Monday, 19th April, 2021

[Day 399]

We always knew that the pattern of day was going to vary from the norm today and so it proved. By a prior arrangement, our gardeners who help us with ‘big’ pruning jobs were going to come along and reduce the height of the the privet hedge around our BioDisk by anything up to a half. Accordingly, I went down into town by car in order to pick up our daily supply of newspapers and that went fine – I got back in time to help our gardener after Meg and I had had a quick breakfast. My role was to act as a ‘gardener’s mate’ and as the cutting was being done, I was on hand to dispose of the privet cuttings in large 1-tonne sacks. We managed to get half of the job done today and second half will have to wait until tomorrow. After our gardener left for the job he had booked for the afternoon, Meg and I had a light lunch and then we walked down to the park in the mid afternoon. The light on the trees shows the park in a subtly different light to that we get in mid morning and evidently the visitors to the park differ as well. As the weather was so fine, we actually saw quite a distribution of sun-dresses on display in the park this afternoon – a sight we have yet to behold on one of our morning walks. After we got home, we enjoyed a nice cup of Earl Grey sitting on our bench at the front of our house which receives a full blast of afternoon sun. As I walked around our garden over the weekend, I realised that there some areas where I really need to get to work, clearing out some weedy patches before the rains come (which they inevitably will) and any latent weed seeds go absolutely mad.

As I anticipated in last night’s blog, the story about a footballing European Super League has really taken off and hit popular consciousness. It is interesting to see that fans, politicians, footballing authorities and the like all seem to be united against this new ‘plan’. The driving force seem to be American owners and American investors who are using the model of the National Football League in the USA to erect similar structure (i.e a fixed group of clubs with no promotion or relegation). Not being a particular footballing fan, I do not pretend to understand the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of all of this but whose who do follow football much more closely than I all seem to be appalled. The word I have used most often is this whole debate is ‘greed’ and it is interesting that the people most interested in promoting this new League seem to be investors as the share prices of some of the elite clubs who may join any such new League has actually arisen. We may see periods of internecine conflict as it is quite possible that any players playing in such a Super League may be banned by UEFA (European football authority) from representing their country in European competitions.

In terms of the evolving political scene, it is interesting to see that India has now been added to the ‘red’ list of countries i.e. travellers from a country have to be quarantined immediately on entering the UK. This is no doubt related to the fact that the ‘Indian’ variant of COVIFD-19 may well be causing quite a degree of private concern. It appears without being unduly technical, the Indian variant of the virus appears to incorporate a double mutation which makes it more likely that it can evade some of the defences afforded by our vaccines whilst at the same time having increased transmissibility – some epidemiologists are suggesting that it could become the dominant strain before the end of June (not too far away)

Here in the West Midlands, there is a fascinating contest for the post of mayor – both candidates (Andy Street, the incumbent Conservative mayor and Liam Byrne, his Labour opponent) both agree the result might be incredibly tight. There are two competing ‘narratives’ only one of which will prove to be correct. One narrative is that the traditional Labour voters only abandoned Labour because they didn’t care for Corbyn and they wanted to ‘get Brexit done’ and therefore they will return to the fold. The alternative narrative is that these traditional labour voters are now within the conservative camp and are unlikely to return. The election itself is on Thursday, 6th May and whatever the result is will probably have quite a degree of significance for the national as well as the local political scene because it will be a test of whether remnants of the ‘Red Wall’ of traditional Labour seats still exists or whether Boris Johnson and the present Conservative party have actually ‘captured’ this important part of the electorate.