Wednesday, 14th October, 2020/H1>

[Day 212]

Today has turned out to be quite a busy day, as it turned out. The day before our Waitrose order is delivered, we always have to spend a certain amount of time updating it and, even so, there are always one or two things that you forget. Consequently, we popped into our local Waitrose store to buy one or two things of which we have run out before the order arrives tomorrow evening. Then home to prepare our, by now, traditional curry which we shared with our domestic help (who loves them!) This afternoon as the weather was set fair, I thought I had better ‘gird up my loins’ and go and get the grass cut, which activity takes some 40 minutes for the large communal grassed area we have in front of our house and then some 20 minutes for our own lawns to the rear. This proceeded satisfactorily and I am completing how many cuts are needed before the end of the season – one or two? The last cut of the season I try and time to be as near to November 5th as I can and it is always a bit fiddly in that the hour has generally gone back so I have to press on before the light fades. I am always scrupulous in ensuring that I have not petrol left in the mower to ‘clog’ up things during the winter, so in the last cut of the season I am generally walking up and down, over-mowing the already cut areas whilst muttering to the mower ‘Die! Die!’ as I am waiting for the last drop of petrol to be consumed. Then the season’s oil has to be drained out which is always a bit tricky. I try to ensure that I have a previously emptied tin can, shaped to provide a rudimentary lip before the old oil is stored in a bottle waiting for the next time that I go to the tip to dispose of it safely.

Today has been a day free of ‘video calling’ but I have one call arranged to call an ex-De Montfort University friend on Saturday and am in the middle of an email exchange to get something sorted out to video call an ex- University of Winchester colleague some time tomorrow. I am hopeful that once I get all of my systems and contacts set up, video-calling friends will become easier and easier once you have an agreed time to talk to each other.

Last night, before I went to bed I thought I would just do a quick check on the American media CNN and MSNBC to see what the polls in the American media were saying. The MSNBC results seem to be particularly detailed, giving Jo Biden a lead of 10.5% but also showing an indication of how individual polls were reporting in each of the swing states. Again, the majority of these reported that Joe Biden had a lead but the MSNBC reporting seemed to be highly ethical in that it would indicate ‘lack of sufficient data’ if the poll size looked too small or somewhat suspect. I thought I would also look at the massively pro-Trump Fox News to have a look at their spin which, as you might expect, was to generally agree that size of the leads but then to argue that the polls might have ‘over-sampled’ the Democratic vote. The big problem with all of this is that the intention to vote reported to an opinion poll is one thing, actually getting your vote into the system, regarded as valid (i.e. not excluded) and actually counted is quite another thing in a system where ‘voter suppression’ is so rife. On Election Day itself, we will be able to compare the opinion poll forecasts and what the actual counted votes reveal and I forecast quite a large discrepancy in the case of the Democratic vote.

The British political scene is showing signs of complete fracture. In Northern Ireland, a type of ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown has been announced lasting a month. Wales has banned all visitors from affected areas in England, the Scots are imposing tighter ‘lock-down’ rules than the English 3-tier system, many northern local authorities are pleading/demanding with central government the they receive much more financial resource before they will consider being moved from ‘High’ to ‘Very High’. In other words, the UK looks a complete mess at the moment as the national consensus has broken down with the Labour Party now supporting a 2-3 week circuit breaker for the UK whilst many Tories (on the right) want even fewer restrictions than we have at the moment. The situation does seem to be evolving day-by-day and it does appear that it will only be a matter of time (days?) before a type of ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown will be announced for the UK…