18 July 2021

Oh, my goodness, what a glorious weekend. Bright blue cloudless skies, unrelenting sunshine (we’d almost forgotten what that feels like) and hot (well, at least for us in the UK – top temperatures allegedly creeping towards 30o C – 86o F in old money). Not sure how long it’s set to continue but we’ll gladly take what we can.

We hosted a Not a Pub Night for our immediate neighbours on Friday evening and it was good fun. I’ve written about these “Pub Nights” before – when the Four Candles closed its doors (more than two years now, I guess) our immediate neighbours organised an occasional gathering in each other’s homes for some drinks and nibbles and a good chinwag – just the sort of thing one might occasionally enjoy in one’s local pub. When the pandemic arrived, the occasion morphed into a socially distanced gathering in each other’s gardens. What we thought would be a short, temporary alternative to the pub has turned into a fairly regular and much welcomed social gathering and Friday evening was no exception. The weather was stunning, Penelope’s refried beans dip was a sensation, the garden was looking grand with its recently mowed lawns and immaculately trimmed edges and it was a splendidly splendid occasion.

And, speaking as we were of Lady Penelope’s garden, the wildflowers strategically planted in each of the triangular vegetable beds have begun to flower.

Greg’s Adventures on a Bike continue apace. Since leaving Chicago I have been belting along, stopping only occasionally to take in one or two of the wackier sites along the way. This week has seen me pedalling through Wilmington, Illinois site of the Gemini Giant and the Launching Pad Restaurant. Just a bit further along we came to Pontiac which is the site of the Route 66 Hall of Fame (too many folks do this Route 66 cycling lark for real so no room for a plaque of me on the wall). Finally, this week we also passed through Atlanta, Illinois which is, of course, the site of one of apparently many Muffler Man statues. Quite why this particular Muffler Man is holding a giant hot dog I’m not sure but I imagine it was to advertise some undoubtedly delicious hot dogs.

We’re gearing up for Freedom Day! Hooray! The Prime Minister has decided that Covid is just a fantasy after all – why else would he decide to abandon all restrictions from tomorrow?

As Anna Soubury, a former Conservative MP tweeted:

We are world beating when it comes to the most new #COVID19 cases. The only thing about to be set free next Monday is the corona virus.

Stop Press: The figures above are for last Wednesday. Yesterday there were 54,674 confirmed new cases.

Boris has made so many disastrous decisions when it comes to dealing with the Pandemic that I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised that he has decided to make this gigantic one. From locking down too late in the early stages, to unlocking too early after the first wave, from telling everyone he was proud to have been shaking hands with everyone on a Covid ward, from telling everyone that everything would be all right by Christmas and then changing his mind three days before, sending children back to school for one day in January, allowing the Delta variant to run riot throughout the country after failing to add India to the Red List because he was hoping to travel there for a photo op, etc., etc. Seriously, you could not make this shit up.

Having declared that he would be guided by the data and not arbitrary dates in relaxing the restrictions, he’s now decided that it’s more important to stick to the arbitrary date he pulled out of a hat a few months ago. After constantly repeating the mantra that he would be guided by the science he no longer makes much of a pretext of even pretending that the science supports his decision. Indeed, members of the SAGE group of scientists advising the government insisted that the minutes of their latest meeting be published so that Joe Public could see for themselves that what the Prime Minister is doing is his own responsibility.

a Sage scientist warned the current wave risks being the longest yet, with “eye-watering” hospitalisations and deaths possible before the end of the year despite the vaccine rollout.

Most egregiously, he is telling folks that they no longer need to wear a mask – anywhere – and he is abandoning social distancing regulations altogether. All this with more than 50,000 new cases every day. When just about everyone apart from the looney libertarians told him he was crazy he modified his advice – people would be “expected” to wear masks in certain circumstances, especially on public transport. Seriously? If you “expect” people to wear masks how about retaining the legislation which compels them to do so? In Borisworld it’s much better to abandon all pretence of trying to control the virus (and its impact on the over-stretched NHS) and instead tell people it’s all down to their personal responsibility. (Funny how Boris never exercises personal responsibility of his own but is happy to tell everyone else to do so). Now, when the number of cases, hospital admissions and deaths go through the roof it will be “our” fault.

And, as we mentioned last week, internationally scientists are shocked and alarmed by the government’s plans.

And lest we forget the daily delight that is the Brexit debacle, this week David Frost, the negotiator of the Northern Ireland Protocol, says he now understands why businesses are abandoning trade with Northern Ireland because his Brexit agreement has made it “too much trouble” to carry on.

[He] admitted he had not fully foreseen the “chilling effect” of the punishing new red tape, which has left smaller firms facing higher costs.

With leaders like these . . .

Finally, a couple of “cartoons” with a serious note this week, both on the theme of billionaires and the utterly unnecessary nonsense of their wanting to go into space.

And finally, finally splendidly Happy Birthday wishes to Adam and Lisa (for yesterday).

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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