17 January 2021

You will be astonished to hear that things have been pretty quiet this week! What are the chances of that? We’re in the midst of our third lockdown, of course, and therefore we’ve been pretty much confined to quarters apart from the highlight of our weekly routines – delivering medications around the village on Tuesdays and Thursdays! Comme c’est excitant!

To be fair, I simply provide the chauffeuring service while Ms Playchute does the actual delivering. Which is no bad thing. She is much more sociable and affable than I am and the folks to whom she delivers often like to have a short chat. Some of them, of course, probably haven’t seen anyone other than their immediate neighbour for some weeks now so a friendly, engaging socially-distanced conversation with someone “new” is just what they need, (as well as their medication). With Penelope on the customer interface, it’s all part of the service. Mind you, the duration of some of these “short chats” is sufficient for me to catch a quick nap so it’s win, win.

In these isolated times (not to mention the inclement winter weather – rain, mist, snow, fog, sleet) the “new” exercise bike has been put through its paces. I’ve had some great rides. Last week I cycled through the Blue Ridge Mountains in North and South Carolina with George Hindcape on a great series of rides – beautiful scenery. This week I am in the French Alps cycling up some of the iconic climbs in le Tour de France – this weekend it’s been the Col de la Madeleine and next week the Col de la Colombiere awaits. Pretty relentless effort but again stunning scenery. And, of course, I’m riding at a fraction of the pace of the professionals – how do they do it? I found this for you – you too can enjoy a climb up the Col de la Madeleine with me!

The Guardian had a link the other day to some virtual travel experiences. Some are better than others but I thought “A Bird’s Eye View of Norway” was outstanding. It’s quite long – about an hour – so give yourself some time or just dip in and out as I did. Beautiful – we’ll have to make a trip there ourselves sometime when such things are possible again.

And so to the “You Could Not Make It Up” department. Which of the dozens of WTF moments to choose this week?

I guess we might as well start with the news that the government minister responsible for fishing did not bother to read the Brexit agreement which gutted the British fishing industry and, in particular, the Scottish fishing industry. You couldn’t make this up on at least three counts. The most obvious, of course, is that a government minister didn’t even read the Brexit deal before voting to approve it, not even the parts which referred to her specific responsibilities. Secondly, that she actually admitted not reading it when asked during a Parliamentary committee i.e., she told the truth. She was apparently too busy helping to organise the Christmas nativity trail in her village. Thirdly, without a moment’s hesitation, the Prime Minister expressed his full confidence in her abilities as a minister. Having said that, I suppose this is precisely the type of government minister Boris loves – someone who does exactly what he tells them to without any thought.

Not surprisingly, some folks didn’t take such a relaxed attitude toward government ministers who admit not doing their job.

Due to Brexit-induced bureaucracy, Scotland’s fishing communities are already experiencing severe disruption and cannot get their produce to their customers in the EU market on time.

For the Tory government’s fisheries minister to then admit that she did not even bother to read the details of the damaging deal because she was too busy is unbelievable and makes her position untenable.

Philippa Whitford, SNP Brexit spokesperson

This week’s LOL moment came with the news that British drivers travelling to the continent have had their ham sandwiches seized. It turns out that personal imports of meat and dairy products into the EU are banned now that the Brexit transition period has ended. Who knew?

And in more “good” news, a new study by the London School of Economics reckons that exports to the EU (our largest export market pre-Brexit by far) will plunge by more than a third as a result of Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Nope, you really could not make it up.

Finally, Happy Birthday to our Nick on Wednesday which also happens to be the day, of course, on which the new US President will be inaugurated. A double celebration! Let’s hope both occasions pass off peacefully.

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,


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