April 2021

I’m starting to write this on the first day of April. April Fool’s Day no less. It’s an attempt to chronicle a month of feelings towards whatever progress we make over the coming weeks. It hasn’t got off to a great start: the government’s Racism Review turns out to be completely racist (saying things like slavery had its upsides such as black Africans becoming successful black African / British – I think this misses the point slightly) and one of our previous prime ministers has been found to have lobbied the current chancellor for a failing company that he has personal financial interests in. Not just for a few quid though, over a billion! Then we have our current prime minister’s painfully unfolding sex life with the business woman who is now selling her story about shagging him for four years. They truly are a bunch of charlatans. Maybe the next post will have something positive to say. Who knows? It hasn’t happened yet.

Just over a week later and the Ulster Unionists are throwing petrol bombs and fireworks at the police over their dissatisfaction with the Northern Ireland Protocol. Basically, Boris completely sold the Unionists down the line after they agreed to back the Brexit deal that the country have voted against. There’s a distraction reason as well in that the Republicans attended a funeral of an ex IRA member and the police didn’t arrest them for breaking Covid rules. I don’t think you throw petrol bombs over something like that. It’s clearly that the border that has been created makes the Unionists feel less British and threatened. Exactly as predicted. So all’s going well in April so far. I hope for good news in the next few days.

The second week into April and we saw the demise of Prince Philip. The coverage by all channels caused outrage amongst many and further divided the country. It is as though people are beginning to take sides. You can almost predict the causes that one side or the other will adopt. On top of all that, the lobbying scandal is now escalating to become one of the biggest financial scandals to hit the Tories in decades involving the Health Secretary and his wife as well now. And yet people are still making excuses for them. It’s not going well.

On a positive note, the pubs are opening for outdoor sales and the weather has warmed a little. At least it’s stopped snowing!

And I’ve also been making progress building a dwarf wall for our conservatory. I’m not a real builder but help one out occasionally and have probably developed a false sense of ability in that department. I’ve only knocked it all down once and it’s now looking quite smart. I get better with each brick I lay so have used the out-of-sight locations as practice ground. It’s cathartic: simple manual work with a purpose and a need for carefulness and consideration. A friend of mine developed huge anxiety back in the very early eighties. It wasn’t really acceptable for a bloke to have that sort of problem back then (not sure it is so much better today but, hopefully, we’re getting there). This friend was unable to turn the corner that would bring our city centre office directly into his line of sight. He tried many times to get in but it was as though there was a physical barrier stopping him. His doctor, who must have been slightly forward thinking, suggested, along with all the pills he’d prescribed, that he build a wall in his garden. This would represent his return to health and be a physical reminder of the passage of time and how he would be healing. I remember at the time many of us thinking that this doc was a bit bonkers but, with hindsight, I think he’d got it spot on. My friend did return to work and had a half-decent garden wall out of the entire experience. I think this is what we all need to do. Maybe not a physical wall but a metaphorical one. A positive wall that leads to something nice rather than the walls that are put up as barriers. We need less barriers and more forward and positive movement.

It’s now nearing the end of April and things are hotting up in Westminster. If you hadn’t already figured it out, our prime minister isn’t quite a full shilling. As accusations mount of corruption and lies, Boris decided to lay all the blame on his old mate, Dominic Cummings. You would think, after a year and a half of working with the bloke, that Boris knew that Cummings made Machiavelli look like your favourite aunt. It backfired spectacularly with Cummings making even more accusations of illegal activity and that Boris even tried to halt an inquiry because it might upset his girlfriend. And now the latest allegation is that, after a meeting at number ten regarding lockdowns in October, he said, ‘No more fucking lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!’ There was a time when much less than this would finish a politician but we are in different times now and, it seems, this is acceptable. Ministers are rushing to his defence and denying that any such thing was said. Meanwhile, Radio Four reported the comments saying that it came from sources that were ‘familiar with the conversation’. It’s no surprise as he has past form for this type of thing. When he was foreign secretary he said that the Libyan city, Sirte, could become the new Dubai, addling, ‘all they have to do is clear the dead bodies away.’ There have now come forward a number of ministers who insist that the comments were made and that they would confirm that under oath. Regardless of your politics, this is utterly despicable. And, sadly, I take no pleasure in it. The Tories getting the rough end of the stick is usually quite cheering but this is depressing. Dark times indeed.

The purpose of putting this blog together over a period of weeks was an attempt to get away from the usual yawn-inducing moan that it generally is. It seems to have reinforced that problem rather than avoiding it. So, what good things actually happened in April:

We saw a small helicopter flown remotely on Mars. Completely mind-blowing.

It looks likely that we, as a family, might be able to go to Fairport’s Cropredy Convention.

We have had first drinks outside in the sunshine, including with family and friends.

My dwarf wall is coming on a treat. It’s almost level and upright.

It’s only four weeks to our second vaccine jab.

I’m not doing this again. I hoped that adding comment throughout the month would create a more positive, more enjoyable blog. That’s not the case. Maybe that’s because the main subject on our minds on any given day, at this time, is still mainly negative. By doing it this way, I have created an even more miserable experience. That wasn’t my intention. So May will be back to normal. Hopefully, interesting stuff interspersed with the regular moaning.

The pictures I’ve included this month have been taken, mostly, from my current project of building a wall for a conservatory. At least that is productive and achieving something.

I hope everyone is doing okay and I hope everyone is staying safe. It’s pretty cool out there (temperature wise) but then we were spoiled last year. Let’s all hope for warmer weather and better times. I have no answers for the problems that I’ve highlighted this month and, to be honest, it makes me feel bad even thinking about it.

So, see you all in May. Meanwhile, why not check out my Website where you will find all sorts of new nonsense and fantastic fiction.