Saturday, 24th October, 2020

[Day 222]

We were a little delayed this morning getting some domestic jobs out of the way before we started our walk this morning. Although there was a little drizzle initially, by the time we made it to the park the heavens opened and we had to make a bee-line for the bandstand in order to prevent a complete soaking. I had forgotten one or two items on our regular Waitrose order so we called in at our local store (the one we used to frequent every day before the great lock-down) Although I only bought about three items, the staff who were on duty treated us like prodigal children and made us a present of a Victoria sponge cake. Once we got lunch out of the way, we had an afternoon of rugby for us to enjoy and watched quite a good match, if a little one-sided between Italy and Ireland. We didn’t see the last five minutes of what proved to be particularly exciting as we were getting ourselves to go off to our Saturday evening church service. After this, we got back home to have our traditional Saturday afternoon bowl of soup before we treated (if that is the right word) to a Wales vs. France match. As I write, the French seem to have got the better of the Welsh as one particularly brilliant fast running French player has scored three tries and has almost beaten the Welsh single-handed. The rugby matches are a completion of last year’s Six Nations and some of the players are in the strange position of starting off this year’s season for their clubs whilst completing last year’s internationals. However, at the end of the day, the Welsh seem to have beaten by a French team who were incredibly good at seizing opportunistic tries and exploiting weaknesses in the Welsh defence.

Tonight, there seems to be a proliferation of political stories. It seems that in Wales, many are objecting to the fact that supermarkets have been instructed to sell only ‘essential’ goods (and then to apply ‘common sense’). In London, there seems to have been some demonstrations against the lockdown (or rather the fact that London is now in Tier 2 rather than Tier 1) and some police officers as well have demonstrators have been injured (this might be the precursor of things to come) There also seems to be a rumbling discontent from some Tory MP’s that the majority of them voted NOT to allow children to have free school meals extended to half term and some councils, including Conservative ones, have indicated that they are going to continue to provide them. Some Tory MP’s believe that for comparatively minuscule amounts of money there is a public relations disaster in the making as the Government itself seems to be happy to let children go hungry – even some commercial companies, as well as local authorities, think this situation is so dire that they are providing funds for school meals. Meanwhile, the number of new COVID-19 infections has risen by one quarter since yesterday to 23,000.

On the other side of the Atlantic, it appears that both candidates managed to land blows on their opponent in the last Presidential debate but there was no clear winner or loser. The format of the debate helped in that the debate organisers had instituted a mute button so that listeners could not hear the interruptions of one candidate whilst the other was speaking (which made the first debate such a disaster) According to the BBC poll of polls, Biden is some 8 points ahead whereas, in the CNN poll of polls, Biden is some 10 points ahead. It appears that some 56.5 million voters have already voted (about 30% of the entire electorate) and the turnout may well be the highest since 1909. If the turnout figure is accurate, this can be an advantage to the Democrats as Democrat-leaning non-voting last time around certainly handed Donald Trump history. Of course, there are still about 9 days to go before the actual election date and a lot of eyes are turned upon Florida. This state is always a crucial indicator and may declare before some of the other big ‘battleground’ states. But if you wanted to be pessimistic, it could be several days (or even weeks) before the final result is actually known. Florida has always had really tight and sharply contested elections and this year will be no exception.