SATURDAY The athletes at the Beijing Winter Olympics say it’s like being in Squid Game.
📌 Boris’s head might be half way to the chopping block, but Andy Becket imagines the Tories will still find a way to stay in power.
Nowadays it’s widely expected that our leaders will be out of their depth, as well as entirely out for themselves. That’s one reason why Starmer’s offer of more competence and integrity has yet to properly resonate. Not enough voters can envisage such a government.
📌 The gardens around Winchester Cathedral are just coming to the end of a festival of light. It was odd to see the blue background and the yellow stars of the EU flag on display among the sponsors’ logos.
📌 As we sat after supper listening to a Talking Heads album, Jill remarked that pretty soon large retail spaces will become high-functioning click-and-collect distribution centres. Order 3 pairs of the same trousers in different sizes online, turn up at the distribution shop, try them on and leave behind the ones that don’t fit.
SUNDAY A passage in Nick Cohen’s column in the Observer suggests a Line of Duty-style TV drama in which a team of dynamic cops nail the crims who screw billions from the UK taxpayer.
“A serious policy response [to the mass fraud inside government] would mean providing the funding to Companies House so it can weed out and prosecute the beneficial owners of the thousands of criminal enterprises it currently covers with a patina of respectability. It would include cleaning up the City, clamping down on corruption in UK-controlled tax havens and stopping the libel courts being used as weapons in asymmetrical warfare by hostile foreign powers.”
📌 It is now a daily task to remember the films and TV series we watched during lockdown. What was that one about the single-mother Hollywood actress, whose crazy mother was Celia Imrie?
📌 Liz tells me that I’ve been playing the wrong Wordle. The one I’ve been toiling at is an app that looks like this…
But Liz says the real one, the “Wardle Wordle”, is only available at a website called powerlanguage.co.uk. The odd thing about this version is that it is browser-dependent. In other words, if you play Wardle Wordle in Safari and solve the puzzle in 4, you can then open the same puzzle in Chrome, insert the solution in line 1 and share your miracle triumph on Twitter. Liz says this is against the spirit of the game and only people with no sporting scruples would do that.
📌 Russian troops gather ominously at the border with Ukraine and the western democracies still can’t make up their minds what to do, writes Timothy Garton Ash in a concise essay that even dares to imagine a post-Putin democratic Russia in alliance and at peace with all of Europe and Eurasia.
📌 Winchester skyline tonight…
MONDAY Went to bed last night a bit dejected, woke up this morning full of beans. Wardle Wordle, however, took SIX attempts.
📌 Spotted Rupert Graves wheeling his bike along Old Street, which sounds like a euphemism for something.
TUESDAY Boris’s moment has finally arrived. He has the chance today to show his party and the electorate exactly what kind of politician he is. Last week in Parliament he linked his political opponent Keir Starmer to a peadophile (Jimmy Savile). His accusations were inflammatory lies, and he knew it. Many of his colleagues urged him not to make them and some of them resigned once he did. Yesterday an angry mob surrounded Starmer on the street, hurling insults and threats. If Boris does not now publicly condemn the mob and apologise to Starmer, he will be placing himself so far outside of the British political establishment that there is no way back in. Perhaps, like Donald Trump, that is his intention.
📌 I did a double take the other day when the governor of the Bank of England was reported telling workers no to ask for a pay rise right now because the economy is in the toilet (my words). As if Britain’s political and ruling classes (like himself) had nothing to do with it! That must have got Polly Toynbee’s goat, too, judging by her column in today’s Guardian.
📌 RIP Bamber Gascoigne, 87.
📌 In one of her lovely memoir blog posts, Lakshmi in India tells of attending a relative’s wedding and the tradition of Muhurta the officiating priest uses to determine the best time for the happy couple to get spliced. In this case it was 8.30am.
📌 Finally managed to come up with a Valentine’s image for art class I can actually live with…
📌 My wife got an email saying there was a bag of money at Dallas Fort Worth Airport with her name on it. It was dumped by an African diplomat fleeing detection. The “baggage handler” thought a 70/30 split was fair.
📌 Thames Water reconnected the interrupted supply, but the cold water upstairs is brown.
WEDNESDAY Got a message from Liz to say today’s Wardle Wordle was an American spelling, which meant I got it in 1. Genius, I think they call it.
Wordle 235 1/6
📌 In art class I tried lino-cutting for the first time. It is something I could quite easily get addicted to but never improve at.
📌 Harshita sent a picture of her Mum contributing to our Stitch & Bitch project remotely. At the real one Vera told us with a flourish that she has been summoned for her 4th Covid jab.
THURSDAY London Mayor Sadiq Khan is piling pressure on Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick to prove she still holds the trust of the people. The only way she can do that is to nail Boris for his lockdown partying. The Guardian has helpfully provided an essay on her failings as Britain’s top cop.
📌 The last time the air above Britain contained as much carbon as it does now, it was hot, yes, but also very rainy, says an article in the Conversation: “Its landscape resembled the warm and humid forests found in modern south-east China.”
📌 I reckon Boris enjoys a good whipping. According to the New Statesman he has been visiting unhappy Tory MPs asking them masochistically to insult and abuse him in the hope that they do so and enjoy it so much they forget to send that letter of no-confidence they have waiting in the kitchen drawer.
📌 In Brighton, Pip and Andy found a dead fox in their back garden. Apparently there are strict rules on the disposal of dead foxes. A lengthy discussion thread was inevitably spawned while the deceased rested inside a plastic bag inside a wheelie bin.
📌 The latest studio stitchwork is from a drawing by Cecil.
📌 My wife is disturbed by the screaming intensity of my dislike of one of the Junior Bake Off contestants. The 10-year-old child’s behaviour and attitude remind me too much of our prime minister.
FRIDAY Today’s top headline is “Khan Gets Dick Out”.
📌 It’s fascinating to note that when Mayor Sadiq Khan announced on the radio yesterday that London’s trust in Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick was shot, neither the Home Secretary Priti Patel or the prime minister rushed to offer statements of support for the beleaguered cop. It is now Patel’s job to appoint Dick’s successor.
📌 Unless we all learn how to deal with our poo, the world is doomed, says an article in the Conversation.