Sunday, 20 December 2020

Waiting for restrictions news. The unfairness of things. Music in the time of lockdown. Walkies!

We were about to go for a walk yesterday afternoon when my daughter-in-law phoned. Just catching up but also semi-busy in her kitchen, at that stage in some project where you need to keep an eye on things but can’t really do much else. So she filled the time by calling me and we swopped news of all the things we have not been able to do. My son was busy playing Mine raft with their little daughter but eventually came for a chat until it was time for our PM to make his latest announcement to the nation.

And so we now have a fourth tier for some parts of the country where, so they tell us, a new strain of the virus is spreading rapidly and they want to contain it to those areas. Alternative science sources suggest that this new strain is no faster at spreading than the old strain. So maybe the scientific talk by the PM and his advisors was just a cover-up to justify changes to the planned Christmas easing. We now can invite another household into the house only on Christmas Day itself. Which means that families have to choose which set of grandparents to visit. That should cause a few diplomatic incidents along the way. Combined with the tier 4 business and the consequent travel restrictions quite a few people are having to change their Christmas plans altogether. A number of my friends who were planning a visit from family from other parts of the country are saying rather rude things about this latest change of mind by the government!

The new tier has given rise to certain amount of black humour - in what is perhaps typical British fashion. There’s a proposed Tier 6, where you are no longer allowed to look out of the window. A cartoon of a man in a hazmat suit taking the bins out in tier 43 in 2022 is doing the rounds of social media. Then there’s the time traveller who has been to Tier 3000 and found that we all live under water. 

And Matt Hancock is now suggesting that tiers will remain in place for a few months, until the vaccine is properly rolled out, so Easter might also be a no-no!

Waiting for all this announcement business meant that we did not go out for walk until after dark: a brisk stroll round the village to admire the Christmas lights, or scoff at them, depending on your point of view.

Christmas may well have been almost cancelled but we can rest easy as the rich are just getting richer. I read this morning that ten of the richest people in the world have boosted their already vast wealth by more than $400bn (£296bn) since the coronavirus pandemic began as their businesses were boosted by lockdowns and financial crises across the globe. Goodness! We’re talking unimaginable sums of money here. A spokesman for a campaign group in the USA called Americans for Tax fairness said:

“Their pandemic profits are so immense that America’s billionaires could pay for a major Covid relief bill and still not lose a dime of their pre-virus riches. Their wealth growth is so great that they alone could provide a $3,000 stimulus payment to every man, woman and child in the country, and still be richer than they were nine months ago.”

Just imagining such wealth unfairness makes me feel quite ill. I may need to lie down in a dark room and listen to soothing music.

On some programme on the radio yesterday - I missed the start of it so I have no idea who was talking to whom - they were discussing people’s attitudes to classical music, the fear of looking stupidly uncultured and ways to get people interested. One of the pundits pointed out that we are almost all of us more familiar with more pieces of classical music than we realise because of the the number that have been used in adverts or as the theme music for TV programmes. That would be a good place to start, he suggested, for people who wanted an intro to classical music. 

Well, for me the start of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture is forever “la pince à linge”, from a French advert for clothes pegs in the 1970s. Not that I ever saw the advert but we had French friend who would sing it from time to time during a summer holiday we spent together. And there are bits of Bizet’s Carmen to which I still mentally sing “The Esso sign means happy motoring”, taking the adverts back into the 1960s. That was one of the pieces of music our school orchestra managed to play as we filed out of morning assembly, quietly mouthing the words, much to the annoyance, but eventual tolerance, of our headmistress!

Ah, well! It’s not raining but it is rather dull. In an attempt to brighten the day I am wearing red! And I am waiting for our daughter to turn up for a socially distanced walk, accompanied by her eldest offspring, with her new dog, and possibly, just maybe, her 

teenage son, someone we might not recognise as we have seen him in the flesh only twice since the end of March! 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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