Au revoir, auf wiedersehen & arrivederci

Here is Tony Blair effortlessly dismissing a eurosceptic MP with an off the cuff quip. There’s a warning for David Cameron here too – which he probably didn’t give enough thought to at the time.

Here’s a bonus video of him giving Nigel Farage the same treatment:

Christ. It seems such a long time since the UK has had a leader with anything about them.

Show restraint

Michael Gove says that we will have to ‘show restraint’ in our shopping habits when stores reopen in mid-June. We won’t be allowed to try on clothes & shoes, or test make-up. Essentially, don’t bloody touch it unless you’re going to buy it – like my mother used to say. It’ll be like internet shopping, but you have to pay for parking and then run the risk of catching a deadly disease. Such fun – buy one shoe, get one fatal lung malfunction free.

People will also be allowed to meet others in private gardens, so long as they stick to the physical distance guidelines. Good news, particularly for grandparents, but it seems to me that most people started doing this weeks ago and that the public as a whole is a few steps ahead of the official guidance – which nobody has really tried to enforce.

Part of the problem is with the quality of the messengers. None of the cabinet inspire any confidence that they have the remotest clue. Take Matt Hancock, for example, our beleaguered Health Secretary. You can tell that he’s as surprised as we are that he’s in this position because he looks completely bewildered when the press asks him a question – like a supply teacher faced with a precocious class that knows more about the subject than they do.

But that’s what you get when you relegate anyone with a spine to the backbenches, and all you have left to choose from to form your government is a small group of supine but spineless cretins that were willing to throw their grandma under a bus to further their career.

Count to 144 with two hands

Turns out that I’ve been counting with my fingers wrong for my whole life.

Europeans usually count with their hands by treating each finger as a single digit, up to a maximum of ten – unless they’ve been intimate with farm machinery. In other countries, instead of counting fingers as single digits they use the thumb to count the three sections on each of the four remaining fingers, allowing them to count to twelve on one hand.

The same trick is used on the other hand, but this time keeping track of the counts of twelve and taking you up to 144.


via Wikipedia

Jamie @jamie18 May 2020

OK. Mastodon posts are making their way over to my blog – but I’ve no idea how. I think Bridgy is involved but nothing is showing in the logs. 🧐

Notes for week ending 17th May 2020

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. I’m going to try and do the whole thing without saying the words pandemic, coronavirus or COVID-19 – instead, I shall refer to the entire situation ‘that thing that is happening’.

So, that thing that is happening is still happening. We follow the guidance rigorously, even if nobody else is, and as it becomes clearer that the government has screwed the whole thing up. Life is good, the daily routine is relaxed, we’re not annoying each other, and I haven’t filled my car with petrol for over a month – which is annoying because the price at the pump has just dropped below a quid a litre.

I’m pathologically avoidant when it comes to DIY, but the circumstances mean that I’ve finally run out of excuses. The garden looks much better for it, and I’ve finally dismantled the plumbing under the bathroom sink to remove the partial blockage that has plagued us since we moved in. I’m not willing to endure the queue at B&Q, so I still have an excuse to avoid the bigger stuff.

Shopping continues to be an awful experience. I can cope with being kettled by trollies while queuing outside, but I’m infuriated by the people who don’t follow the distancing rules inside. I am occasionally guilty of this, but by omission rather than intransigence. Last week, a check out assistant admonished me for overstepping a line when I wasn’t paying attention. This was mortifying because I’ve been quietly judging everyone I see committing the same offence.

The debate about whether it is safe for kids to go back to school is heating up, and some – perhaps under the grip of lockdown-induced psychosis, or living too close to a 5G transmitter – say they would prefer to home school indefinitely. I’ve enjoyed spending extra time with the youngest, but it’s not a satisfactory replacement for a classroom, and she misses her friends. She announced that she is ‘more of a gamer than a learner’, which I feel doesn’t bode well for her academic future or reflect well on our ability as educators.

Like many, I’ve enjoyed working from home. My employer tells me that I’ll be here until Christmas at the earliest, which is pleasing because I’d already been preparing to argue for my right to work from home permanently. I’m not travelling hundreds of miles a week for meetings that can be replaced by video calls – and removing a commute from my daily routine has done wonders for my mental health. Unexpectedly, I’m more motivated and productive at home too.

Messing around with video inputs instead of working

We watched the entirety of Tiger King, which was bizarre but brilliant, and also The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, which was lovely. Other than I’ve not watched much telly, which is odd given the enormous amount of free time that I have.

There’s still a big list of things that I meant to do but haven’t done – I might get round to them, I might not. Right now I’m happy to go with the flow.

Jamie @jamie16 May 2020

Huh. Peter blogs via finger – which is.. unusual.

> finger