So what have I done today? The military aircraft continued their fly overs much later than I expected, so my early night didn’t happen. I was in my pyjamas, but the noise kept me awake, so I read and MasterB slept on my feet.
During the night I woke briefly several times, mainly because I needed to change position which isn’t always easy with a cat who has decided to sleep on or as close to one as possible. Around six he came under the quilt, curled up by my chest and we slept companionably until half past seven. The morning wasn’t as cool as I was expecting, but the windows in the rear cabin where we’d slept were covered in condensation. Even so, it was obvious it was going to be a beautiful day. The light was gorgeous. I emerged from the boat in time to see a swan flying low over the river. It’s moments like this when it feels unthinkable to give the boat up.
I‘ve been puzzled by a bit of broken ceramic, tonight I got the answer when the bathroom shelf fell off the wall and I could see where the piece fitted on the back. Since it was fine on my last stay and Older Nephew and his partner were the last people to use das Boot, I assumed they had had a mishap with the shelf. He says not. Strange. The shelf didn’t get back on the wall on its own.
Anyway, MasterB and I enjoyed our respective breakfasts and then I read for a while, feeling rather contented and lazy. But there was shopping to be done at Reach. I wanted carrots, salad and a marrow. I didn’t find any of them, I ended up with squash and fresh walnuts. There weren’t any water melons either. I wasn’t expecting them. They are not the sort of fruit I expect to find on an organic farm in Cambridgeshire, but a woman who was there at the same time as I was waxed lyrical about them and was very disappointed not to get one today.
I turned down the lane and picked blackberries for a crumble I have made this evening. I had half feared there would be no blackberries, that I’d be too late, but I think these were on a north facing hedgerow. I’ll go back and pick more before I go home and I have two orders for sloes, both I think for gin. I may try sloe chutney. I have only had sloe gin once, an ex neighbour made it and it was so strong I thought I’d go blind.
I did some boat cleaning this afternoon. I did ask Older Nephew to leave the electric drill here as I have attachments that make the cleaning of the gunwale a bit easier, but he seems to have forgotten. I washed the roof and cleaned windows, maybe tomorrow I’ll get onto the gunwales with a scrubbing brush.
All the beets have been harvested, now it’s the turn of the leeks and the smell of them drifts on the air. The marina owner says it makes her want to have leek and potato soup. Rather to my surprise she was very critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic. I generally avoid political conversations with her as she has ranted to me about health tourists in the past, a favourite canard of the right wing press since research repeatedly shows there is very little evidence of this. Some time after the referendum some builders were telling me angrily of Spaniards using our health system. We couldn’t use theirs, they said. Yes we can, I replied, we have a reciprocal arrangement with every country in the EU. All you need is your E111 which is easy to get. They gaped at me and I realised they had had no idea. On such instances of ignorance the Leave group won the referendum. Amazing and very depressing.
I’ll keep my E111 as a souvenir of being in the EU, but after the end of this year that is another thing we’ll lose. We have already lost so many benefits EU membership brought us, as well as our self-respect, the respect of other nations, yet I saw a notice just last week saying EU funding was helping widen our pavements locally to help with social distancing.
When Jo Cox was murdered in June 2016 by a member of the far right an article appeared in the Spectator, a right of centre magazine. I read it again the other day. Read it here. It warned against using division to win votes. When you stir up hatred it has consequences. More than four years on, the government has not learned this lesson, or if it has it does not care. Over and over senior politicians in government point the finger at this or that group while they shrug off the blame for situations they have created, or fabricated . They portray themselves as victims and the real victims as an enemy. The language of war is used repeatedly. Jingoism and fear of foreigners is implicit and explicit in statements and speeches. They talk about betrayal, and accuse those who don’t agree with them of being anti-patriotic. That is not only a deliberate misrepresentation of patriotism, it is an incitement to hate. As Alex Massie, the article’s author, says, “When you encourage rage you cannot then feign surprise when people become enraged. You cannot turn around and say, ‘Mate, you weren’t supposed to take it so seriously. It’s just a game, just a ploy, a strategy for winning votes.'”
Stay safe. Keep well. Remember we have more in common than that which divides us. Be kind.