27 September 2020

Well, that was nice while it lasted. The Indian Summer, I mean. I had been hoping for a prolonged affair – perhaps two or three months but I guess that’s just being greedy. But something longer than two or three days would have been nice. As it is we’ve had an Arctic Plume over the UK for the latter part of this week and, while it’s not exactly freezing, it is certainly feeling very autumnal. Would it be too much to ask for another couple of weeks in October?

We had a great time at the weekend – we went kite flying with Adam and Jessie and then, a few days later, with Nick, Lucy and Annabelle. Good fun and all in a socially distanced and socially responsible manner.

Earlier in the week I had seen an advertisement for a kite in the shape of a Pterodactyl and it required no thought on my part to order one for Jessie. Like many three and four year olds, she is absolutely mad about dinosaurs and knows the names and distinguishing features of about fifty or sixty. I didn’t know there were fifty or sixty different types of dinosaurs!

We went over after she finished school on Friday, opened the parcel and starting putting the kite together. As we finished I asked her what she thought it was. “It’s a pterodactyl,” she replied, as if Grandpa was about as stupid as it is possible to get. At least she didn’t add, “you moron” but it was clear she was astonished that someone might not be able to identify a kite in the shape and colouring of a pterodactyl.

We went out to a park about a five minute walk from where they live and set about attempting to set the pterodactyl free. Although it was plenty windy, the park is surrounded by tall trees and it was a job to get the kite up above the treeline. Jessie was just on the verge of losing interest when we did finally get it up and she had great fun keeping her pterodactyl on its lead.

We had so much fun that we decided to see if Nick, Lucy and Annabelle were up for a similar adventure on Sunday. They thought that was a great idea so we met up at Burton Dassett Hills for coffee, cake and some kite flying. Again, it was decidedly windy and there were no trees to provide any cover so away we went – soaring and diving and looping and, inevitably, crashing into the ground. Again, great fun.

We’ve had a few excellent bike rides and a magnificent, new (to us) walk during the fine, autumnal weather. We drove to Weston (just a couple of miles away) and trekked across the fields in a gentle loop. We’ve ridden around here quite a few times but had never done this particular walk and it was glorious. Bright and sunny with splendid views across the countryside. As we marched up towards Weeden Lois we ran across some medieval fish ponds which have been resurrected and converted into modern fish ponds with a handful of fisher folk sitting patiently with their thermos flasks, hoping to land a whopper.

The only mistake I made was setting out too early. We were finished by about 11.00 – had I delayed our expedition for another hour or so we could have had lunch at The Crown in Weston. Oh well, that’s a plan for another day.

And so, to the “You Could Not Make It Up” department. As usual, so many WTF moments to choose from.

We had the spectacle of the Prime Minister announcing enhanced Covid restrictions as, once again, the government has been caught on the back foot, somehow not realising that the second surge occurring all over Europe and elsewhere was going to be arriving in the UK soon. Who knew that children going back to school, students going back to university and increasing numbers of workers going back to their workplaces might also contribute to a spread of the virus?

Bizarrely, at one point he claimed that the failing Test and Trace system had “very little or nothing to do with the spread and transmission” of the virus. Holy cow! I thought that was the whole point – to get those with symptoms tested and then to quickly contact those they had been in close approximation with so that they could self-isolate and stop the spread of the virus. You will no doubt be surprised to know that the system was launched, at great expense and great fanfare, in May with the promise that it would “help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

Perhaps what will stick in the throat of many of his critics was the suggestion that the new curbs would succeed because “we have succeeded before”, as if having one of the world’s worst death tolls from Covid was somehow a footnote rather than a damning indictment of his government.

Paul Waugh, Huffington Post

Thankfully, the Prime Minister announced the one measure which will be sure to halt the spread of the virus in its tracks – pubs, bars and restaurants will now have to close by 10pm. Because, as all good scientists know, the coronavirus doesn’t infect anyone before 10pm.

But that’s not even the best WTF moment from this week. And, once again, it’s Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving, that takes the biscuit this week.

One of the mantras of the Brexiteers is that the UK can now “take back control,” especially of its borders. What I guess most folks hadn’t realised was that that really meant we would erect new borders within the UK! We’ve already seen how the Withdrawal Agreement which Boris negotiated, signed and rammed through Parliament (and now wishes to break) has effectively established a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Now we have confirmation that there will also be a border between the county of Kent and the rest of the UK.

With the UK finally leaving the EU in less than 100 days, the government has finally decided that lorries travelling to Dover and the other Channel Island ports will have to secure a Kent Access Pass before they will be allowed to enter the county. So much for all that red tape Brexit was going to eliminate. Only the UK it seems could implement a system which replaces one with no red tape to one which requires more documentation simply to enter an English county, as well as new customs forms and declarations.

Thankfully, Twitter has had fun with it.

And finally, did you see the story about how an old television in a Welsh village brought down the village’s broadband every morning?

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating as much as you can, wear a facemask when you go out and keep your distance. And keep safe.

Lots of love to you all,

Greg

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