13 December 2020

What an uninspiring week – cold, wet, grey, freezing, foggy, misty . . . glimpses of the sun few and far between.

And the “news” is equally uninspiring. Who could have imagined that the Tories would give us both World-Beating incompetence in dealing with Covid and the economic calamity that is Brexit? At the same time.

So far, the new bike is proving its worth in the damp, gloomy weather. It provides a daily dose of sunshine and fabulous scenery as we cycle around Turkey, Norway and the Pacific Northwest.  This week Penny found herself riding a trail in my sister Sallie’s home town of Park City, Utah. Who would have imagined? With the mileage I’m totting up I’m finally on the last stage of my virtual Land’s End to John o’ Groats expedition. Hope to finish by Christmas. Hooray!

In the run-up to Christmas we continue our valuable contributions to the happiness and well-being of the village. Our house seems to have become the “go to” place for delivery drivers to solicite the location of the appropriate household to which they can deliver their parcel(s).

Clearly, more and more people are shopping online, especially in the run-up to Christmas. One particular courier service gets very poor reviews when it comes to delivering to our village. But, I have enormous sympathy for the poor guys trying to get the parcels to their destinations. Firstly, they hardly speak any English, not that that would help them in some instances.

Secondly, our village has very few house numbers – most everywhere is known by the name of the house. So, to an outsider/stranger attempting to deliver parcels, there is no logical way to work out which house is which. In addition, sometimes the firm dispatching the parcels provides woefully inadequate information.

Most evenings we can look forward to a hammering on the front door followed by three or four urgent presses of the doorbell. Upon answering the door we encounter a familiar Eastern European courier whose command of English consists of a few phrases – “Help, please” and “Thank you.” He will thrust a parcel into my hands and I look at the address label in an attempt to identify its ultimate destination. Some of the time I know the name(s) of the recipient, sometimes I know the name of the house/cottage. It gets a bit more challenging if the address information is incomplete, i.e., the firstname of the recipient (no surname) and an incomplete address, i.e., Upper Green or Canons Ashby Road with no housename.

So far, with Penny’s assistance, we have been able to identify the appropriate recipients although once we did have to “phone a friend.” Then, we have to try to explain to the non-English speaking courier how to find the house. Sometimes, if it’s one of our immediate neighbours, we can just point. If it’s a bit further afield, however, there are a lot of hand signals and general gesticulations. Oh well, we do our best and I guess most folks end up receiving their parcels eventually.

More from the You Couldn’t Make it Up Department this week

Hoping to improve its World-Beating position in the Covid Deaths per Population standings, the government seems to be going all out in the run up to Christmas. There doesn’t seem to be any shitstorm that they can’t make worse. They’ve already announced five days of reduced restrictions over Christmas because, of course, Covid respects all major holidays. Now they are putting all their eggs in the Operation Moonshot basket as a means of curbing the inevitable post-Christmas surge. I guess why wouldn’t you – nothing else they’ve done has worked. Too little, too late.  

Operation Moonshot, for our non-UK reader, is mass testing using “lateral flow” techniques. Results in 30 minutes. We can use it to test visitors to care homes and students coming home for Christmas. What could go wrong? About 50% of the results as it happens. Not fit for “test and release” strategy, say the scientists but that is exactly how the government is using them.

In Brexit news, we’re (apparently, at the time of writing) on the verge of crashing out of Europe following the final, final, final, very definitely final negotiations.

There may be a deal pulled out of the hat by Sunday which is the final, final, final, very definitely final deadline for reaching an agreement. It may be that the Prime Minister’s announcement that a No Deal outcome is looking increasingly likely (on Thursday) is all part of his negotiating bluff. It’s worth reminding ourselves, though, of the nonsense these twats have spewed forth before and since the referendum in 2016.

The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want.

Michael Gove, April 2016

There will continue to be free trade and access to the single market.

Boris Johnson, the Telegraph, 26 June 2016

Getting out of the EU can be quick and easy – the UK holds most of the cards

John Redwood, July 2016

It is like threading the eye of a needle. If you have a good eye and a steady hand, it is easy enough

David Davis, December 2016, dismissing fears a Brexit deal might be difficult

Within 2 years, before negotiation with the EU is likely to be complete, & therefore before anything material has changed, we can negotiate a free trade area massively larger than the EU. The new trade agreements will come into force at point of exit.

David Davis, July 2016

I believe that we can get a free trade and customs agreement concluded before March 2019.

David Davis, January 2017

Thick as mince and lazy as a toad and vain as Narcissus!

Dominic Cummings’ assessment of David Davis

It will be easy to negotiate a trade deal

Paul Nutall, UKIP leader, Jan 2017

Trade relations with the EU could be sorted out in ‘an afternoon over a cup of coffee.’

Gerard Batten, UKIP Brexit spokesman, February 2017

Coming to a free trade agreement with the EU should be one of the easiest in human history

Liam Fox, July 2017

There is no plan for no deal because we are going to get a great deal.

Boris Johnson, July 2017

We’ve got an oven-ready deal for Brexit.

Boris Johnson

A deluded sense of their own self-importance and competence. This crowd is depriving a number of otherwise fine villages of their own idiot.

Four years and there is the distinct possibility that we will crash out without a deal doing untold damage to an economy already ravaged by Covid. Nope, you could not make it up.

I ran across this somewhere, probably Facebook.

And finally we have this week’s Christmas-themed photos of the granddaughters.

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,



One thought on “13 December 2020”

  1. Operation Moonshot? Operation Warp Speed? Have ten year old boys been recruited to government PR departments?

    Nothing wrong with baked beans, the basis of a good British diet – in the ’50s – and sardines, although the possibility of a fish war may take even those off the table.

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