28 March 2021

Another mixed week – on the chilly and windy side much of the time, a smattering of rain from time to time as well as some sunny spells hinting at warmer days to come. Now that we’ve passed the equinox, the daylight hours are beginning to stretch the day out and the birds are more active and vocal than ever. A neighbour shared this on the village Facebook page:

For the second year running she has managed to persuade a robin to nest in the basket on her bicycle meaning, of course, that she can’t go cycling!

All of this, of course, has meant more gardening for Ms Playchute with some (reluctant) assistance from me on an ad hoc and very occasional basis. She will be delighted with the “extra hour” we get from moving on to daylight savings time. Me, not so much.

Last Saturday evening we enjoyed our Moreton Pinkney Garden Club Spring Supper which was a great success. Like the Autumn Supper and the Burns’ Night dinners, this was another “virtual” gathering catered for by Webster’s down the road in Sulgrave. Our meals arrived mid-afternoon with appropriate instructions for warming/cooking. We all gathered via Zoom to wish each other a pleasant Spring Equinox and then retired to our various repasts. As last time, we Facetimed with another friend in the village over dinner and it was almost like having a proper dinner guest.

The meal was OK – nothing to write home about except that it came ready-made and therefore there was little effort on Ms Playchute’s part (and certainly no effort whatsoever on mine). After various “comments” about the quality of the vegetarian options on previous occasions, this time I am assured that it was much better. All in all a pleasant evening.

Penelope and I watched a very pleasant, sweet little film the other evening – The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. It’s based on a true story about a young boy in Malawi (William Kamkwamba) who, in spite of his deprived and impoverished background, was a bit of a boffin. He attended school for a time (until his family could no longer afford the fees) and developed an interest and enthusiasm for science and for electricity in particular. When the country suffers a drought and a famine ensues, he constructs a wind mill using bits of scrap, a couple of car batteries, a bicycle dynamo and his father’s deconstructed bike and manages to pump water from the village well into the fields.

William Kamkwamba’s original windmill.

I don’t imagine it’s going to win any Oscars but it’s an uplifting film with folks overcoming unimaginable hardship. The IMDB says it’s currently being streamed on Netflix and that may be so. It’s not, however, available on Netflix in the UK, probably because it was partly financed and broadcast on the BBC so those of you in the UK should be able to get it on iPlayer. Outside the UK you “may” find it on Netflix and, if so, it’s worth a quiet night in.

I ran across the following on Facebook the other day – a trailer for Red Nose Day “advertising” an upcoming film of the year 2020! For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Red Nose Day/Comic Relief is a biennial charity fundraising event which raises money for domestic and international causes.

Now that’s a movie that would be worth watching! Although Red Nose Day was a few weeks ago, if you feel so inclined you can still donate at the Red Nose website.

It’s good to know that corruption is not only endemic amongst the current UK government but is also alive and well with former Conservative Prime Ministers.

David Cameron, the hapless sap who gave us the Brexit referendum, announced he would be staying to implement Brexit and then resigned a day or two later to spend more time with his money, is under investigation for lobbying the government on behalf of a company for whom he “worked” as a consultant. Cameron lobbied for the company to be given access to government-guaranteed Covid loans to stave off its impending failure. Sadly, the company was not eligible for the loans and subsequently collapsed, along with Cameron’s “significant” share options.

I am sure poor Dave will manage to scrape by on his modest fortune but it is ironic that it is he in the frame – one of his last actions as Prime Minister was to warn that future corruption scandals amongst politicians (following the considerable number of MPs caught out over illegal expenses claims) would come from unlicensed and unregistered lobbyists, i.e., exactly what he’s done.

Brexit continues to generate all the right sort of news. This week – a British sausage maker is no longer able to use UK pork because of the new Brexit arrangements.

And here’s why – a graphic from an impact report on the effects of Brexit on the British Meat Processors Association.

You really could not make it up.

And finally, this

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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