DAY 84: Fri 5 June

Sad film in the morning, and another one at night.

I did not make it to Chernobyl last night (though I did actually get near to it once, on the Belorussian side). I discovered that the snowy white Canadian noir Cardinal was available to  binge, I had only seen one episode last Saturday night, so I got though the lot before going to bed. Will I never learn?

That may explain why I was late up this morning, and delayed in the bedroom by Grant Shapps, Sadiq Khan and Tony Blair (can you imagine?). Shapps was all blather as he could not answer pointed questions about his government’s ineptitude, on Radio 4’s Today. Blair, as usual, was full of intelligent advice though he almost seemed to be calling for a national government based on merit. But maybe my head was not clear. Very dry mouth and still the ache around my right eye.

The chickens were being surprisingly patient, especially as the door to their hutch had closed somehow, and two of them had laid their eggs on the ground. They were soon out and gorging themselves on layers’ pellets while I helped myself to my first cherry of the year, a bright red but bitter little thing. At least the sparkly paper strips seems to be keeping the birds away from the fruit (or perhaps they know the red ones aren’t quite ripe yet!) \

Somewhat listless again today, my eye still aching. Had got up to do some weeding, but the weather is not promising – windy and colder than it’s been for weeks. I watched Our Boys, a harrowing documentary about the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas, told by their settler parents. The revenge killing of a Palestinian boy by Israeli youths got short shrift, and the programme ended somewhat oddly with Howard Jacobson talking about the constant recurrence of anti-Semitism.

I actually manage to finish reviewing more from my academic friend, and ordered timber for the new chicken run and arranged its collection tomorrow. And I actually got through to someone at Virgin Media to find out why they were still charging the MediaWise Trust for a service we cancelled last November. It turns out they had ignored our decision because a phone call got cut off. But they were good enough to say they will reimburse 3 months worth of direct debits they had continued to deduct. 

Is anyone really listening to Health Secretary Hancock any more? He seems to think we hang on his every word. He turned up at the No 10 briefing all on his ownsome. Perhaps the scientists don’t want to be seen with him  anymore. Face masks on public transport is his latest proposal (but not for another week!) How come it’s suddenly a good idea, when it wasn’t weeks back? It’s a bit like the quarantine for travellers arriving at airports after 15 June. If that is an effective prevention technique, why hasn’t lt been in operation for the last three months? The ‘official’ Covid19 death tally hit 40,000 today, but Hancock would not be drawn on the suggestion it was an admission of the government’s ineptitude. And despite the carefully prepared  list of questioners he managed to get ITV’s Shehab Khan’s name wrong. And then he wonders why people might take his support for Black Lives Matter with a pinch of salt.

When the wind dropped and the sun eventually came out in the early evening I did some much needed weeding in the vegetable patch. No sign of any French beans coming up, or onions, but more tomatoes have sprung where they had not been expected. Swiss Chard is coming on well as is the beetroot and  kohl rabi. And I was able to pick lettuce and rocket and coriander and radishes for my evening salad.

I made some more bread and for supper baked a sea bass fillet with lime and basil to go with my salad, leaving room for fruit crumble and custard. A summery first course and an autumn dessert as befits the weather. And as the weekend starts here I opened bottle of Moldovan white to go with.

My intention was to settle down with Chernobyl, but baulked at the idea of paying extra to watch it, and settled for a poignant father/son drama I know you know with Robert Carlyle. lt was a study in madness where the child is more aware of reality than the adult. Though made in 2008 it really had the feel of the 1980s in which it was set, indeed the colours and lighting could have been from an earlier era. It was produced by Sally Hibbin, one of our contributors on East End News back the 1980s, who went on to produce many film with Ken Loach.

Enough for today. I keep sneezing and have a feeling I may be going down with a cold. I am looking forward to bed.

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