One year ago: Week 22 2020

May 25-31…

Monday In backing his closest advisor, Dominic Cummings, the PM has boxed himself in. He signalled in his speech of support that it’s OK to act on “instinct”. If the public applies that to themselves, the consequences will rest solely with Boris. Maybe this is what Cummings wanted.

📌 A community worker from Newham was on the radio saying that older residents believe the government is trying to “bump them off”. Get rid of the old and needy, that is the message they are getting.

📌 Stuart is mildly obsessed with Wanda Ventham.

📌 The changes in society that many predict will arrive in the wake of the pandemic will be suffocated at birth, argues Nesrine Malik in the Guardian.

📌 I wonder if it was a deliberate intention to make the Barbican a fiendish puzzle for visitors? It is certainly a masterpiece of curiosity and discovery. I leave always wanting to return.

Tuesday Mark Steel doesn’t need an invitation to wade in on the gift that keeps giving.

📌 My calendar is so empty I don’t check it very often. Then I get the notion that I have something scheduled…

📌 Dominic Cummings has now been accused of arriving back in London from his Coronatrip to Durham and promptly doctoring his blog to make out he prophesied the pandemic all along.

📌 There are no Lockdown rules, or even Lockdown etiquette. It’s a free-for-all out there, so I have a great excuse to stay in and watch the planned Cummings-Johnson anarchy unfold.

📌 Don’t mess with something that’s finished is a golden rule that always seems to slip my mind. So at the instigation of my wife, I finished the ‘Alfie’ stitchwork project and bagged it in polythene.

📌 I hear that “bubbles” are the new way out of the virus crisis.

Wednesday I sent a link for this amusing Newsbiscuit story to Stuart and Chris.

Then I read another story saying we should all be ashamed of ourselves for laughing at Dominic Cummings, regardless of what an arsehole he is. Bullying is bullying, it said.

📌 Eggheads was fascinating today because the contestants were deaf, some of them totally, and requiring signers to assist.

📌 The Telegraph reports that the Queen has given Boris Johnson permission to exercise in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. He’s also been using Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s gaff. He’s scared of being attacked if he shows his face in a public place.

📌 The Morning Star reports a 100,000 surge in union membership.

Thursday We recently signed up to get a weekly fruit & veg Oddbox. They delivered it overnight and left it outside the front door. This morning we opened it, marvelled at the size of the cabbage and jointly declared the whole experience to be just like Christmas.

📌 Gill posted this picture on Instagram with a question asking when hairdressers are likely to open.

📌 My wife justified herself to the postman, Eric. She was ashamed to be opening the door to him in her nightie at 9am, so this morning she got up, went for a run, came home and greeted Eric in her running gear. “You shamed me,” she told him.

📌 We did Frida Kahlo in the Headway Home Studio Zoomer and got a chance to snoop around her house online with Alex. In the drawing session, I managed to make Frida look like a beaky Queen Victoria on the front of a ship.

📌 Newsnight presenter Emily Maitliss did not deliver the programme last night. She was pulled from the chair because she was deemed to have breached BBC impartiality rules in her introduction to the Dominic Cummings story. Social media went berserk and she thanked well-wishers for their support. The whole vibe of this event feels to me like she was told in advance to say what she wants, but would get a public ticking off.

📌 At the end of the Brighton Zoom quiz, Jaq exclaimed from her sunny garden, “Shit, there’s a fly in my chardonnay”.

Friday Full Fact reports that, contrary to stories circulating, Dominic Cummings’ sister is not in charge of the new track-and-trace app that will solve everything.

📌 It’s the beauty of people going about their ordinary lives that I miss most. Ellie has been posting a brilliant series of pictures showing an ice-cream van war that is unfolding on her doorstep. It’s soap-opera addictive.

📌 Our new washing machine plays a plinky-plonk tune when it’s finished.

📌 During the family Zoom, I caught myself staring at the picture on the wall behind my sister. It was a ‘Yoann’, and on close inspection it is even better than it appears in a Zoom box.

And my cousin Helen told us about a man named Bernard Castle who is being confused with Barnard Castle.

📌 It was revealed on HIGNFY that doing a “Barney Castle” is an old English expression for telling lies.

Saturday If your mind has been boggled by the multiple layers of government incompetence and stupidity, it can only have been further boggled by the anonymous writer spilling the beans on the new track-and-trace system.

📌 We listened to the first airing of Culture Mile’s radio show. Brian was featured eating a burger and we sussed out the Local Legends slot on which I am due to appear next week. The two presenters, Hunt & Darton, act like art-school situationists, so if I dry up I think I can rely on a few prompts to keep talking. I tried to work out if they always stood like Ant & Dec do, with Jenny Hunt on our left and Holly Darton on our right. That test proved inconclusive. I am mildly dreading not being able to tell which one I’m talking to, as their voices are not drastically dissimilar. 

📌 In a bit of media bitchery, Emily Maitliss tweeted: “Just had disciplinary meeting with BBC bosses, following my little truth outburst & they’ve explained going forwards they expect me to be just like my friend & colleague Laura Kuenssberg, but I don’t think I have ‘gooey-eyed Johnson fan girl’ in me. I could vomit. Emily x”

Sunday The actor Ralf Little has told of his decision not to clap for the nhs every Thursday. On Twitter, he wrote: “I’ll continue to march for it, protest for it, advocate for it, stay at home for it, and most importantly, vote for those who actually support it.” 

📌 My cousin Kate had said at family Zooms how she really missed the football and how miserable it made her, but I never quite took it seriously. Today I finally understood when I heard the footie talk on 5Live. Looks like I’d been pining likewise but never noticed it. The Premier League is due to restart on 17 June.

📌 I wonder if the outfall from the pandemic will include ‘Covid Veterans’, just like war veterans who are permanently maladjusted and get no support from the state.

📌 The UK response to the George Floyd killing in Minnesota is surprising. The Black Lives Matter movement is moving.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…

4 thoughts on “One year ago: Week 22 2020

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