Sunday, 16th May, 2021

[Day 426]

And so the weeks roll by and here we are at Sunday morning again. It seems almost unbelievable that at 12.00pm today (half way through the day) May will be 15½ days old – i.e. half way through the month of May. Meg was feeling a little under the weather this morning so she stayed in bed whilst I walked down to collect the newspapers and then watched the Andrew Marr show at 9.0am Afterwards I wandered down too the park, again on my own, and arrived at our normal bench, meeting our University friend within 20 seconds. We were soon joined by another of the park regulars and we had the most entertaining discussion between the three of us. We were exploring how people navigated the educational system and how examinations were often a poor guide to the intelligence and potential of individuals. We all brought something to this discussion from our own biographies and so ‘a good discussion was had by all’. We negotiated (and discussed) one or two badly behaved dogs and our conversation also included the ways in which ‘man’s best friend’ had learnt to live alongside us for so many millennia. After this it was homeward bound and starting to think about lunch.

Meg and I had intended to pay a visit up to Bolton, Lancs in about a week’s time but we had sent an email to the daughter of Meg’s cousin to help us all assess the gravity of the situation in Bolton. As it appears to be the town worst affected by the Indian variant of the virus and it appears much more transmissible than other variants, we have jointly decided to call off our trip for next Sunday. Instead we have arranged a date in late June in about five week’s time and we suspect that by that time things might be very much better (or conceivably, worse) and we shall have to assess the situation all over again. Tomorrow is the date when we go inside and have a (seated) beer or meal in a pub, hug each other and a few of us meet in each other’s houses. Personally, I would have liked this stage to have been delayed by a fortnight (no time at all!) but I suppose that beer especially brought in for tomorrow would have to be poured down the drain again.

After we had our lunch and a rest, I knew that I had to seize the opportunity to get the lawns cut as the sun was more-or-less shining and the lawns were looking terrible. The dandelions and buttercups had gone mad in the last few days after the amount of rain that we had is I needed to seize the opportunity. The communal green area in front of our houses takes some 40-45 minutes to cut (although I do cut it twice -once North-South and than a transverse cut East-West) which although not strictly necessary does make the whole look better. At least, with a mulching mower (which is the variant that I have) you do not have to stop to pick up grass cuttings every so often. Then I have a quick 10 minute break and straight on the with the back lawn, before my muscles get cold and this takes some 20-25 minutes. The rain intervened a little on the edge of some clouds as they passed over but it was sufficiently light not to put a damper on the proceedings. I have to say that the front of the house looked a real treat once we had a burst of afternoon sunshine and the newly cut lawns were framed by the trees and shrubs that are now in full bloom.

According to Sky News, the highest concentrations of the Indian variant of the virus (specifically B.1.617.2) is in Bolton, followed by Blackburn with Darwen, Leicester, Nottingham and Bedford. According to some experts, this situation is serious enough to want a delay to the ‘unlock down’ due to start tomorrow but, of course, Boris Johnson is more concerned with the politics rather than the science (despite protestations to the contrary). It looks as though the government is engaged in a most horrendous gamble by hoping that the number of those vaccinated will manage to hold at bay the undoubted spread of the Indian variant. Of course, it might be that Boris Johnson is extraordinarily lucky and we get a semi-unlock down with no serious spread of the Indian variant – but it seems almost as likely that the virus will ‘outrun’ the vaccine and we end up in quite a plight. I suppose the fairly evident thing to do is to impose an almost total lockdown on the badly effected areas and to grit one’s teeth to cope with the inevitable political consequences. However, I feel it is almost certain by now that the total end to the lockdown timetabled for 21st June, 2021 will almost certainly not be met as things stand.