Sunday, 19th July, 2020

[Day 125]

When I walked down to collect our Sunday newspapers this morning, it was a most delightful morning and the air was like champagne. It clouded over a bit later on but it was still a very pleasant day compared with Saturday. Meg and I had several extended conversations on our way down this morning. One of our oldest (and continental) friends had experienced the bereavement of her brother within the last fortnight so naturally, we talked things over and extended whatever sympathy we could – your natural inclination is to give people a big hug under these circumstances but obviously the coronavirus has paid to all of that. We had recently learned of the illness of the wife of my ex-colleagues with whom Meg and I have a particular fellow feeling as she was only a few years ahead of us in the Economics Faculty of the University of Manchester. This was housed in a magnificent set of houses known collectively as Dover Street and it was most famous as the home of Engels who wrote the extremely influential 'Condition of the Working Class in England' which later proved to be a profound influence upon the work of Karl Marx. Other famous alumni of Dover Street had been Elizabeth Gaskell (the novelist after whom a teacher training college was named in Manchester and which provided my first professional employment) and Sir Frank Worrell (the West Indian cricket captain and Meg knew his daughters and had met Sir Frank and his wife as a result) So, a strangely inter-connected world. Then on the way home, we had another extended chat with some of our gardening friends that we meet regularly. The net result of all of these wonderful conversations was that we were too late for a conventional Sunday lunch but what we had in mind could keep so we rustled up a quiche-type lunch that we could prepare quite quickly. We had an enjoyable afternoon lazing around in the garden (joined, naturally, by Miggles the cat) and I put the finishing touches to a horseshoe which I was reconditioning and then made a present of to my daughter-in-law to celebrate a promotion at work and to bring her good fortune in her new role. After the rust had been well and truly removed (my white vinegar trick) it got a polish up using some stainless steel cleaner I had added onto my Waitrose order and a final polishing and conditioning with WD40 to prevent further rust (although I could have used a very thin smear of coconut oil which is also a good rust preventative)

This week is going to be quite a busy week for us in comparison with the comparative lull of the last few weeks. We need to get up-to-date on appointments that have been let lapse such as optician and dental hygienist appointments, for which no doubt there will be huge waiting lists. On Wednesday, our hairdresser will be arriving complete with a set of sheep-shearing shears which she will undoubtedly need at this stage in the proceedings. Later on in the same day, we are are also going to have a visit from our chiropodist. On Thursday, we have made a booking to visit a nearby National Trust property (Hanbury Hall) and again, although we cannot visit the house itself, there are extensive gardens and walks for us to enjoy, We have already made our booking (free for National Trust members) so we are just hoping that the good weather holds out for us.

It looks as though one of the interesting political developments to look out for is for the coronavirus is hurting the ‘red wall’ seats that Boris Johnson’s Tory party took away from Labour in the 2019 election. The North East is projected to be one of the worst-hit regions and they already contain a high proportion of vulnerable local authorities (nearly half compared with 23% across the UK as. whole) It seems that the ‘red wall’ seats could see a 12% permanent output loss against. 5% contraction for the South East. Plus ça change!