Tuesday, 24th May, 2022

[Day 799]

As Tuesday is my Pilates day, we know that we have to manage our time quite carefully. We knew that some of our pre-pandemic Waitrose acquaintances had started to frequent the coffee bar again since its reopening about a month or so ago. We called in at our friend along the Kidderminster Road where we had our little tea party yesterday as I had taken along some slippers to wear and forgot to change into them. I had left them behind me so I called in to collect the same, thinking that I had better not get into the habit of leaving items of clothong in the houses of French widows. As soon as we entered the Waitrose store, we met up with our acquaintances and sat down to make a foursome. Then we joined by another mututal pre-pandemic acquainatnce and that brought us up to five. The female members of the party were each handed some flowers by the Waitrose staff – when flowers go over their sell-by date thay tend to given away to some of the stores oldest and most regular customers. In addition, one of the assistants that I know particularly well excitedly pointed me in the direction of the shelves where concentrated fruit juices were shelved. I had requested through her that the manager start to stock some beet juice which Meg and I have started to have as a regular part of our diet. This request had evidently been complied with and had worked its way through the system so I now have a regular supply on tap withut having to roam around the other Bromsgrove supermarkets to find it. Then my friend from the park Seasoned World Traveller occupied the next table and I have not bumped into him for a couple of weeks now so that we rapidly got up to speed on the ‘partygate’ developments, each of us trying to speculate what the next developments were likely to be and speculating upon the role played by the Metropolitan police. It was just as well we had taken the car down to Waitrose because just before we left there was a pretty heavy shower and we would have been drenched if we had made our regular walk on foot.

Today being my regular Pilates day I walked down at the usual time and was delighted to discover that the health scare which my Pilates’ teacher had suffered last week turned out to be just that i.e. a scare. and not a suspected stroke. But it still took a four hour wait in Worcester Royal’s A&E to get this diagnosis. After my class, we dined as we always do on a Tuesday on haddock fish cakes which seemed particularly delicious today for a reason I cannot discern. After a brief rest, I was eager to start work on clipping up the pile of Elaeagnus branches that I had left lying at the top end of our communal green area. I suspected that this job was going to be done in two tranches but suddenly the pile seemed to diminish rapidly so I got it all done in one day with just a certain amount of clearing up of leaves to be done tomorrow.

Westminster is still full of anticiation for the Sue Gray report into ‘partygate’ to be delivered in the next day or so. As you might expect, there is a sharp division of opinion concerning the photograph that shows Boris Johnson proposing a toast to a departing colleague. In the photograph, are several other personnel (with faces blurred out) but evidently no social distancing has taken place. In the photograph, there is a table laden with bottles of booze. The Johnson loyalists are saying that this is just a ‘work-related event’ and thus falls within the rules applicable at the time whilst the majority opinion (all of the opposition and a few Tory MP’s) maintain that this is clear and evident proof that Johnson lied to the House of Commons when he said that no parties took place on that day and that all social rules had been observed (it is evident, from the photograph, that they were not) In advance of the publication of the Sue Gray report, The Times reports that Boris Johnson had asked Sue Gray to pull the whole report as most of the findings were in the public domain anyway. If true, this would be a clear attempt to influence the outcome of the ‘independent’ report. No. 10 denies this furiously – but then, they would say that, wouldn’t they? Three individuals have told the BBC that they witnessed regular rule-breaking events during restrictions of 2020 and 2021. According to their testimony, staff crowded together with some sitting on each other’s laps at parties. The fact that Boris Johnson was present and did not tell the party goers to disperse was taken to be a tacit acknowledgement that their attendance at these events was quite legitimate. A lot more will emerge in the next few days, no doubt.