Yesterday for my sins I went for an early evening meal in the suburbs with a couple I have known for nearly five decades – and, as we remarked during our meal, that fact alone drives home both just how old we are and how fast time flies.
(Only people above a certain age can say that).
It was an enjoyable evening spent on a splendid terrace over barbequed meat with all the trimmings – one might remark an idyllic scene – as we caught up with each other’s family news and covered a large number of other subjects, the most often recurring one being, not unsurprisingly, the Covid-19 crisis as it has unfolded in the UK.
As it happened, on our drive there we had joined an urban one-way system on the first corner of which had been a well-known pub with a bear-garden area above street level.
I kid Rusters not – and I know it was the Saturday before Boris’ new “Six People Only” directive for meetings comes into force tomorrow – the bear garden was totally rammed with people, mostly between the ages of 18 and 35 and sitting four to a bench/table with each table (I reckoned) appreciably less than two metres distant from its nearest neighbour.
This observation fitted neatly into a passage of our later discussion over dinner.
One of our themes was sharing details of how “lockdown” had gone for us.
It occurred to me that our host had perhaps found it more challenging than some.
Normally a placid, charitable and easy-going character who always thinks the best of everyone he meets unless and until he receives proof otherwise, he was decidedly strident from the “off” and gradually worked himself into something of a lather on the topics of Hampstead set BBC champagne-socialist presenters, the twin towers of “diversity” and “wokeness”, cyclists, squirrels, parakeets and other “vermin” (in which category, though he didn’t specifically mention them, he plainly included Covidiots).
In short, the way he told it, the entire current global crisis had been caused by the EU central secretariat – who should all be shot – and the UK would soon be far better off out of Europe than in.
As evidence he cited at least two businessmen he knew who were hardline Brexiteers and couldn’t see at all why there was the slightest hoo-hah about the prospect of a “no deal” UK departure.
Apparently, they had seen what was coming and both (operating as they were in very different industries) had long ago negotiated free-trade deals with their continental friends, suppliers and/or wholesale customers covering at least the next two years … and frankly couldn’t wait to get started.
For good measure, he ended the evening with a ten minute monologue about the disconnect between “the truth” regarding such items as those primarily at risk from the Covid-19 virus (oldies, fatties, smokers, non-smokers, diabetics, those of BAME origin etc.) together with those regions of the UK in which the “infection rate” was climbing into dangerous “second spike” territory … and what the PC-conscious, woke-terrified authorities nervously felt they could actually tell the UK public without offending anyone that mattered.
It occurred to me this morning that, quite probably, thousands of equivalent social gatherings across this great land of ours had also been taking place last night, complete with similar forthright views being expressed.
It’s just a sign of the times.