better news on the Brazil variant of the virus this evening. Apparently, the one missing case has been narrowed down to one of a batch of 379 kits despatched out so with a certain degree of foot-slog, the miscreant person who has tested positive but failed to fill in the record card may well be identified – for all of our sakes!