Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Weather. Fishy tales. And some serious stuff about policing.

Lulled into a false sense of security by some blue sky and sunshine I decided to wear shorts to cycle to Uppermill this morning. Not short, short, short shorts - I think my hot-pants days are over - but sensible, just above the knee, going for a hike shorts. The very warm weather on Monday and the moderately warm weather yesterday were contributory factors. And mostly it was fine but, boy!, the wind was cold! But it was mostly okay. My route is largely sheltered from the wind, although the market in the square at Uppermill is rather exposed.  

I stood in the wind in the queue for the fish-man longer than expected. Another false sense of security thing! There was a Chinese lady being served, one person waiting and then me. That should have been quick. However, the Chinese lady must have been buying for a restaurant, or at least catering for a large party. And she was quibbling over each purchase: was that piece of fish thick enough for what she wanted? could she have a special price of she bought five dressed crabs? would they skin that piece? The fish-man was concerned that she might not be able to carry the bag with all her purchases; she was a very diminutive lady. I was more concerned that her bundle of ten pound notes was about to blow away. She peeled off five or six notes to pay the fish-man and set off with her heavy bag in one hand and her still considerable bundle of notes in the other. Fortunately she stopped a few yards from the fish-van, put her shopping bag down briefly and stowed her cash away in a safe place.

She might not have been able to be so cavalier with her bundle of notes in a more crowded marketplace. However, Uppermill is fairly quiet in the first half of the morning on market day and besides, most of the shoppers are regulars who may not know each other well but have at least a nodding acquaintance and look out for one another. It’s one of the good things about being semi-rural. 

I say semi-rural because most of the villages around here began life as industrial villages, textile mill workers’ places. And I am pretty sure that a lot of fuss was made some years ago about Uppermill, the largest of the Saddleworth villages, have grown big enough to be called a town rather than a village. And it has a regular Big Issue seller, who has returned now that restrictions have eased. Mind you we have also had one in Delph and we definitely do not qualify as a town! 

Out in the wider world, Chauvin, the policeman who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for eight or nine minutes, has been found guilty of murder. Listening to witnesses from both prosecution and defence was hard going. No matter what kind of drug abuse history, or medical history an arrestee has, of he dies during the arrest you can’t argue away the fact of that knee restricting his breathing must be a major cause of death. From the prosecution side a young woman, probably the one whose video of the arrest went viral, tearfully said she wanted to apologise, to apologise for not having been able to do more to stop it all happening. 

Maybe things will begin to change.

Things were exacerbated by further cases of black people dying at the hands of the police. Quite how a policewoman could mistake her gun for her taser is hard for most of us to understand. Its another argument for a change in laws regarding firearms. When Americans talk of their right to bear arms they need reminding how much guns have changed. This video is a rather amusing way of pointing this out.

None of the original gun owners had machine guns or assault rifles.

While I am aware that some people do have access to guns here in the UK and that we are not problem-free, on the whole I am relieved to live in a country where gun ownership is not considered a normal thing.

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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