Thursday, 22nd April, 2021

[Day 402]

We woke up this morning to a really bright and beautiful morning but not one we could enjoy in the usual way. We were somewhat delayed this morning by the arrival of the Waitrose order which had to be unpacked and then put away. We were aware of the fact that Mike had an appointment for a CT scan in the Kidderminster treatment centre (some 14 miles day distant) at midday – so we needed to alter our routines somewhat. We went down in the car to pick up our newspapers and then had to pop into Waitrose in order to return a garment to John Lewis via their Waitrose network. Actually, this bit worked pretty well as the original delivery note contained a returns address and a QR code. All we needed to do is to get onto our John Lewis’s account get a RMA code, then include it in the packed and readdressed parcel and hand it in to Waitrose. I already had an email acknowledging the safe receipt of the returns package back into the system and a refund will no doubt shortly follow. The we went back home by car and had some elevenses in our front garden (delightfully sunny). I then went by car to Kidderminster and got there about 10 minutes early, got scanned very quickly and was back home at only a few minutes after 1.0pm. In the afternoon, we decided to make a trip out to Marks and Spencer’s in Longbridge (on the site of the old Austin assembly line) to do some clothes shopping for some much needed items for Meg and then got home in the mid afternoon. It was a glorious day and we had to forego our normal walk to the park but hopefully, the high pressure system will persist for a day or so yet so we have a nice clear day tomorrow, all being well.

There seems to be something going wrong with our various friends computer systems at the moment. Some of the regulars who we FaceTime or Skype seem to be having a variety of computer problems which means that we haven’t been able to communicate with each other over the last few days. The modern technology is wonderful when it works but systems can be a nightmare if things start to go wrong – we are hopeful that these problems will soon be sorted out so the we can start to chat again.

There is a World Climate summit organised I believe by the Americans in which various leaders are appearing to pledge allegiance to new emissions targets. To get the ball rolling, as it were, Jo Biden has agreed to cut greenhouses emissions by 50% by the year 2030. The interesting question is whether both China and the USA as the earth’s two biggest polluters will be able to generate the changes needed in our whole economy and ways of living to achieve meaningful objectives. One suspects that the Chinse government, once it puts it’s mind to it, might be in a better position to deliver than the Americans. The Americans are apparently concerned that the Chinese might be a long way ahead of them in the deployment of solar technologies. Whilst some argue that as the Chinese who have access to cheap capital and labour, then it is no surprise that they dominate some 60& of the available market in ‘solar’ technologies’. But a better explanation of China’s success in solar is that the energy industry prioritises low costs and China excels at cost-cutting and scaling — not just from cheap resources but from a superior ability to innovate manufacturing processes to drive down cost and scale quickly, known as process innovation. One also wonders whether Jo Biden can push the necessary legislative procedures through Congress at the moment as there are so many vested interests still in the energy industries.

The Greensill affair rumbles on with revelations that David Cameron lobbied the Treasury so much that he was in danger of morphing from ‘Dodgy Dave’ to ‘Desperate Dave’ as he sought, repeatedly, to get the Treasury to favour the firm which was now employing him (and which eventually went bankrupt) At the same time, Boris Johnson has been revealed as almost being at the beck and call of James Dyson (vacuum cleaner manufacturer who was an ardent Brexiteer but who eventually took his business off to Singapore to lower his costs) What is some concern to some senior civil servants is that Boris Johnson shows himself as being susceptible to exchanges of messages via WhatsApp – as such, these are not ‘meetings’ and therefore are not subject to the Ministerial code of accountability and so on. The combination of these types of stories seem to ensure that the Tory party seem to be the absolute party of sleaze – not that they care as the public does not seem to mind so much apparent sleaze as the Tories are so far ahead in the opinion polls. It is a strange world!