18 October 2020

We’re back! After a fabulously refreshing four days in Dorset. The weather was simply gorgeous, the cottage in which we were staying was outstanding and in a most extraordinarily idyllic setting just at the foot of Golden Cap and Dorset was gorgeous in the sunshine.

As we are only just back you will have to wait until next week for the detailed description and the twenty-four thousand of the least bad photographs. In the meanwhile, there is just enough time to bring you a few snippets from the extraordinarily busy “You Couldn’t Make It Up” Department.

The Number is 3!

The Prime Minister announced his latest plan to curb the coronavirus pandemic on Monday. It seems we have a new plan almost every day as nothing the government does seems to have any significant effect. The new plan is to have three levels of alert in local areas – Level 1 = Bad, Level 2 = Very Bad and Level 3 = F***ing Awful.

This new arrangement of three tiers (in which we find ourselves at Level 1 – Bad) comes into effect three weeks after the SAGE Committee (the scientific advisers) recommended a three week “circuit break” – a more or less complete national lockdown. Naturally, the government ignored the scientific advice and has continued to muddle on achieving little. 19 out of 20 areas which have been subjected to “local lockdowns” have seen the infection rate continue to increase rather than decrease. So, what shall we do about that? More of the same, please.

The government’s inactions remind me of that old definition of insanity – trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It ain’t working. I am guessing we will have the full lockdown circuit break in about another three weeks meaning once again the government will have acted too little and too late. You couldn’t make it up.

One of the undoubted factors in the spread of the infection is folks continuing to go out and socialising in pubs and restaurants. The new three tier system has sorted that out – pubs and restaurants “can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant.”

Not surprisingly, there have been some interesting interpretations of the new rules:

When asked if a Cornish pasty qualified as a substantial meal, the Housing Minister replied that it could, but only if it was served with chips. Honestly, you could not make it up.

And finally, another item from the Brexit division of the YCNMIU department. The gift that keeps on giving.

Apparently, the transition to the UK leaving the EU at the end of the year will be utterly seamless but the government continues to make contingency plans. They have already announced new lorry parks to accommodate the thousands of lorries which will be stalled on the UK side of the border once the UK crashes out without a trade deal with our largest trading block. They’ve also already announced new internal borders between Kent and the rest of the UK and Northern Ireland and the mainland.

Now, in an effort to “minimise disruption” for the lorry drivers, they have secured agreement to install portable toilets on roads in Kent and elsewhere.

We have detailed plans that we’ve worked up for provision of not only Portaloos but other facilities for drivers, and not only in Kent, should it be necessary, should there be stationary traffic, but also in a range of other areas throughout the country, because we really want to minimise the impact on those drivers who are already working really hard.

Rachel Maclean, parliamentary undersecretary of state in the Department for Transport

So, Kent, once known as the “Garden of England” is from henceforth to be known as the Toilet of England.

And finally, finally, a friend of a friend shared this on Facebook the other day. For our non-UK readers, one sees notices of this sort on the London Underground notifying passengers of any service issues on the various underground lines. I would like to think this was real but I suspect not. Still, the sentiments I agree with wholeheartedly!

And finally, finally, finally a very Happy Birthday to this young lady – nine years old today! Where has the time gone?

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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