Friday, 3rd June, 2020

[Day 109]

On these cloudy days, one never knows how the day will eventually work out. Meg and I were pleased to avoid any rain on our trip to the park where we engaged, as is by now customary, with several conversations with dog owners. The sequence is as follows – the dogs have been let off the lease but thinking that food might be in the offing, they come excitedly towards us on our park bench. This actually happened this morning and one enthusiastic spaniel caused Meg to drop her lemon-curded oatmeal biscuit – the owners then apologise profusely for having caused a nuisance as they see it and the conversation flows from there. (Incidentally, I believe that it is not unknown for second relationships and even marriages that may be initiated by dogs playing together and thereby drawing their respective owners into a conversation. Well, I know of two cases. one on each side of the family, where this or something similar to it has actually happened) When we were in the park, we got a disturbing telephone conversation from our son who had emerged from his study only to find two plumbers wandering about the house looking for a stopcock! What had happened was this – the loo in our en-suite bathroom was starting to fill exceedingly slowly so we sent a quick message to our local plumbers who only live about 400 metres away. We were informed that one or two of the sons would call round after 1.0pm but as the plumbers were in between jobs they decided to call around at about 11.30. Our domestic help had let them in but we had not told our son about it at that stage because we were going to wait until we got back from our walk so as not to disturb him. To cut a long story short, we now have a fully functioning loo (and I suspect it had been going dodgy for quite some time). After lunch, I was all geared up to do a bit of planting and one or two odd jobs in the garden, only to be thwarted by a thin drizzle of rain that persisted for a lot of the afternoon. So I busied myself with doing other things (getting my accounts up to date) before we FaceTimed our regular friends as we normally do on a Friday. They are desperately looking forward to a bit of ‘unlock’ time so we may meet them in the park early next week but, if not, certainly on Thursday to celebrate a birthday. On Wednesday, we are off to see old friends in Oxfordshire and I think the weather is going to be fine by then.

An interesting snippet of news from this morning’s Today programme (but not much-reported since) Apparently the Germans have offered to help us to adapt their own coronavirus test-and-trace app which has been used than 14m times – and works! In the meantime, we have spent millions on an abortive attempt in the Isle of Wight experiment (which proved fruitless) and current progress is not much better. So I am delighted to say that we have swallowed our national pride and accepted help from a society that seems to know what it is doing.

More coronavirus stories that have emerged. It now looks as though the government are resigned to dealing with several ‘mini-spikes’ and intends to deal with each of them as and when they occur (a bit like dampening down a forest fire) The Chief Medical Officer for Health in England, Professor Chris Whitty has warned that: ‘If individuals, families and firms do not take them seriously the possibility of a second wave goes up sharply….The virus is a long way from gone, it’s not going to be gone for a long time….Nobody watching this believes there are no risks in the next step.

There is a dire story that Israel was the model of how to lock down effectively but then entered an end to their lockdown and, as people have relaxed, they now have a second peak of cases worst than the first. And in Texas, a doctor has reportedly said that ‘we are heading for pure hell‘ as the number of hospital admissions has quadrupled in the last month.