Sunday, 5th June, 2021

[Day 447]

Today was an indeterminate kind of day – the kind of day in which Denis Nordern the famous comic who used to broadcast regularly on Radio 4 when asked to make up an ‘un-newsworthy’ news item that might appear in a footnote to an obscure column in ‘The Times’ would venture ‘Small earthquake in Chile – not many killed’ The pattern of the day followed the normal routine for a Sunday in which I walked down to town in order to collect our newspapers crossing the path of absolutely nobody (typically a jogger or a dog-walker) whilst en route. Then, of course, we watch the Andrew Marr politics show and again we have an appearance by Matt Hancock who must be by now of the most visible’ Health Secretaries on record. He was rebutting the argument that he sent people unvaccinated (certainly untested ) straight from hospital wards (in order to clear them) back into the residential homes from whence they came. His rebuttal has become second nature to him by now i.e. to repeat like a mantra that ‘we put a policy in place’ to vaccinate the elderly (repeating the fact that they had reached their target of 100,000 or whatever) completely ignoring the question that although they had a plan in place, people actually did progress straight from hospital to residential homes. At one point, there was a slight chink in his armour when he let slip well ‘it was a question of priorities‘ but Andrew Marr did not seize upon the remark as he should have done. Matt Hancock was in effect right – as a ‘question of priorities‘ then the elderly occupying much needed hospital beds were a ‘lower priority’ then COVID patients. Eventually, I walked on down to the park alone this Meg because Meg was having a slightly ‘off’ day and was resting at home. In the park, I met up with one of our park regulars and we had quite a long quasi-theological discussion whether it was legitimate to seek to persuade people from holding whatever views that they may have with conviction. We were of a like mind in that that we did not think it was legitimate to dissuade somebody from whatever view which might be deeply and sincerely held, even though we might disagree with it. On the other hand, we both agreed that we were rankled if we had an encounter with someone of pronounced religious views who were convinced of the truth of their own position and had attempted to teach us the error of our ways.

In the late afternoon (and thinking about our friends who might be visiting us tomorrow and who are keen gardeners), I decided to plant up the stone planters I had recently acquired from a friend. In these, I put a combination of both top soil and some of my own 2-year old compost but I had run out of bonemeal/Growmore that I generally deploy on such occasions. Anyway, they got planted up with some spare plants that I had around the garden and are sitting on the front of some decking to form a sort of leafy boundary or instant wall. However, after a good watering I must keep on remembering to water until the plants are established/reestablished.

I have just this evening experienced one of these really frustrating half hours that beset us from time to time. As we all know, the Sunday newspapers are replete with supplements of various kinds. Various things such as ‘Style’ or ‘Fashion’ goes straight into the bin whilst other sections are flipped through incredibly quickly to see if anything catches your eye. So I spent at last 45 minutes scanning each of the supplements of todays (and yesterday’s) newspapers, trying to discover an advert for a patio cleaning fluid which I am sure we need. Of course I couldn’t find the advert even though I had recourse to the vertical filing system (aka. green wheelie bin) Eventually, I found what I was looking for as I had already detached the relevant page and saved it ‘in a safe place’ but that was a fruitless half or so spent on a fruitless search.

Tonight, there are more and more hints that a full end to the lockdown is not to be forthcoming in two weeks time. Matt Hancock is quoted as saying that he is ‘open’ to an incomplete end to the lockdown on June 21st. Given that the infection rate is 70% higher than a week ago and the Delta version of the virus is judged to be 40% more transmissible that the previous variant, then one can understand that the government is going to backtrack like mad. What I find interesting is that the right wing of the Tory party and much of the press are constantly urging an end to the lockdown but my judge of the public mood (Vox pop on TV, people I meet in the park) all seem to think that having endured 15 months of COVID restrictions, then one month more is not going to make a lot of difference.