Sunday, 10th January, 2021

[Day 300]

So the day 300 of this blog has actually arrived – it will only be a couple of months until we have completed a year of these musings. Today was a fairly typical Sunday in that I went off in the car to collect the Sunday newspapers before returning to get my weekly ration of the Andrew Marr show. Evidently, with the looming crisis in the hospitals and the fact that the pandemic is almost poised to overtake this, this was the major focus of the discussion. I did, however, think they might have spared some 5-10 minutes discussing the developments in America, considering that we claim to have a ‘special relationship’ with the Americans. Actually, although we claim to have a ‘special relationship’ with the Americans, they never seem to claim the same in reverse. I suppose the last time that the Capital Building was invaded and even set on fire was by the British in 1814. Apparently, the the ensuing fire reduced all but one of the capital city’s major public buildings to smoking rubble, and only a torrential rainstorm saved the Capitol from complete destruction. Also destroyed was their collection of special books and manuscripts from the Library of Congress – the Americans have regarded the Capitol building in which both the House of Representatives and the Senate meet as an almost ‘sacred’ place and hence the sense of violation after the events of last Thursday night were felt only too keenly. I read a most interesting article on the American FiveThirtyEight website which argued, very persuasively, that the storming of the US Capitol was not just a protest against a so-called ‘stolen ‘election or a simple manifestation of the president’s lies about the integrity of his defeat. Rather the whole article argues that like so much of American politics, this insurrection was fundamentally about race, racism, and the white American’s stubborn commitment to white dominance (and hence the Confederacy flags that were borne aloft) no matter what the cost or the consequence. As can be seen from the video footage which is plentiful, the mob of rioters carried Confederate flags, hung nooses, and paraded white supremacist symbols as they violently breached the Capitol. I mention all of this because, strangely, it does not get reported as such in the British media. The British media tend to say things such as ‘Donald Trump’s supporters, emboldened by the words of the President’ etc. etc. and not phrases such as ‘a white supremacist, racist mob invaded the Capitol intent on murdering Speaker Nancy Pelosi if they had happened to come across her‘ It is interesting that the secret service made sure that Vice-President Pence was led away to a place of his safety to protect him from the mob after he refused to accede Trump’s request to nullify the election. It is especially interesting that the members of the British Conservative party who had had snuggled up close to Donald Trump just after his election (but before Brexit) were keeping their mouths firmly shut at the moment.

In the park, we did not meet any of our usual gaggle of acquaintances but still got approached by all of the local un-leashed dogs, suspecting that a tasty titbit might come their way (although I doubt that oranges and chocolate biscuits would do them any good, even if it was offered). We did get into conversation with a lady who at the time of the initial lockdown in the Spring was actually in Portugal. Her opinion was that the Portuguese police handled their function pretty well being firm whilst polite and it was quite a marked contrast to the British police who’s presence has hardly been felt at all (near to where we live, anyway). We thought we were going to have a special lunch of roast partridge, bought recently from Waitrose. But when we got it out it out of its packaging and were preparing to put into a roaster bag, it did smell somewhat ‘off’. So we immediately threw the whole of it away, not particularly wishing to get a dose of salmonella and being stuck in an A&E department for hours? days? on a trolley whilst the pandemic is at its height. I spent some time this afternoon locating chargers for my trusted air of Nokia 1100 phones. Just out of interest, I looked up some of the specifications and reviews for the Nokia 1100 and its variants. It holds the record for being the biggest selling phone of all time. having sold some 250 million units – it had a talk time of about 3 hours and a standby time of some 350-400 hours, which is way over a fortnight!