Monday, 29th June, 2020

[Day 105]

Today was one of those indeterminate types of day when the weather cannot make up its mind whether to rain, be cloudy or what have you. It was very windy, though, which means that hats have to be constantly held onto for fear of losing them to oncoming traffic. As you might expect, our local park was bereft of children propelling themselves along on a variety of scooters which we have come to expect in the fine weather and so we were able to claim our usual park bench without too much difficulty. Some of my more distant friends have wondered why I natter on so much about our local park and to be honest, whilst I used to walk past it every day when I used to make a regular trip to our local Waitrose to buy my daily newspapers and claim my free cup of coffee (in the days before lockdown), I didn’t fully appreciate its qualities, My only wish is that the local authority would engage upon a venture to label each tree (or provide a list of what the trees are given that they are all numbered) so that we can all be educated about what we can see in front of us. Here is a URL for a video which was taken in the park some years back but it provides a good overall impression: Sanders Park, Bromsgrove

We had decided that we would make a trip out this afternoon to our local municipal tip (which is about 5-6 miles away in the depths of the Worcestershire countryside) to dispose of my daughter-in-law’s old trampoline exerciser. However, we were completely thwarted – I suppose in retrospect, Monday afternoon was not a good time. As we approached the tip, there was a queue of about 20 cars and they all appeared to be stationary so I suppose they were limiting the numbers and there was a great surplus of people wanting to dispose of their junk so we turned the car around and said that we would have to think about it another day (a nuisance when you have the car full of junk) We did, though, go round a local garden centre and bought a Weigela of a decent size (and with blood-red flowers eventually) but it was a wet, cold and windy experience and not the kind of day for browsing so we were glad to complete our purchase as soon as possible and not linger but get home to a good cup of tea!

It has now been announced that Leicester is the first city to be ‘locked down’ i.e. the existing restrictions will stay in place for another two weeks. I am sure this will come as a major psychological shock to the residents of Leicester who may well be asking ‘Why us?’ and it appears that even some of the limited openings of local shops may now have to be put into reverse. The question remains, of course, how many cities and communities there are like Leicester which may also be ‘on the brink’ and I would imagine that, in private, the government are very worried about the situation. Of course, if we had a ‘proper’ test-and-trace service in operation, then this might give us some good, accurate local data to pinpoint local sources of infection. Tonight’s Panorama programme on ‘test-and-trace’ (which some call the Serco ‘test-and-trace’ rather than the NHS ‘test-and-trace’ has uncovered some really shocking evidence how terrible the privatised, cobbled together Serco ‘test-and-trace’ really is. The government subcontracted the service out and 25,000 call handlers were recruited who had only contacted 15,812 people (an average of about one contact for every two call handlers. In the meanwhile, the much more professional 870 public health officials had handled over 98,000 cases (more than 100 each) This made each public health official about 200 times more effective than their private-sector counterpart. But the ideology of the present government is convinced if that it is provided by the private sector it must be good but if provided by the public sector it must be poor. But the discrepancy is absolutely horrific and just shows that the what happens when you hand essential public sector work over to an army of untrained, call-centre workers many of whom were paid taxpayer’s money to not contact a single case! Shocking, almost beyond words!