31 October 2021

Well, it’s been a week – doesn’t time fly when you are enjoying yourselves. We’ve been busier than a one-armed paper hanger, it seems, even though we’re both retired and at least one of us (i.e., me) makes every effort to do as little as possible.

We were out to dinner with our lovely neighbours on Thursday – Bertie’s parents had us round for a lovely curry as a “thank you” for having provided bed and breakfast for him during their recent outing to Malta. Of course, no thanks were required as we enjoy having him but it was very sweet of them, and delicious.

Friday evening was one of our “Not a Pub Night” pub nights at another neighbour’s home. Always lovely to see every one and to have a catch up with the great advantage that it’s only a two-minute walk home. Sometimes, though, it takes a bit longer as we find ourselves weaving our way from one side of the road to the other.

Saturday was the Moreton Pinkney Garden Club annual dinner catered by Websters from down the road in Sulgrave. The dinner was to have been held in the Village Hall but tickets moved very slowly and it seems that many folks were concerned about the UK’s world-beating Covid numbers. So, the decision was eventually taken to have the meal delivered to folks’ homes as we did last year rather than gather en masse and more people signed up. In consultation with our immediate neighbours, we decided to host a small gathering at our home but we still Zoomed with the rest of the village before and after the meal. Good fun even if Websters did underwhelm once again. To add insult to injury, when we came to unpack the parcels which arrived at our house we discovered that we had both been provided with the vegetarian option – a quorn and spinach roulade. As I had ordered the chicken wrapped in bacon stuffed with sundried tomatoes and freshly picked herbs I was naturally somewhat disappointed. Even so, I guess someone else in the village who had ordered the vegetarian option received my chicken instead which they probably weren’t able to eat. Still, even if it’s not the most fabulous meal we’ve ever had at least there was no cooking involved.

And, of course, to add to all that excitement, the builder started installing our new windows and doors this week. Or, at least, he installed the windows. It turns out that no one was available to do any work on Monday, Thursday or Friday so only the windows got installed in the two days they were here. They’ll start on the doors next week but we’ve already been told that there will be no one here on Tuesday or Wednesday. At this rate we should be all sorted by the New Year.

And the other big news of the week – both Penelope and I have been boosted. Being the older of the two of us, I received a text alerting me to the fact that I could now book my booster jab it having been six months and a week since the second of my original jabs. So, I booked to go to Green’s Norton just down the road from us on Saturday morning. As it happens, at our Not a Pub Night on Friday one of the neighbours said that when he took his elderly cousin to have his booster, they asked him if he wanted his too. So, forearmed with that information Ms Playchute came along with me and indeed they did her at the same time. Very satisfactory, thank you very much.

There’s only one entry in the You Could Not Make It Up department this week. During the week there was uproar when the government whipped its MPs to vote against an amendment to an Environment Bill going through Parliament. The House of Lords had passed an amendment which would make it illegal for the privatised water companies to discharge untreated sewerage into the rivers or seas. It turns out that they have happily been doing just that for months and years, mainly because to upgrade the water infrastructure would cost billions. It’s clearly much more important that the billions in profits they generate each year should go to their shareholders rather than to pay for the maintenance of the water and sewerage infrastructure. So, 220 or so Conservative MPs happily trotted through the lobby voting to reject the amendment in spite of the loony Brexiteers claiming that environmental standards would be enhanced after Brexit as we would be free of all the EU regulations. Hey ho, just another lie in the long list of falsehoods told in the name of Brexit.

Apparently, there was so much backlash from across the political spectrum that the government has had to perform another U-turn. They are proposing to introduce their own amendment to compel the water companies to cease spewing raw sewerage into our waterways over the next ten years or so. So, that’s all right then! As I think I wrote before, it’s clear that Brexit means now that we’ve taken back control, we’re free to swim in our own effluent. Marvellous.

Cold War Steve had another splendid piece which sums the situation up nicely.

The other contender for the You Could Not Make It Up award this week was one particularly loony (and dim) Conservative MP who claimed that they did not need to wear masks in the crowded and poorly ventilated House of Commons because they all know one another. Because, as we know, Covid only gets passed on from one stranger to another.

You can’t fault the government, however, for failing to give valuable and coherent advice to folks on how to keep safe over Halloween and Bonfire Night. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) tweeted out its guidance for avoiding Covid during the colder months on Thursday. Its new poster reads: “Meeting friends or family on Bonfire Night? Meeting outdoors is safer. If you meet indoors, let fresh air in.”

I hadn’t really thought about having a Bonfire party indoors but as long as we open some windows it should be fine.

You Could Not Make This Shit Up!

Finally, I ran across this somewhere this week – very appropriate for Ms Playchute and me.

Happy Halloween to you all – keep safe out there.

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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