7 June 2020

Lockdown Week 13. Hard to believe it’s now more than three months since we started isolating ourselves (two or three weeks before the UK government belatedly came round to the idea). Of course, as I’ve said before, I’ve been practising for self-isolation all my life and I’ve found, to my delight, that I’m quite good at it. Penny, on the other hand, longs for some decent company and intellectual discussions – sadly, she’s stuck with me.

It’s been a mixed week – we started with some blisteringly warm weather with bright blue skies and sunshine but since Wednesday we’ve been shivering again as the temperatures have plummeted and the winds have grown increasingly fierce. We even had a dappling of rain on Wednesday and Thursday but we always seem to be just on the cusp between the rainy zone on the weather map and the areas where there’s only a slight chance of the occasional light shower. Ordinarily one wouldn’t complain about not having rain but we are getting increasingly desperate. I understand the Parish Council is contemplating changing the name of the Upper Green to the Upper Brownish Green.

This week we were supposed to have been on holiday with Ben, Brex-Anna and Max. Sunday to Wednesday would have been Bruges and Wednesday to Saturday should have been Amsterdam. We had all the accommodation booked and I had worked out a splendid schedule which would have enabled us to do the whole journey by rail. What fun! Perhaps next year?

This week’s National Theatre at Home presentation is Coriolanus with Tom Hiddleston. We’ve not watched it yet but hope to catch it before it disappears on Thursday. It’s one of the relatively few Shakespeare’s I’ve not seen (I think, but how would I know?). Their next At Home production is The Madness of King George III streaming on their YouTube channel from this coming Thursday for a week. We saw it as an NT Live presentation in the cinema and it is fabulous. Don’t miss it.

We did watch The Globe production of The Merry Wives of Windsor earlier this week which was outstanding. It’s only available for a fortnight so catch it before it disappears if you can. Very funny.

Penny spotted that The Wiz will be available free online from 7pm BST on Friday 12 June. It’s only going to be available for 48 hours so set yourself a reminder. It’s worth keeping an eye on the What’s On Stage website as they produce a list of various online streaming opportunities.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on the National Garden Scheme website – they continue to post new videos of gardens each week, some of which are absolute gems.

In the real world, more from the “You couldn’t make it up” department. The mandatory quarantine for visitors arriving in to the UK will start tomorrow and the government has added a bit of flesh to the bare bones of the policy, continuing their tradition of making it up as they go along.

The latest flesh is that, although they will have to quarantine for fourteen days, new arrivals to the UK will be able to go shopping for food, change their accommodation and use public transport during their quarantine.

In other words, this is the new “Dominic Cummings” version of self-isolation. You must self-isolate but, by all means, feel free to go out, use public transport and go to whatever house, home or hotel you fancy. What is the point?

The scientists don’t agree with this plan nor does business, the airline industry, the tourist industry or just about anyone else. One of the scientists on the advisory committee even pointedly remarked that quarantines of this sort were only effective when travellers were coming into the UK from areas with high transmission rates, i.e., the conditions that existed at the beginning of the pandemic in the UK.

According to the Home Secretary, she couldn’t introduce a similar quarantine at the beginning of the pandemic because there were too many people arriving! And, Britons who were abroad at the time would not be able to return. She is, by general consensus, not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

In any event, if you want to visit the UK this summer and avoid the quarantine, fly to Dublin, travel by coach to Belfast (no border checks between the Republic and Northern Ireland) and fly into mainland Britain from there. Hey, presto – no quarantine necessary.

In other “news” things continue to go from bad to worse

We had the absurd spectacle of Boris announcing at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday that he was now taking full control of the government’s response to the Pandemic. This prompted the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, to ask if he was only now taking control, who had been in charge before? To which Boris kind of lost the plot – he had, of course!

You can’t make this stuff up.

And finally, this from Tim Whyatt made me chuckle.

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating and keep safe.

Lots of love to you all,

Greg

 

 

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