Saturday, 4th July, 2020

[Day 110]

As we have by now come to expect, this was another overcast and somewhat cloudy day, but no actual rain was forecast. As it was a little bit cooler and less humid, our walk to the park was more pleasant than usual. Outside the park, we were delighted to bump into of our ex-Waitrose friends who we had not seen for about a fortnight, so we had a fair amount of gossip to catch up on. She is probably going to make a trip to France later on this month and for our own part, now that the travel arrangements seem to be clarified somewhat, we are going to text our friends in Spain and may make some plans to get there in late September if we possibly can. Julie informed us that Bromsgrove High Street was like a madhouse so we are determined to stay away for a bit until the dust settles. The press is calling today ‘Super Saturday‘ and it remains to be seen how the majority of the citizenry respond to an alleviation of the lockdown measures today. The rest of the day was a little nondescript so we contented ourselves to having a lazy afternoon reading the weekend newspapers. Although I do not normally comment on TV programmes that we have seen today is a bit of an exception as I shall explain. In the late afternoon, there was another showing of the Disney version of ‘The Jungle Book‘ and although we have seen most if before, Meg and I thought we would have a second look. Some of the CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) effects were stunning and we put up with some of the banalities of animals bursting into musical type song on occasions for the sake of the rest of the film. Towards the end of the film, the wolf pack were being taught to say ‘Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky;And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.’ On hearing these words, I had an intense mental image of the following scene. It was a dark basement of the church’s social club in St. Roberts, in Harrogate, Yorkshire in about 1953. The room was dimly lit by two or three candles, meant to simulate the flickering of a woodland campfire. The ‘Cub’ Leader (‘Akela‘ in Rudyard Kipling’s parlance) was reading aloud sections of the Jungle Book (including the lines mentioned above) to a group of eager, upturned faces who listened in rapt attention, their faces illuminated only by the candlelight. What made this scene so incredibly vivid in my memory was that ‘Akela’ was actually my mother (who led the Cub Pack before she went off to train to be a teacher in 1956) and I was one of the pack of ‘wolf cubs’. I don’t wish to sound mawkishly sentimental but the imagery in my mind was so strong and although my mother died over twelve years ago, this was a wonderful memory to have of her, doing what she loved doing best. Just as an aside, my mother was so desperate to become a teacher that although she was born in 1911 she doctored her birth certificate to make it look as though she was born in 1914 and would, therefore, appear to be three years younger than she actually was. One has to remember how rare it was for mature students to enter teacher training college in the mid-1950’s – the price that she had to pay was that she had to work for three years longer than she normally would in order to retire and claim her teacher’s pension. For anybody who wants to follow up on some of the details of my mother’s life, I include an URL which are the words that I spoke on the occasion of her funeral (Marie_Hart)

More ‘Do as I say, not do as I do time‘ Boris Johnson’s father has flown to Greece in spite of Foreign Office advice not to do so. Nigel Farage has returned from the USA and instead of being quarantined for 14 days has been seen out drinking in a pub – for which he could be fined £1,000. Do you think this at all likely? (Actually, a conviction of a high-ranking member of the elite evidently breaking the rules might set an excellent example of the rest of the population!)