22 November 2020

Week Two (or is it Three? Doesn’t time fly when you are enjoying yourself) of Lockdown II completed successfully. We’re still on speaking terms with one another (just about) and have spent much of this week together engaged in an outdoor project which, as I said last time, we should have completed during the summer when the weather was perfect for completing outdoor projects! Hey ho. As it is, it was cloudy, windy, cool and occasionally wet during our exertions but we’re making progress. We’ll have photos and a full explanation when the project is complete. At this rate that’s likely to be about June 2022.

I stumbled across an article in the Guardian a week or so ago about two chaps who were fed up with lockdown and so decided to cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats. What a wacky idea! While Nick completed his virtual journey some weeks ago, I am sadly still puffing and panting some ways from the finishing line. If only I had thought of starting at John o’ Groats rather than Land’s End. It’s all downhill from the top of the map to the bottom!

There’s been much discussion in government this week about how to make Christmas “normal” this year. Sadly, there’s not a lot of chance of that happening! As the Prime Minister promised months ago that everything would be back to normal for Christmas, he is desperately hoping that the four-week lockdown (initiated six weeks after the scientists said it was necessary, remember) will bring the R number down sufficiently to allow an “unlocking” for Christmas. It looks, though, as if we won’t even manage the full 12 days of Christmas this year – they are talking about a 5-day relaxation which the scientists reckon will need to be repaid with 25 days’ additional lockdown immediately afterwards. Nope, you could not make it up.

And how about the guy, a Spanish businessman, Gabriel Gonzalez Andersson, who pocketed £21 million pounds of taxpayer’s money by acting as a “go-between” in securing items of PPE. It seems he was hired by a guy named Michael Saiger, a jewellery designer, who set up a new company to provide PPE when the pandemic kicked off. It seems Saiger won contracts from the UK government worth more than £200 million. He then hired Andersson to actually source the PPE, some of which was faulty and/or did not meet the required standards and some of which never arrived at all. Nice work if you can get it.

This video turned up in my inbox the other day. I wrote about our visit to the Antony Gormley exhibition at the Royal Academy back in November. This gives you a little “snapshot” of the exhibition described by Gormley himself. (Sorry, I couldn’t embed the video so click the photo to see the video on the Vimeo site).

A couple of other amusing little titbits lightened my inbox this week. The following, a variation on some similar videos which were doing the rounds earlier in the pandemic – Life After Quarantine.

This, I thought was an excellent idea.

I’m pretty sure it’s true in other households as well – in our household Ms Playchute is almost always cold while I am generally pretty comfortable. To be fair, this is a big, old house and does lose a lot of heat. Still, a placebo thermostat might be the answer – Penny could crank it up to her heart’s content.

Finally, I saw this on Facebook (I think). It was described as a Baby Trebuchet which is a great concept in and of itself. But, I had to admire the simplicity, beauty and engineering. What a great idea.

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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