Saturday, 29th January, 2022

[Day 684]

Today was always going to be a quiet day and so it proved. Meg and I got up a little late and by the time we had done a few jobs, we were a little delayed. I had busied myself this morning making a little wallet for the business cards of which I have just received a new supply. Fortunately, I have a supply of postcards and when I take one and fold it in half it is the perfect size. All I have to do then is to apply some coloured tape (of which I happen to have a good quantity) and now I have a supply of cards ready for use. One wallet I am going to keep permanently in my rucksack so that if all else fails, I always have a supply. We took the car down to town to save time and then called in to collect our newspaper and some milk from Waitrose. Then we progressed to our favourite bench in the park and were soon observed by our Seasoned World Traveller friend who had availed himself of a coffee, spotted us and then proceeded up the hill for a chat. We had little fragments of conversation with several other of the park regulars – their dogs tend to bound over to us thinking there might be some food in the offing and their owners trail behind, always apologetically. When I reflect upon the dogs I see in the park, many are young and chase enthusiastically after balls thrown for them with the aid of a ‘ball launcher’ but others are much more sedate whilst yet. others (according to their owners) are affflicted with the diseases of old age such as diabetes, osteo-orthritis, obesity and in one sad case dementia. We discussed the latest political situation with our friend (what else) and were trying to discern what combination of conspiracy theories, Machiavellian doings and incompetence on behalf of the Met we chose to believe. Last night, I saw an extraordinary little interview on ‘Newsnight’ when Dawn Abbott (leftward leaning from the Labour Party), a right wing Tory MP and Lord Sumner (ex High Court) were all in total agreement that there was no legal impediment why the Gray report should not be published in its entirety – in their consensus view, the Met was really ‘trying it on’ where according to Lord Sumner it was quite common for fact-finding enquiries to be conducted first and more serious criminal charges pursued later. He cited Hillsborough as the prime example where this had happened. Of course playing for time always works to the advantage of the power centres in society – a fairly common view is that Cressida Dick (head of the Met) has practically handed Boris a ‘get out of gaol’ card for free. It is very interesting that both political left and right are asking for the Gray report to be published in full. The verdict of the Sunday newspapers tomorrow morning is going to be interesting. I suspect that the report will hit us some time on Monday morning. I have just read a rather disturbing account from a journalistic expedition to Grimsby, which is a former Labour seat (‘red wall’) which turned Tory in the last election. There it was reported that he sense of expectation exuded by Westminster ahead of the Sue Gray report is hard to find in Lincolnshire – where one voter said the outcome wouldn’t affect their business, and another said ‘keeping the country running’ is more important than ‘what slice of cake’ the prime minister had. I also listened to the Radio 4 programme, Any Answers in which listeners phone to air their opinions after the Any Questions? panel discussion that precedes it. I must say that an overwhelming view of those who phoned in (Conservative as well as Labour) was that the Gray report should be published in full and unredacted. But, perhaps as an indication of the views of a silent majority, was the view that Boris Johnson and the Downing Street crew were only doing what the rest of us(!) had been doing all along by bending or not observing the law. In a garden not an incredibly long way from our house in which a bar had built in the corner of the erstwhile garden, a party was held in which some 16 adults and children were drinking and cavorting at the height of the pandemic. These parties stopped very abruptly and I suspect that a neighbour (not me!) had complained to the police who probably came along and felt a few collars.

When we got home, it was time to prepare lunch – in this case a curry. I put together the normal ingredients (onion, peppers, left-over cubes of meat, sultanas, some peas and gravy) before adding the Chinese curry paste, serving on a bed of sweet potato rice and topping off with some yogurt. Then we had a fairly lazy afternoon, not doing anything very much knowing that we would leave the house to go to church in the late afternoon.