Tuesday, 30th June, 2020

[Day 106]

I made my own way down for the newspapers this morning realising at the commencement of my journey I had forgotten to put my incredibly ancient iPhone 4 (10 years old?) which I use solely as a music player to recharge so I had to make do with my own company. The weather was still changeable this morning but it was not the kind of day when you could really look forward to doing any outside jobs so I resolved to do some tidying up within my study. Some of this time was devoted to unjamming a jammed up printer (which does happen occasionally) but as I am now on a paper economy drive I take once used paper and put it the ‘wrong’ way through the printer so that its gets printed upon the blank side.

On the spur of the moment, I decided to buy myself a Bahco ratchet screwdriver as it seemed to get rave reviews – although originally manufactured in Sweden it is is probably now made in Taiwan. Eager to try it out, I did a little bit of research on the web to discover some practical woodworking advice (of which there is plenty) I now know that for a Reisser 5.0 screw (of which I have a box) I need a pilot hole of 3.5 mm (i.e. the width of the shank of the screw, excluding the actual screw ‘ridges’ and a PoziDriv bit number PZ2) Going to my new plant holder stand, I drilled a pilot hole by hand using my newly Bahco and with exactly the correct width of drill for the pilot hole. Then exchanging the chuck containing the drill with the correct screwdriver head (a PoziDriv PZ2) I then screwed in the Reisser screw so I had taken care to ensure that I had carefully matched the pilot hole drill size, the screw size itself and the screwdriver bit size and I have to say that inserting the screw like this (i.e. the correct way!) was like inserting a hot knife through butter i.e. incredibly easy. So although I had done everything by hand, using the correct materials and dimensions made life easier than if I had used a cordless screwdriver! And I haven’t even mentioned further refinements such as drilling a clearance hole slightly wider than the shaft of the screw only for the ‘top’ piece of wood – or using a lubricant such as bar soap, candle wax, petroleum jelly or a dry spray lubricant. If I had been taught woodwork at school, then this might have been instilled into me – but now I know better, I am resolved to do things the correct way from now on. And to think that I always imagined that screwing two pieces of wo0d together was child’s play and took no intelligence or prior knowledge to sort out.

I see that ‘The Guardian’ newspaper is tonight saying that following the instance of Leicester, more local lockdowns may be on the way. As to why Leicester should be the source of a spike in cases, I quote from an analysis in The Guardian:

The east of the city appears to be the epicentre of this local outbreak. The area includes streets with tightly packed terraced housing, and has a high proportion of ethnic minority families where multi-generational living is more common….Indeed, Leicester as a whole is one of the most culturally diverse areas in the country, with about half of its residents from ethnic minority groups.

I do get the terrible foreboding that the end of the lockdown may have come two weeks too early and that the health of the nation is being sacrificed on the altar of commercial interests. The Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish seem to be handling the whole thing so much more sensibly. In the USA at the moment, new infections are running at the rate of 40,000 per day and there is an informed prediction that this could well rise to 1000,000 per day. The only silver lining to this particular dark cloud is that the response of the USA to the pandemic crisis may well be putting paid to Donald Trump’s chances of re-election in November! We shall have to wait and see.