Wednesday, 30th September, 2020

[Day 198]

Today started off gloomy and we had alternating, drizzle, gloom and then active rain almost all day long. However, we had a bright start to the day because in my new found enthusiasm for Skype, I managed to get into direct contact with a close friend in Oxfordshire – we try and meet every 4-6 weeks to have a meal and chew the fat over a range of world issues. We are going to meet in a few weeks time in any case to see the Pitt-Rivers anthropological museum in Oxford which will be a first for us.

Despite the gloom, Meg and I still managed to undertake our walk to the local park. The park was practically deserted but we had with us a spare towel with which we could dry the park bench and enjoy a peaceful few minutes (bereft of dogs and toddlers on little push bikes which is the norm). Then we came to the ritual of reading of last night’s blog (accessed through my iPhone) after which we were more than happy to head homewards, sustained by the fact that I was going to make us a curry for lunch. Tomorrow we will our friends in the park hopefully to share some (birthday) cake unless we get rained off and then have the joys of the Waitrose delivery to unpack once it arrives. (I am reminded of the famous line uttered by Margot Leadbetter in the classic series ‘The Good Life‘ in which she said ‘Christmas is coming to us this year in a Harrod’s hamper’, the analogue of which is our weekly shopping is by courtesy of Waitrose in a number of plastic bags).

This afternoon, I thought I had better attack the growing pile of half-read newspapers which I have kept on one side in case there was anything that I really wanted to keep. Actually, as my iPhone contract is coming to the end of its contract I did find a useful article detailing the latest (and somewhat cut down) model of the iPhone which I think will serve my purposes admirably when I come to exchange it in a week or so.

Late last night, I received via a friend of a friend, a video clip in which Stephen King (eminent American novelist) had predicted that a character like Trump might arrive on the American political scene. King wrote a book in 1979 called ‘The Dead Zone’ in which an aggressive real estate salesman with a bad mouth and no morals or ethics, became President of the United States. The book was even made into a film and some of the scenes and activities depicted in the novel have actually come to pass. It really does look as though the coming of Trump had been anticipated by 37 years – uncanny (and not a little spooky, even) I watched a few minutes on-line of the Trump-Biden fiasco (aka known as a Presidential debate) and what a glorious advert for American democracy. One of the principal ‘stand out’ moments was Trump refusing to condemn a white, extremist group who are inciting violence in American cities under the wonderful name of the ‘Proud Boys’ Pressed by the debate moderator to condemn the far-right, extemist group, Trump urged them them to ‘stand back and stand by‘. Proud Boys members called his debate comments ‘historic’ and an endorsement and are already displaying tee-shirts emboldened with the message that they are ‘standing by’. One really has to wonder what will happen on election night, only about 5 weeks away, if Trump appears to be losing and the far right merge on the street, toting their automatic weapons…

There was an appearance at 5.00 pm this evening of Boris Johnson flanked by his two scientific advisers and I wondered if a significant announcement of a further lock-down was forthcoming. Instead, we had the usual banalities and journalists’ questions that are not directly answered and I wondered to myself what was the point of it all. The virus rate is still running at over 7,000 (about the same as last night) but university students have been told that they ‘will’ be able to come for Christmas – so that is all right then. Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Commons has given the government the equivalent of a dressing down for introducing regulations with the force of law at only a few hours notice completely avoiding any Parliamentary scrutiny (although it now looks as though Parliament i.e. back-bench Tory MP’s, are forcing the government to lay further regulations before Parliament for some degree of scrutiny before their implementation)