May 28, 2020

Every nation gets the government it deserves‘ (Joseph de Maistre (1753–1821)).

Certainly, it got the government that the majority of people in the UK believed in implicitly and voted for. But they didn’t deserve the current state of affairs, any more than those who cast their lots in a different direction. I’ve lived under the governance of thirteen Prime Ministers in my lifetime, from Harold Macmillan to Boris Johnson. In 1979, when the beleaguered Labour government led by James Callaghan ceased to be capable of holding the country together, I voted for Margaret Thatcher. (Never again!). Her party’s decision to decimate the UK coal industry following the miners’ strike (1984-5) put every employed male member of my family out of work. That was not untypical. Consequently, mining communities couldn’t just ‘move on’. They never did. To my mind, the Conservative’s (unwritten) policy of placing economy before people first came into focus at that point in history.

WFH: DAY 53. 8.00 am: A communion. 8.45 am: Fridgy-problems. Fridges and freezers are frontline/key devices in the domestic economy. The helpdesk ‘technician’ for Samsung, whom we’d phoned, was in India it seemed. (In ‘remote-world’, we can be anywhere in relation to anyone, and still be able offer assistance.) Of course, he wasn’t the type of tecky who could strip down your fridge, fix, and reassemble it an hour. So, we walked with him through a ‘problem/solution’ list instead, getting nowhere, while the fridge appeared to heal itself following a reboot. ‘I was warm but now I can cool!’

9.30 am: I set up in the study for today’s morning of marking: Velux ajar, window-blind raised, off we went.

The road to the business of the day is often littered with unforeseen, unwanted, and unfortunate administrative emails of demand and supply. (Where did that last hour go?) 10.30 pm: Finally … I arrived at the meat of the morning. While listening to BBC Radio 3 live, I heard for the first time Jóhann Jóhannsson’s A Pile of Dust (2016). A composition for these times. Do we hear it differently when the know that the composer died tragically and, it would seem accidentally, at 48 years of age?

Leading up until lunchtime, more administrative litter arrived. I’d not the time to focus on completing even one assessment this morning. Appalling! After lunch, backside in gear, I forged on. ‘Leave me alone!’ Later, I alighted on Jóhannsson’s They Being Dead Yet Speaketh, from The Miners’ Hymn (2010). I was reminded of Hans Zimmer’s score for Interstellar (2014). Intuitively, I sense myself being drawn back to the South Wales coal industry of my youth. My mind is filled with sounds and images associated with the collieries and their environs. One ought always to pay attention to such ‘voices’.

4.30 pm: I walked around town, peering into the, now, closed and empty shops and restaurants. They have a peculiar melancholy — like a railway station after the last train has departed:

7.30 pm: I pressed on with the today’s assessments, with every intention of completing them by the close of the evening. The sunlight declines, the birds quieten, children play in their gardens. Another day.

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