Tuesday, 17th November, 2020

[Day 246]

Tuesday’s used to be the day devoted to my Pilates class mid-day but under the lockdown procedures, that evidently had to go. So we had our normal walk down to the park and bumped into some of our oldest friends who, as it happened, were on their way to a family funeral of an elderly aunt. How much singing they were going to do in church under the new regulations I am not sure but they had some interesting plans to broadcast something from the car radio system. Rather tastelessly I suggested that ‘Highway to Hell‘ would not be the most appropriate song to sing under the circumstances but we settled on ‘Stairway to Heaven’ as a better choice. We picked up our newspapers and set off for the park, finding many of our normal benches occupied. Nonetheless we met one of our regular ‘park associates’ there and chatted away before we made our way home for lunch – fishcakes with Cavalo Nero kale and carrots glazed with syrup once they have been parboiled (to make them a bit more interesting)

This afternoon was going to be devoted to car washing – or more specifically the first wash of the new car. This is always a rather particular occasion because it is the occasion when you may find some slight blemishes (although to be fair I found none as Honda cars are so well built these days). You also learn the individual curves and idiosyncrasies of each car the first time it has a detailed wash. I have a well-worked routine, although I got a little out of practice on the previous car. This involves using some watering cans to spray on the car to loosen the dirt first and a couple of buckets of warm water, one filled with detergent. My routine consists of a watering can routine first, detergent wash with a large soft brush, detergent wash with a specially microfibre ‘mitt’, followed by the wheels, the insides and finishing off with a clean of the windows. I must say that this Honda proved to be one of the easier cars to clean of any that I have ever had – perhaps being a bit shorter and a tad less tall helps. So now, I am resolved to get back into a good routine every 7-10 days.

The COVID-19 news tonight sounds dramatically bad – although the number of new infections had fallen by about 1,000 the number of deaths was up to 598 in a single day. It could well be that the statistics for the next few days will prove to be terrible as we are about 12 days since the start of the last lockdown. When a new lockdown is scheduled to start, many people try and have one last fling in pubs, bars and restaurants and this almost inevitably results in a huge spike in the infection rate two weeks later.

The American news is equally depressing. In the last few days of a presidency, an out-going president can issue a flurry of regulations- Donald Trump has been using his remaining days trying to make it much more difficult to obtain food and disability benefits upon which so many people rely. He also had to be persuaded not to bomb flat nuclear installations in Iran which are being used to enhance their supplies of uranium. This is actually quite a dangerous time for the world in general because goodness knows what an outgoing president of the likes of Trump might be tempted to do. One is just hopeful that there are enough ‘sensible’ people around Trump to try and ensure he does not do anything especially dangerous. On a slightly brighter note, there is also news that Dolly Parton has donated $1 million to aid medical centres in their search for an effective anti COVID-19 vaccine. Apparently, a portion of the singer’s money went towards funding an early stage trial of the Moderna vaccine. Dolly Parton is well known for her devotion to charitable causes. It is not particularly well known that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a bookgifting program that gifts free books to children from birth to age five in participating communities within the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Republic of Ireland. This does help to restore one’s faith in human nature!