The Coronavirus Diaries, 16th December 2020

Having suddenly woken up to the fact that Christmas is at the end of next week, and not still some time off, I have put up the fairy lights, lit the candles, and hung a couple of ornaments. I may add the bells and more ornaments later.

I am not usually a big fan of candles. They look nice but I worry about fire, so the electric candles Sue gave me some years ago are generally enough. However, this year I want light, I want something that somehow means hope, and candles are the quickest, most satisfying solution. I made an unplanned visit to IKEA today and came home with a box of candles and then some. I had to go to Greenwich to get my new towel radiator which will be installed on Friday. Hurrah, warm bathroom, warm towels. I din’t even realise there was an IKEA there. When I went in I meant to buy a new door mat. I completely forgot to look for one. The candles caught my attention and held it.

I’m glad I got them as on the way home I got caught in a traffic jam. It added considerably to my journey time. Watching four wheel drives and lorries driving over the reserve between the two directions of traffic entertained me a little. Radio 4 and then Paul Simon did the rest. There was a lot in the news about covid and Christmas. I have more or less accepted that I shall not be sharing my Christmas lunch with friends as planned. However, I shall spend the time inside with MasterB and I hope to be able to meet friends outside, as indeed I did last night, our last Prosecco and chips for a while as from midnight we moved into tier three and the rule of six is suspended to a rule of none. Actually I had cava, and I think Celia had red wine, while B&J had white, and I think Octavia had champagne.

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Gold Stars

A wonderful thing happened on Saturday. I was clearing up after our revels celebrating the EU the night before – excellent company, good chat, a sociable cat, lots and lots of food, several bottles of wine and champagne – when I found little gold stars on the carpet. I hadn’t bought gold stars, had someone else? had they been wrapped in the EU flag which arrived in the morning and served as a tablecloth? were they an endorsement from the universe/almighty of our toasts to the EU and declared allegiance? I looked up at the ceiling and wondered about revising my atheism. Continue reading

Look after our star

Last night we had an evening celebrating the EU, our 47 years as members, and the day we will eventually return to it. Just seven of us, but as I learned during the week, we weren’t the only ones doing this. European flags went up in windows, groups of friends made shopping lists of favourite foods from across Europe and met for a convivial hopeful evening, just as we did.
The very wonderful Led by Donkeys sent this message, displaying it on the white cliffs of Dover.

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Happy Non Brexit Day

I thought tonight’s post would be about the cemetery again, maybe it will be later on. It is, after all, Hallowe’en.

But then I saw something on Twitter I just have to share. It made me laugh, but it is very close to the bone. Although people voted Leave in 2016 for a variety of reasons, some more noble than others, it has become increasingly apparent that it is a small group of already very rich people who will benefit, while the rank and file who made the mistake of believing in unicorns, will suffer.

But tomorrow I shall still be an EU citizen. Actually I shall still be one even if we continue on the disastrous path to leave as it turns out I have been an Irish citizen since birth. Thanks Mother. Good one. Continue reading

And Another Thing

When I wrote my last blog post I did not know of Theresa May’s announcement that more money, a lot more money, but still not enough, was to be forthcoming for our wonderful NHS. when I finally heard the speech my blood pressure, normally on the low side, soared. It was so full of caveats; the NHS must do this, it must prove that, it must meet the government’s requirements. So, a government that has consistently and cynically starved the NHS, made working conditions in many hospitals and GP practices almost impossible, has relied on the goodwill of staff but never ever rewarded or praised them, now, instead of owning up to the fact it has jeopardised one of the greatest achievements of this country in its entire history, make that the greatest achievement, apologising, holding its hands up and admitting it was wrong – something which would have earned them my respect for a rare moment of honesty in government – it wants to set hurdles. WTF? As for the Brexit bonanza, I don’t believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden and I don’t believe that if we leave the EU we will suddenly receive a substantial windfall of millions.

I have been a teacher. I have been through Ofsted several times, and yes I was rated as an outstanding teacher delivering an outstanding lesson. Ofsted is stressful. You know you are under the microscope. Everything you have written, everything you say, everything you do, is under scrutiny. If this current government were to undergo an equivalent scrutiny I have no doubt it would be in special measures. Continue reading

One of the Fifteen Per Cent

This mural on the south west end of Waterloo Bridge makes me sad.

Euro

Nine months on, Brexit is still something that makes me feel bereaved. Maybe it always will. It felt like a knife turning in a wound when the letter triggering article 50 was delivered to the EU. The same week that letter was written, Nicola Sturgeon announced she would be calling for second referendum on Scottish independence. That call has now been endorsed by the Scottish parliament. Sturgeon’s critics shrugged and rolled world weary eyes. Of course she wants another referendum they said, the Scottish Nationalists are party with just one goal. which is by and large true, and it certainly would have been a big surprise had the Yes vote won by a narrow margin and the Scots Nats wanted a second referendum just to make sure the country hadn’t changed its mind.

Teresa May’s rebuke about disunity, and  Scotland’s foolish notion of leaving the UK, her greatest trading partner, caused some hollow merriment, as that is exactly what she and her sidekick David Davis are determined to to do taking the UK out of the EU. Continue reading

Heaven Help Us

I really do not understand what on earth is going on. Why are we having this referendum? Heaven help us if the end vote is for out. Boris Johnson seems to believe the stories he made up when he was a journalist in Brussels. And yes, it is well known they were untrue, but that didn’t stop an audience who wanted to despise the EU from lapping them up.
Boris at the Elephant
I can’t understand why some of the same people who declared we were Better Together when it came to the referendum in Scotland, should somehow think we’d be better turning our backs on the rest of the EU to go it alone. I’ve left it too late to emigrate. It’s not long until I get my Freedom Pass, and the prospect of spending the last decades of my life in a country which defines itself by hostility to outsiders and deep suspicion of ‘foreigners’ despite being one of the most invaded and diverse places in the world does not bring a smile to my face. Continue reading