Tuesday, 15th June, 2021

[Day 456]

Today was the day to which we had been looking forward for some time as we shall see. But first of course, we had to get some of our daily jobs done. One of these was to get a basketful of clothes washing to be done and then hung out on the line. As I was doing this, I was kept under the watchful eye of Miggles, our friendly neighbourhood cat who has adopted us (or at least our garden) and pops around in the early morning for a stroke and a bit of fuss. As it was so sunny even first thing in the morning, the cat stretched out for a sunbathe. I asked him/her to keep an eye on the washing and if it were to rain, could it be brought indoors for us? The cat replied saying it would bring in any items of washing that it could reach.

Having collected our newspapers, I popped into Waitrose in order to buy a ‘Happy Anniversary‘ card for our son and his wife. The we established a rendez-vous with our University of Birmingham friend and then we repaired to the garden of our friends for coffee and cakes. Actually to call it ‘cakes’ is rather a misnomer because our wonderful hostess had got up at 6.30 and had baked a magnificent cake replete with both strawberries and cream. So we ate our fill with these delicious goodies and then filled up on even more strawberries and cream so a good time was had by all. As it happened, our University of Birmingham friend and our Catholic friends had quite a few acquaintances in common – with lots of good conversation the time absolutely flew past as we started off at 11.30-ish and didn’t finish until three hours later. I think we are all conscious that this wonderful spell of fine weather must break down in a day or so and, in fact, the weather services are maintaining that we may have an outcrop of thunderstorms sweeping across the country from about 6.00pm tomorrow night.

As you might imagine, after a very belated lunch (if you can call it that), we were destined to have a very lazy afternoon. But towards the end of this afternoon was the time when we generally FaceTime some of our ex-Waitrose friends and this we did, catching up on all the news since we saw them ‘in the flesh’ as it were when the came around to our garden last Tuesday. We explained to them how we had got an AirBnB trip booked on the North Wales coast starting a week tomorrow. The location of our accommodation is only about a mile away from Meg’s godfather/uncle so we can see him for the first time in over a year. Having stayed in the area several times before, we know some of the good eating places/parking places/ ways of getting into Conway so we are looking forward to this little trip in just over week’s time. Our friends too were looking forward to their trip to both York and to Harrogate in early July and as they have seen neither town before, we are sure they will be delighted and enchanted by what they will see. It is our friend’s birthday in about three weeks time so we have made plans to pop around and have some tea and cake either in the garden or the house (depending on the weather). Tomorrow is also going to be a special day for us because it is the day when the Waitrose coffee bar is due to reopen after period of at least 15 months when the COVID restrictions precluded its use. We are not quite sure how they are going to manage the social distancing regulations for us tomorrow but no doubt they will have a little plan worked out. I have asked that they raid their store and roll our the red carpet for us when we attempt to pick up the pieces again after such a length of time – mind you, we still know most of the staff because we still go into Waitrose about once a week to pick up anything special that we may have short of during the week.

I have just tried to replay myself a videoclip (presumably from YouTube) which shows a BBC journalist (Nicholas Watts) being verbally assaulted and abused by a crowd of anti-lockdown protesters who, presumably, think that BBC reporting of the news is contributing to all of society’s ills. Whilst one must tolerate freedom of speech in an open society, it is very disturbing when a fascist-inclined mob tries to shout down legitimate reporting of the news, particularly if you do not happen to like the message. As one of my previous work colleagues used to argue ‘Should one tolerate intolerance‘ and this particular question is even more salient now that we have lived through an era of ‘fake news’ and the whole episode of Trumpism (which I must say now feels like a particularly obnoxious nightmare)