Sunday, 2nd August, 2020

[Day 139]

Today was going to be a different pattern to our normal Sundays. I walked down to collect our normal supply of Sunday newspapers and got back home by 9.00 am. Then I made up our normal supply of ‘elevenses’ and we departed by car for a church service at Harvington Hall (a beautiful moated manor house originally built in the 1300s and then extensively rebuilt in the 1500s) which is only some seven miles to the south of us. As well as our comestibles we took with us a folding stool and a folding chair so that we could attend an open-air service which started at 10.30, although we had arrived by 10. A great deal of thought had evidently gone into the preparations for the service which is held in the gardens each Sunday and where we all suitably socially distanced! We think we recognised a few emigres from our normal church but as all of our faces were hidden behind masks it was possible to make some mistakes in greeting people. The service as very well conducted and although we had some cloudy moments, the weather was generally kind to us as well. We were greeted warmly (as was everyone) and we were invited to join a smaller band of the congregation for a service inside the actual chapel next Saturday at 10.00 am in the morning. We thought we would give this a go as well. By a strange sort of coincidence, there was a sort of linkage between the gospel reading and our own situation in the garden as the reading was the ‘feeding of the 5,000’ where the crowd was urged to sit down in ranks on the grass in order to be fed.

This blog is written using WordPress, the most popular blogging software in the world but it was only when I bought a couple of books to explore its potentialities that I realised that it was an excellent web-design as a blogging tool. I have a variety of web spaces for different purposes and on one of them, WordPress is provided as a ready-to-load add-in. I thought I would like to experiment and wondered whether to set up a second installation – but then realised that this could really mess up my existing ‘blog’ with a new one. So to cut a long story short, I decided to purchase a bit of extra space at a very reasonable price from a provider with whom I have been working for some 12 years and with who gives a completely individualised service in that they will help you set things up and then help you out if things go wrong. I knew how to set up a website with your own domain name attached to it so I knew the drill. This involves (a) writing a page-holder page for the new site (b) purchasing the name you want to have for the new website – I utilise an American firm which is cheaper than the UK firms (c) actually purchasing the webspace itself (d) going back to your domain name supplier to specify the nameservers for your site (e) configuring an FTP entry so that (using Filezilla) you can easily transfer the relevant files back and forth. Fortunately, I managed to do all of this without a hitch and got things up and running in about 30 minutes, about which I was pleased. In a day or so, I will then activate the new WordPress installation and get playing to my heart’s content!

It looks as though we are deep into analysis time regarding what has actually gone wrong in the COVD-19 crisis in the UK contributing to the worst excess deaths in Europe. As the smoke of battle is gradually clearing, it is becoming more evident that there is no one really simple (and simplistic) explanation of the problem we have in the UK. But we are now pretty certain that we entered the lockdown about two weeks too late (probably doubling the number of deaths) and started to come out of the lockdown about two weeks too early. The upshot is that levels of the virus are quite extensive across the whole of the community and therefore it doesn’t take much to trigger new infections (and Manchester as a whole is now declared as a ‘major incident’ with multiple hotspots in the rise of the infection rates) Two continuing problems are the fact that the younger generation seems to be acting as though the crisis is largely over and the predominance of the virus in areas of high social deprivation (often correlating with poor housing, poor air quality, a population with low skill levels who cannot ‘work from home’).