Monday, 3rd August, 2020

[Day 140]

It is interesting who we meet in the park and today was no exception. A lady wheelchair user who visited the park every day had also noticed us frequently in the park so we struck up a conversation. She was Bromsgrove born and bred so she knew a lot about the local area, particularly as she had in the past visited our local library in order to research its history. She was very knowledgeable as you would expect about the park and its history and reckoned that it was her who gave our resident heron its colloquial name of ‘Henry’ – she also seemed to be able to identify each of the many trees which probably escapes most people. After taking our leave of her and on the way home, we got caught in a tremendously short shower. However, as providence would have it, a large overhanging tree provided some shelter and some of our ‘regular’ friends caught up with us and, as we had not seen them for several days, we exchanged news and gossip about things. As a result of all of this, we got home fairly late and it was rather too late to start cooking a full-scale dinner at that time so we had an easily prepared snack of cheese and biscuits which is always a good standby in an emergency. In the afternoon, I decided to give some of my papers a bit of a tidying up. Principally, I was as involved in downloading and reading some motoring correspondents’ reviews of the car we are going to have a look at on Wednesday. I was trying to find some statistics on the actual dimensions of the boots in our current and intended vehicle but the reviews would only glorify how many litres of space they both had. Evidently, other people had tried to ask the same question because eventually, I read an exasperated post from someone who evidently been on the same quest as myself with the advice ‘go along to a local dealer armed with a tape measure’ (which I probably will).

I have also been doing some preparatory reading about the themes and editors that I need to utilise when setting up a WordPress installation for the first time. Why this is quite important is that in the early stages of a project, one can make decisions that profoundly influences the rest of what is to follow so I wanted to make sure that I was not going to make any crass mistakes before I started. So this occupied the best part of the afternoon but at least I am a little more clear in my own mind for when I get started. Having been used to hand-coding all of my webpages using HTML, it will be quite a learning curve for me to utilise a tool where a lot of the decisions are automated for me but the results might look a little more professional and less ‘clunky’.

According to tomorrow’s Guardian: ‘In a letter to England’s chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser, nearly 70 clinical virologists say they have been sidelined by the government and excluded from discussions on how to respond to the pandemic.’ Experts say decisions apparently being made on ideological grounds and the whole expertise of virologists currently working in the public sector has been either ignored or by-passed in favour of private sector ‘solutions’ that often have found to be inadequate and, in any case, does not link any data back to the health records of individuals or any other NHS data systems. This means that the whole expertise of virologists working in the public health sector has been systematically ignored in favour of private-sector providers. This is a really serious case of what happens when pure ideology (‘private sector good, public sector bad‘) gets in the way of rational decision making and is a disturbing comment upon the ‘modus operandi‘ of the current government in dealing with the pandemic crisis.