The Coronavirus Diaries, 10th June 2020

I am writing this in the morning, so unless I add to it later it will hardly be an account of my day’s doings. The rain has returned, so MasterB and I, having breakfasted, have returned to bed for a lazy lie-in. The water heater is on, and in a while I shall get up, wash and dress.

The internet is again absent, so agin I am writing this on a word processing app, and shall copy paste when I get the opportunity. I can’t read the news online, see what is outraging people on Twitter, and I have never taken watching daytime television so I am nicely out of the immediate loop.

Yesterday there was a lot of talk about removing statues of people who have part of the continuing history of black oppression and exploitation. Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, called for all such statues to be removed, and street names commemorating such people to be changed. I don’t think I agree.

I found myself more in tune with a black academic, whose name I unfortunately did not catch, in Scotland who believes the statues should remain, but with additional information giving a more balanced account of that person’s life. He believes we are in danger of airbrushing inconvenient and unpalatable truths out of our history if we simply remove the evidence that these people were respected and admired. As a white person, educated to think of Admiral Nelson as a great hero, learning he was pro-slavery was a shock. It doesn’t make him a less able naval officer, but it does remind us that all human beings are flawed and have failings, some greater than others. Churchill too falls into the same category. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 8th June 2020

I am still disturbed by the conversation I had with with the man about George Floyd. He dismissed the killing saying it was no worse than any other murder, so why were people so upset. He said Floyd had been a criminal, that black men are killed by other black men and no one starts marching. The idea that a policeman, a white policeman, murdering a black man while his colleagues looked on and did nothing, did not seem to him to make the murder more significant. The fact that black men and women in both the US and the UK are more likely to be stopped by the police when going about their business did not trouble him. It reminded me of a sketch on Not the Nine O’Clock News. But it also made me wonder if this man has formed these views on his own, or if they have been shaped by what he is read or heard. On my visits to the Co-op I didn’t look at the newspapers’ front pages. Is this the line some editorials are taking? If so, it is deeply irresponsible, deeply divisive. We live in societies that value white lives over black ones, where we have a Prime Minister in this country who talks about picaninnies and watermelon smiles, then wonders why people of all colours take offence. The pandemic has shown how black and minority ethic groups have suffered most, not because they have less immunity, but because they are more exposed, are more often to live in poorer housing. The pandemic has laid bare the inequalities of our society we have been ignoring for years.

Is it any wonder a moment comes that ignites all the frustration? When people take to the streets to protest? The vast majority of the protests are peaceful. The bursts of violence and looting are the ones that get the most coverage. Easier to condemn such behaviour than look at the fundamental injustices in our democracy that have led to it.

During our constitutional walks in London Celia and I have spent time enjoying and admiring the new estate in Myatts Fields. The old estate was a warren, and a place dominated by gangs and violence. The new one is human scale, the design has been carefully thought out to encourage openness and interaction. Our neighbour Cynthia describes it as a piece of Scandinavia in south London. It’s all the more impressive as it was built after austerity began. The council must have taken the decision to pursue its plans despite budget cuts. Yet in the short term, building high rises would have seemed the sensible financial solution. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 7th June 2020

Still afloat, still loving being in the countryside, still dealing with boat issues. The weather has continued in its variable spring mode, but it has been a touch warmer with more sunshine and less rain. I am not shedding my jumper just yet though.

I slept well again, nine hours I think, and it was MasterB sitting on me staring at my closed eyes willing me to get up and give him breakfast that finally woke me up. I obliged and made my own too. Before I went to bed last night I wrote a list of provisions I wanted. So once MasterB was sleeping off his breakfast and the pots were washed I went to the farm shop. I was worrying that I should soon run out of cash so I was very pleased to see a sign telling me how I could pay by bank transfer. I filled my bags with fresh veg, some apples, and one newly laid egg.

At the Co-op I bought soft fruit, more oat cakes and some Marmite. When I unpacked it and tried to find room for everything I reflected that I seem to be settling in for another week afloat. I need to add cat food and alcohol free beer to my purchases if that’s the case. That’ll mean a trip to Newmarket I reckon.

Stuart came to install the new galley blind. We also refilled the water tank which was depleted by my constant running the taps to see if the water was hot.

MasterB was not impressed, but although he didn’t come out to greet Stuart, he didn’t flinch when Stuart was near him. However when I was making my dinner, a curry so lots of veg chopping, he was pretty vocal. So were the ducks. They were marching along the gunwales and stomping on the roof. I could see the boy was starting to feel intimidated, so I built him a semi-citadel so he was less exposed. It worked.

Evening visitor

On the strut

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