Wednesday, 12th May, 2021

[Day 422]

Today, we very much had the feeling of ‘the day after yesterday‘ We had such a wonderful day out on the Severn Valley Railway with family and friends, so today inevitably feels like a bit of an anticlimax. We are always a bit delayed on each Wednesday morning because we have to complete our Waitrose order in time for delivery the following day. In addition, I was sorting out (successfully) a little glitch I had in installing and running a secure email client I had used years before called ‘TopMail‘ and whose virtues I am just rediscovering. This morning, I popped into Waitrose as though it was my local corner shop and bought some milk and also ‘on spec’ a tin of Haggis which is always a bit of an unknown quantity. We then made our way to our normal bench in the park, the black rain clouds having rolled away and giving us some pleasant spring sunshine. We got into conversation with several dog owners not least because some of the pooches under their control think that there may be some food in the offing and come bounding over to see you, with eyes and mouths wide open in anticipation of titbits. Eventually, we made our way home but we were very late at this stage and knew we were going to be quite busy later on the day. At 4.0pm in the afternoon, I was due to Skype one of my ex-University of Winchester friends but between us we could only get Skype working somewhat sporadically (with good vision but very poor sound). Nonetheless after struggling with the technology for about 15-20 minutes, we made the best of a bad job and exchanged lots of gossip about computer-y type things. Then promptly at 5.00pm we FaceTimed some of our ex-Waitrose friends and thanked them profusely for the magnificent slab of cake that they had so thoughtfully baked for us in time for Tuesday. We knew that we had to be finished by 5.00pm because all four of us in the house were due to meet with a financial advisor who was due to advise us on some joint financial matters in which we all have an interest. So we finally set out to watch the evening news starting with Channel 4 at 7.0pm in the evening. In truth, we have quite a busy afternoon not having time even to barely glance at our two dailies, collected earlier.

It looks this evening as though Boris Johnson has bowed to a certain amount of Parliamentary pressure and agreed to a public enquiry into the whole of the pandemic. The track record for proceedings of this type do not bode well – the Chilcot enquiry into the Iraq way took seven years to complete from the end off the war until publication date whereas the ‘Bloody Sunday‘ enquiry took some twelve years to complete. For a government desperate to play for time then an enquiry that takes ten years to complete (11 years from today) could be the best of three Parliaments away. The major interest comes from the fact that key witnesses cab be interviewed under oath, document trails including emails have to be revealed and so on. But the political danger can be minimised by the passage of time and the fact that memories can fade and the public may feel that the issues have moved on. So it is probable that Johnson can wriggle through from any structures that might ensue, particularly if the vaccination campaign continues to be a resounding success.

As from Monday next, some of the lockdown restrictions are due to be raised. The principal item which concerns most of us is that some indoor events will noy be allowed, subject to some continuing restrictions. For example:’Indoor hospitality will reopen, which means that pubs, cafes and restaurants can once again serve indoors. They will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.’ What this means in practice is that not only individuals but also friends can go for a meal together. So from next week, there are a variety of things that we can do, subject to the vagaries of the weather of course. We may well go to Droitwich and a favourite little eating house that we go to there and we can do various little bits of shopping that we need to do in a shoe shop and a general-purpose hardware type store – Wilko – that sells all kind of reasonably priced toiletries, stationary and other useful household things!