Saturday, 20 February 2021

Outdoor drinking. Michael Rosen’s opinions. Vaccination issues. Middle class problems. And “cottagecore”.

It’s another wet and wild and windy day here, just as the weathermen predicted. There weren’t many people out and about when I went for a run earlier this morning. There is a point along my running route where you can see a collection of bottles in one of the fields. They seem to be mostly those small wine or Prosecco bottles you can buy. His suggests that a group of people have been walking along the lane drinking and then tossing their empties over the wall. However, these are clearly not the usual local youth buying packs of Diamond White cider from the coop. Oh, no, this lot must be a slightly more sophisticated, or would-be sophisticated, bunch who have moved on to classier outdoor drinking - old enough to want something other than cheap cider but young enough to want to drink outdoors. You’d think they could just organise a Zoom-party and each one drink in the comfort of their home. 

I see that a judge has ruled that the health secretary, Matt Hancock, acted unlawfully in his handling of government contracts for the provision of PPE and so on. Here’s Michael Rosen’s comment on that:-

“Dear Dominic

Hancock's just been fried. Nice to see that he's taking the hit for the team. After all, when your prop gouges out the opposite prop's eye, it's not the captain who gets sent off.     As Rugger, as life. Missing you.

Ludo in excelsis dildo 


And here is some more Michael Rosen, this time telling Gavin Williamson what’s what. There’s a good deal of divided opinion about rushing children back to school, especially as experts are now saying that the 5 - 12 year olds are one of the biggest groups catching Covid at the moment. “The team suggested the relatively high prevalence in younger children could be due to a greater proportion of this age group still attending school. A survey found in February that early a quarter of primary school pupils were being taught in-person.” Now, there’s a surprise!

We’ll find out what the “Roadmap” to lifting restrictions will look like on Monday. I hope someone takes into account that some parts of the North still have an alarmingly high rate of infection. The radio news tells me “the details of the roadmap are still being nailed down” - government by mixed metaphor!

There are still pockets of craziness around. In the Northwest news last night we heard that orthodox Jewish communities in some parts of Greater Manchester are being targeted with anti-vaccine propaganda leaflets. A doctor from one of these communities pointed out that many such orthodox Jews do not have television and hear little of the discussion that most of us are coming across all the time on this matter. So many of them will regard such leaflets as official and as a result will be reluctant to be vaccinated. Another problem to be solved.

Middle class problems are popping up as well. I’ve written before about the problem of wood burning stoves and open fires causing a huge amount of pollution because of people burning damp wood. No doubt scientists could explain to me why wet wood causes more problems than dry wood but there it is. It’s all down to something being referred to as “cottagecore”, which might be a UK version of “hygge”: 

“An Aga, a wood burner, blankets and cushions … These all sum up rural cottage living.” 

This is what you need if you want to have good instagram posts. 

“If you’re looking to perfect your rural idyll, you can’t go wrong with a wood burner. A mainstay of glamorous Instagram “cottagecore” accounts and Airbnb listings with a cachet somewhere between an Aga and a yurt, they produce a mood of peace and warmth that glows as softly as their embers.” 

It’s all a question aesthetics apparently as the people buying these stoves usually have central heating as well. But it seems to be causing arguments between neighbours. 

“On the website Problem Neighbours, some wood burner owners felt persecuted by those who objected to their chosen heat source. “I don’t know about you, but in my day, we weren’t lily livered little grasses who took our neighbours to court for the crime of keeping warm,” a user going by the name of Fred wrote last year. “The way things are going, we’ll be having to ask permission to smile.”

Class is often a factor, too. “Wood burning stoves are really very antisocial,” said one Mumsnet user. “But they’re also middle class, so I expect everyone who wants one fitted will find some special reason why their pollution is superior and necessary.”

As if answering that call, a Daily Telegraph columnist responded to this week’s reports with a piece headlined “Call me a middle-class hypocrite if you want, but I’m not getting rid of my wood burning stove”. Sarah Rodrigues argued that her fire gave her “a feeling akin to that first warming sip of red wine”, and pointed out that she drives a hybrid and recently updated her Nespresso machine to one that allows better composting. She didn’t say what her neighbours think.”

But now we have a word for it: “cottagecore”. So all is no doubt well. 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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