The Coronavirus Diaries, 15th July 2022, How Low (or High) Can You Go?

Yup, back to the Coronavirus Diaries again, as numbers are again rising here in the UK, and quite how high they may go before there’s any reaction from government remains to be seen. Personally I’m not betting on any reaction at all. As far as this lot is concerned the pandemic is over. People falling sick, people being admitted to hospital, people dying but politically this is yesterday’s news. The current focus is on who will be the new leader of the Conservative party, and, heaven help us, our new Prime Minister. So you might think the how low can you go part of the title of this blog refers to the less than inspiring, and actually frankly terrifying possibilities. There was a televised debate between the prospective candidates following the news on Channel 4 tonight. For a few minutes I thought I might watch.

From the kitchen I heard Krishnan Guru Murthy giving a brief run down of each of the candidates. I walked back into the living room as the first question was asked and managed a whole half minute of Liz Truss’ garbled opening sentence before reaching for the off button. We are doomed. When people said there was no one better in the Tory party to take over from the Liar in Chief I didn’t believe them. Sadly it seems they are right. Read Marina Hyde and John Crace in the Guardian for an idea, or if you have the stomach, watch the candidates’ videos as they pitch for the job. In other fields employers would readvertise, hoping for a better response. Maybe in the Conservative party they know that would be futile.

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Heat Wave

Ooh that Penelope Lively, she’s good. I just lost an hour or more to reading Heat Wave. Spare descriptions; clear prose; an ear for dialogue and the importance of things said and unsaid; an eye. I feel I have travelled the whole journey from spring to late summer, watching Luke and the wheat grow, seeing Teresa suffer and Pauline relive her memories while hoping for better for her daughter. I have met Maurice and Carol and found them wanting. Harry was never all he cracked himself up to be, while Hugh is considerably more than he seems, and James does not deserve to be treated so badly.
I am still at World’s End, outside the now closed doors, looking across the twenty acre field with its straw bales still and waiting. Such is the power of good writing to transport a reader, to build and maintain a world that seems so real, it is hard to understand that the last page is really the last, that Mr Chaundy will not be casting a dismissive eye over the next people to own this house, and that the weather forecasting postman does not exist outside the pages of this novel.