I was very dopey this morning, and clicked on the news pages while I drank my coffee and began to engage with the world. There were a number of headlines about Dominic Cummings attending SAGE meetings. I don’t like Cummings, I feel his influence is malign, he overestimates his intelligence, underestimates everyone else’s and I agree he should not be attending these meetings which are for scientists who are eminent in their field and which give independent advice. Whether we like it or not, the Prime Minister’s chief advisor’s presence will have affected the quality of the meeting. It is not his lack of scientific knowledge I object to if he was a silent observer, but the fact that he and a data scientist were present suddenly polticises something which should not be political.
For all I know, Cummings is a closet science nerd. I don’t agree with headlines that scream he shouldn’t be there because he’s a historian. Believe it or not there are people who are knowledgeable in a number of fields. You don’t necessarily have to be a polymath to have a valid point of view about something in which you have no official, academic qualification. I get very cross when say Emma Thompson speaks out about climate crisis and people shout her down on the grounds that she’s an actor and say she should stick to that. When I started teaching several millennia ago, I was amazed by children aged eleven who would tell me I knew nothing about maths/history/geography(that was in fact true)/art etc because I was a French teacher. Apart from the very obvious fact that French is a language and you use language for everything, even maths/history/geography/art etc, it seemed to presume my whole education had only been about learning regular and irregular French verbs, verbs which took whichever preposition and useful phrases at the post office. Er, no.
So I reserve judgement on Mr Cummings’ scientific knowledge. He just should not have been at the meetings.
On lighter things: I have been slowly working on a new (to me) jigsaw. MasterN]B has ‘helped”.
The tulips I bought a week ago have gone from tight buds to spectacular blooms to etiolated sculptures. Even now they are still stunningly beautiful.
My Fitbit has been working v happily, but died again this evening. I delivered CPR via the USB and it came to life. I almost felt I should be on the CRASH team. Then it died again. It’s working at the moment, but I have to keep an eye on it. It’s supposed to monitor what my heart is up to, not the other way around.
Celia’s birthday tomorrow. I am waiting to hear when my champagne slot is. There will be a serial gathering of friends and family. I imagine we shall be gonged out out when our time is up and the next visitor is due to arrive. We are also going to have a walk. Celia is suggesting ten in the morning. I am not sure my kidneys will have completed the coffee expulsion process by then. I’d hate to have to ask her to stand in front of me while I squatted somewhere.
My birthday is next Friday. I haven’t given it a lot of thought, though two presents have arrived. I know one is a jigsaw because it says so on the outside, and the other has a book seller’s address as sender, so I’m not taking odds on that either. Michèle has suggested a progress around the neighbourhood for socially distanced drinks on a 1:1 basis. I could be very drunk by the time I get home. I had been thinking about a meal at home, maybe giving MasterB some sardines to which he is very partial, watching a film, playing music, looking at old slides, ‘phone conversations. Often I am at das Boot on my birthday with MasterB for company and that’s enough. I think it’s probably enough in lockdown too, but I may change my mind.
Octavia and I went to Sainsbury’s at the Elephant this morning. A nice socially distanced walk, and even nicer to have a chat and do a bit of catching up. In the supermarket the customers all seemed very aware of the two metre rule. The staff less so. At the self-serve check out, one very helpful assistant repeatedly came within 30 centimetres of me. I tried stepping away and almost collided with another customer.
Octavia visited the chemist to collect a prescription and to see if there was any of the Pear’s soap which has been on B&J’s list for some time now. I checked my messages, and found one from my cousin in Sydney NSW, saying she felt things were getting better there and they had been on an online cookery class. This I have to see.
We delivered B&J’s groceries, and spread out across the road for a less than private chat. I failed to convince B and Octavia they should be rehearsing for a socially distanced duet on cello and flute. I think they set their standards too high. There’s been some stuff about easing of social distancing with pods of friends. It sounds deceptively simple. Deceptively, because the pods would surely need to overlap like a Venn diagram. Or am I wildly wrong? could you belong to more than one pod? Wouldn’t that mean you were just being sociable in the usual way?
Please supply diagrams.
My local M&S has improved the socially distanced shopping route by a large margin. Thank goodness. It means more queuing outside and inside the shop, but it feels safer. In the last forty-eight hours I have learned of two more deaths from the virus, one an elderly man, the other a fit man in his fifties who leaves a wife and two children.
I can almost put my hair behind my ears. This will be an improvement I think.
Eat, drink and be merry, and stay safe.