Tuesday, 28th April, 2020

[Day 43]

The long-anticipated rains arrived overnight at last- this is always a pleasant sight, particularly when one is well ‘gardened-up’ and it has been one of the driest Aprils on record. Meg was still suffering a little from what we think is a stomach upset so I made the journey to the park on my own. I did pass by the house of our friend who has not many days left to live on this earth. I spoke with his son who informed me that his father, having not slept not particularly well last night, was now asleep. I bid my adieus and said I would call back in about another three days’ time. When I got to the park, it was practically deserted. I cut a solitary figure, standing alone in the bandstand and drinking the coffee from my flask (even harder to manipulate standing up in my desire to avoid touching any hard surfaces.)

This afternoon, I thought I would try my hand at making a facemask out of a discarded pair of socks. The first method involves making slits and cutting pieces out so that two ‘lugs’ are formed to stretch around your ears. I could not quite see how this would work with the open end, so I adopted Method 2 which seems a lot more successful. Basically, I put an elastic band over each end of the sock and then secured it in position by folding and securing with a safety pin. This initiated a house-wide search for safety pins which hardly anyone uses these days. Eventually, I improvised (as always) by securing each folded over portion with a large paper clip, unfolded and then used as a giant staple before being secured into position – I finished it off with a brief bit of masking tape to avoid scratching myself. The next task is to see how to sanitise /disinfect such a mask. As with hands, it is difficult to better hot water and a fair dolloping of soap although normal washing in the washing machine should also do the trick. I thought we try these out tomorrow (I have made three pairs already) and resolve to wash them every day as part of my new routine.

In the late afternoon, we FaceTimed our old friends who have been feeling the pressure a bit recently. We were speculating whether we could risk an accidental ‘meeting’ in the park in about 13 days’ time. The point is that Mondays are always very quiet and therefore we were very unlikely to encounter many other souls – Monday, May 11th is my 75th birthday so we may be able to celebrate at a distance!

I read a letter in yesterday’s Times which indicated that three countries (France, Denmark and Poland) had intimated that state aid would not be made available to companies in their respective countries who had funnelled their profits off into tax-havens. This seems like an excellent suggestion – if you had deprived the state of so much revenue over the years, why hold out your hand for state hand-outs now? It the type of suggestion that would (a) never occur to the British political elite and (b) certainly never be implemented. A second letter was from a Professor of Dentistry who pointed out that whilst hand-washing was a central part of the strategy to guard against the transmission of the Covid-19, perhaps the same consideration should be given to teeth-brushing. He argued that as droplets of saliva could well act as a vector of the Covid-19 virus, then sanitising the mouth with toothpaste (and mouth-wash, I ask myself?) would seem to be equally as sensible as hand-washing. Food for thought?