8 August 2021

A good week on the whole. Some reasonably decent weather to begin but the weekend brought another batch of wind and rain interspersed with the occasional sunny spell. Hey ho, it’s what an English summer is all about.

I continue to be astonished by the attitude of the general public with regards to mask wearing. I went to the Co-op in Woodford Halse the other day to fetch a few items for Lady Penelope. There were, I guess, about a dozen shoppers in the market, all men apart from one elderly woman. The staff were all wearing masks, of course, but only three of the dozen or so shoppers were so adorned. Myself, the elderly woman and a young, heavily tattooed young man pushing an infant in a push chair. All the other customers, mainly although not exclusively young, were mask less. I just don’t understand the arrogance and contempt for others which their actions demonstrate. After all, the staff are doing their best to keep shoppers safe yet those same shoppers, apparently, don’t give a toss about either the staff or the other customers.

And the “blame” lies squarely at the feet of our idiot Prime Minister and his blessed, irreversible Freedom Day. What a twat! He “recommends” that people wear face masks but removes the legal compulsion for them to do so leading to precisely what I witnessed in the Co-op. I know that enforcement was never particularly strict but the legal requirement was there and most of those mask less shoppers would have been wearing a mask in the past.

And, it’s such an easy restriction to maintain and, along with social distancing, one of the most effective. Indeed, each of the other home nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have retained the requirement to wear masks in shops, pubs, restaurants and on public transport. It’s one of the reasons why far eastern countries have much lower death rates from Covid – they have a social acceptance of mask wearing in general.

Speaking of which, the UK has slipped out of the medals in the Covid death rate per population contest – we’re no longer completely world-beating having been pipped into fourth place. Brazil currently holds the gold medal position followed by Colombia and then Argentina. The UK is currently fourth, just missing the podium but there’s lots of time to catch up with our current government’s incompetence.

We’ve had the first of what will undoubtedly be a plethora of reports on the government’s incompetent handling of the pandemic. Boris has kicked the main enquiry into the long grass, hoping that it won’t be able to complete its investigation and publish its report before he can call another General Election. It’s not due to even start before 2022.

This one, however, was compiled by the Institute for Government, an independent think tank whose aim is to “make government better.” A tall order given this government’s attitude towards learning from their mistakes.

The report concentrates on the impact of the pandemic and, most importantly, how the government’s handling of the crisis impacted on children and young people’s education. And, it probably couldn’t be any more damning. I particularly liked the comment that, “Boris Johnson’s attempt to “bluff” his way through the Covid pandemic left the government without any contingency plans for school closures or the scrapping of exams.” Bluff and bluster, that’s all he has.

The Institute for Government (IfG) think tank said the “single biggest issue” for education had been the failure in the summer of 2020 to learn from previous errors and to prepare for further waves of the virus.

Its report claimed the prime minister deliberately ordered officials not to draft fall-back plans, a blunder that later led to GCSEs and A-levels being cancelled just months before they were due to take pace.

The IfG said the government’s “refusal” to carry out vital contingency planning was the “most unforgivable” aspect of its handling of the pandemic for schools.

The think tank laid the blame at the door of both Johnson and education secretary Gavin Williamson, whose pandemic response was characterised by a “wild optimism”.

Huffpost

You will be amazed to learn that a government spokesman said the government “acted swiftly at every turn to minimise the impact on children’s education and wellbeing and help keep pupils in face-to-face education as much as possible.” I know who I believe.

A few photos of a few of this week’s flowers.

Another busy week coming up – we’ve got a group of friends coming for lunch on Monday. I’m hoping the weather will be kind as Sandy’s barbequed salmon with pesto is the main course on the menu. Then on Tuesday we’re off on another Garden Club outing, this time to a place called Pettifers, a garden in the nearby village of Wardington. Apparently/allegedly it is one of the “most influential gardens in England”. Again, I hope the weather is fine although I doubt my photos will be any match for the following “borrowed” from their web site.

And then on Saturday, assuming again that the weather is fair, we’re off with Adam, Ava and Jessie to an art, craft and design fair at Lamport Hall just the other side of Northampton. The company for which Adam works has designed their new web site and he received a clutch of free tickets so we thought, “Why not?”

And finally, I guess you’ve all heard the news – I wasn’t going to mention it until they did – but if you are Facebook friends with Ava you’ll know already. She is expecting our fourth grandchild due, apparently, on Valentine’s Day next year.

Isn’t life wonderful?

And finally, finally, a happy birthday to my youngest sister Sarah who turns 60 (!) tomorrow. It also happens to be the birthday of my great niece Azalea who turns 9. Happy birthday to the pair of them.

And finally, finally, finally how about this photo of Jessie and one of her sunflowers!

I remember my younger sister Susie growing a similarly gigantic sunflower once upon a time. I believe the photo even made the local newspaper.

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating as much as you can, wear a f**king facemask when you go out and keep your distance. And keep safe.

Lots of love to you all,

Greg

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