DAY 33: 15 April

The Health Secretary is not the only one doesn’t get it, Brexiteers.

Feeling bit crook today. Woke up with one blocked nostril, a bit of a headache and the tinnitus louder than usual. 

One glance outside and I knew I could not devote the day to housework (as I had never intended anyway), After preparing some bread dough, I headed for the front garden, where the tomatoes tend to do quite well.

There was tremendous racket coming from nearby which didn’t not help the headache. Someone with a power strimmer was cutting back foliage on the electricity sub station next door. Very pleased when he moved on. 

Then I saw a neighbour’s little girl clutching a parcel wandering up the Back Lane, all alone. Luckily she knows me, so I asked her where she was going. “I am looking for my mum. This parcel came and daddy said to take it to her. Daddy’s in the front garden.”

“Well mummy’s not up this end,” I said. “I think you should go back and tell daddy.” And off she toddled, poor little soul. Her mum offered to do some shopping for me later and explained that she had been upstairs at the time. 

A note comes through the door today. Some neighbours have set up a bookcase in their front garden and invite folk to deposit books there for anyone to take during the lockdown. I sent over a batch, though I discover that I am not the only one who is finding difficult to read. Several friends and family admit it too. It seems more appropriate to be DOING something, when you are forced not to…

An email arrives from Australia packed with funnies, from a friend quarantined in a hotel room. It is an improvement on her last one which contained a batch of photos of the room in which she is incarcerated. She is clearly desperate to get out, and has only a few days to go. Feels like she might flip if they don’t let her out soon.

Funnies keep coming in from all directions, and time has to be allocated deciding who might be appropriate recipients., some being more raunchy than others. And what’s the protocol. Do your ruin things by telling people you’ve already had that one – (and may even have sent it to them a week ago.

We must be permitted to snigger at the news that Romanian farm workers are being flown in to disease-ridden, locked-down, Brexit Britain to pick fruit and vegetables to feed the native population. I doubt there are many smiles among the ‘foreign’ workers propping up the NHS who had to endure much hostility during the Brexit years. Now some are literally dying to save others.

And now we learn that British government still insists it will not go for an extension of the December Brexit deadline. In his Chequers retreat Mr Johnson is evidently still plotting to leave without a deal, while the EU politely signals that Brexit negotiations are not top of anyone else’s list while thousands die daily across Europe.

And talking of power-hungry recluses, it was back to the mysterious The Master with my grandsons this evening, They are going a bit stir crazy, though they do live in a cul-de-sac, so can ride up and down the road safely, and tell me they did 4.8 kilometres today. Of an evening they develop theories about The Master which adds to the enjoyment of the story telling.

I have had a sensation of lassitude all day, not feeling up to much even though I managed a few gardening jobs and made some bread. I suspected that my blood pressure is a bit high too. This turns out to be true when at last I get round to testing it. I am never quite sure what do then. It does go down with exercise, I have found, but when it is high that is the last thing you want to do. 

It doesn’t help listening to the No.10 presser either. Matt Hancock looks like a man drowning; he is having to pay catch-up on all past promises as the media begin at last the properly challenge him and government policies. The public may feel they have be nice to politicians who must try to manage the current crisis (witness surprising Tory standing in the polls) but lives are at stake and it is the media’s responsibility to hold the government’s feet to the fire. Few government spokespeople are perfuming well, and when the most effective challenges seem to be coming from Piers Morgan the rest of media have not been doing that well either.

Desperate to show he cares Hancock has taken to thanking everyone at every turn, personalising stories and has even come up with a new badge logo to identify all care workers and have them held in the same respect as a NHS staffers. He doesn’t see the irony in admitting that the privatisation of care services has made his Care Minister’s job more difficult. Nor does he seem to realise that his belated promise to ensure that residents of care homes, care workers and their families are tested for the virus “when appropriate”, rather misses the point. Since we don’t/can’t know who has or might be carrying the virus EVERYONE needs to be tested (you know, Mr Heath Secretary, like they are doing elsewhere).

I cheered myself up this evening with a cold repast of curried rice stuffed chicken and salad. watching The Boys and Girls from County Clare or The Great Ceili War with Colm Meaney (who I had never forgotten from his early days with the Half MoonTheatre which I chaired back in the1970s) and Bernard Hill from Boys from the Blackstuff.  It’s a something and nothing, full of the usual cliches, but a harmless enough diversion. 

Whatever, it was certainly an easier watch than the science fiction drama I saw last night. Award winning Primer was the first film directed by Shane Carruth a former software engineer. It tells of two geeks who accidentally discover how to turn back time (don’t ask) and come unstuck in the process (surely not). The shape, style and dialogue of the film is (perhaps deliberately ) confusing so the viewer is never quite sure which time sequence is playing out. They say it’s best to watch it a couple, of times, but I have other things to do.  Nice idea for a film, though.

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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