Wednesday, 1 April 2020

A boy in blue

I walked down the street toward my car this morning and I noticed a bit of a disturbance ahead.

A lone policeman in a small patrol car had stopped in the middle of the road alongside a group of ragged junkies, all of whom I either knew or recognised from their begging outside Waitrose, a few yards away.

The policeman had his window shut, and addressed them through a loudspeaker from behind the glass.

"Go home", he bellowed, and that really put them over the edge of what must have been an extremely stressful 10 days of begging to people who were trying to stockpile huge quantities of expensive food as they were attempting to raise the next few quid for their next fix.

We no longer have a police station in Bath. I recognised these junkies as homeless because I have seen them sleeping in the  doorways of empty shops that can no longer afford the business rates, but this policeman had been shipped in from Bristol or somewhere, so just assumed they had cosy flats.

"WE HAVEN'T GOT A FUCKING HOME TO GO TO!" was the inevitable reaction from them all, and passers-by looked on in disbelief.

"Stop shouting!" shouted the copper through his public address. All he really needed to do was politely ask them to keep a distance of 6 feet from each other and the rest of the public, but the man was such a fool that he ordered them to 'go home'.

You remember when I expressed the hope that the police would use their new powers humanely and sensibly and was attacked (again) for even saying so? Well this is just what I meant.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

The C word


What else shall we talk about? Anything else would turn it into the biggest elephant in the smallest room ever. I like hearing about your day to day routines. I even find myself reading some of your recipes. Times are changing. Everything is slowing down.

Do you remember a few posts ago when I said that I and H.I. had taken to walking around town on Sundays, then sitting in front of the theatre watching people walk past? (I wouldn't be surprised if you don't). I said that I was beginning to look up and notice details of the architecture with fresh eyes, like a tourist. I saw things that I had not looked at for about 30 years or more. I even discovered things which I had never noticed at all.

The few people who are not shopping but wandering aimlessly around town now are looking up more too. I just caught the eye of an elderly man walking along with his boyfriend and their small dog. We didn't wave.

Out in the country yesterday, I looked up and saw something which hasn't been seen in our area for about 200 years. A Red Kite being mobbed by a Raven with two Buzzards riding the strong wind, looking down from 2000 feet.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Toadally armless

 From this

 to this...

to this.

My last paying job after lock-down. Oh well, Christmas is going to be like V.E. Day.

New society

Boris Johnson has confirmed the official policy on Society. Contrary to previous historical claims from Downing Street, there is one after all. It is just as well really.

We are only in week one of the restrictions, but there are tensions developing between certain groups of people sharing the limited outdoor spaces available in towns and cities. Only yesterday, I was walking home when I saw a large young man running toward me, mouth open and panting heavily. I expected him to step into the empty road to clear me by a couple of yards, but he just kept coming. Because he passed me on the road side of the pavement, I could not get out of his way and he cleared me by inches, oblivious to his own bad manners.

On the other end of the scale, citizens are now reporting neighbours for leaving their houses more than once a day, and the police have just issued a summons to someone for driving in his car at night because he got bored at home. As far as I know, there is not yet a curfew in operation, but the police have been given enhanced powers by the legislation rushed through before Parliament was dissolved. I hope they use them wisely and humanely.

When I first heard the woman who represents the 'Big Brother' watchdog, I thought she had no useful  place in the debate during this crisis, but now I am not so sure. We have all been left alone to interpret new rules in any way we can, and once something has been taken away, it is very difficult to get it back.

I hope we all behave sensibly right the way through to the end.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Nuclear families

Apparently Boris is going to write to about 35 million households in the country warning that he will not hesitate to make the lock-down stricter if advised to do so by the experts. I hope he washes his hands before putting pen to paper.

I think Spain and Italy have a system whereby you download a certificate from a government website which you present to police or store security, and I think it is a signed declaration that you are free of symptoms. If we do adopt a similar system I hope that it will not be on a 'one trip per week' basis, partly because we do not have a freezer, but mainly because I think it will, in effect, cause another bout of panic-buying.

Also, I know many people who do not own a printer, and of those who do I know many who never have any ink for it. I suppose the form could arrive on your phone as an app, but that will not help the thousands of technophobes who do not have smartphones. It's going to be tricky.

Living so close to our supermarket I normally shop daily. Unlike people who live out of town, we are not set up to do weekly shops. Oh well, it will have to be alright no matter what happens.

I will go to the rural workshop today, and I will continue to go out there for as long as they let me. Being on my own I am doing no harm to others. I see many families (from a safe distance) going for walks in the country nearby, and that is a positive thing. Dad's home, mum's home, the kids are home and the dog needs walking. I think that will continue for quite a long time afterwards.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Counting my blessings


Taking exercise and fresh air at a remote location. Avus just mentioned Stukeley when I found this.

I heard a policeman (who was primarily on to comment about the large numbers of people in the Peak District) saying that the reason that driving should be avoided is to prevent the possibility of large numbers of people being forced to come into contact with each other in the event of an accident. I had not thought of that. I shall take even greater care when getting to my workshop a few miles distant.

It has also occurred to me that even though I have worked out a system whereby I can move these large and heavy objects on my own at my workshop, it is still a dangerous procedure, so I think they will stay where they are until I can enlist some help with the lifting and shifting. Oh well, I am far better off than many others. They have been sitting around for almost 300 years already, so a few more weeks - or months? - will not matter. I will have to request an interim payment from the client.

It seems that next week will see us returning to a few days of wind and rain. That might be of some comfort to the unfortunates who are couped-up in the shadows of their flats whilst trying to entertain their toddlers 24/7, but then again the sun makes such a positive difference even seen through a window.

When I think about it, my social life has changed very little since this whole thing developed. Do you think it is sad that it consisted solely of going to the pub for an hour after work? I often asked myself that question. I am not really a party animal - I never was - so this has proved to be good grounding for the weeks to come.

A friend of the same age as me tried to volunteer for the newly formed National Help Service the other day and was turned down because of his age.

Others are making many more sacrifices than me. I am lucky. Every day I realise how lucky I am.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Rishi Sunak

I must say I am very impressed with Rishi Sunak. Confident, bold, eloquent and decisive. Very good.

I think he is basically A-political, which helps. I also hear that he worked with Gordon Brown in a Labour government, which is most reassuring.

This crisis transcends politics.