Monday 20 July

I should have mentioned a very sad discovery yesterday. We walked past a parade of shops known as The Mount in Coulsdon. It is in fact in the borough of Sutton and as such, is slightly an outpost. There is a big council estate there, and quite a few elderly people who would find going into Coulsdon a considerable effort, so the little shops there are very important. One of which is the so-called Convenience Store. A supermarket and paper shop, where we collected the newspaper daily during lockdown. The owner, Raj, was a rather taciturn character, always watching Urdu movies on his phone. But his wife was more forthcoming. She wanted him to close down during the pandemic, but he remained open throughout, and always supplied milk and everyday essentials. It was actually easier to go there than a big supermarket. But yesterday we saw that it was all shuttered up, with bouquets of flowers and cards and candles. It seems he collapsed and died at the shop about a week ago. Nothing to do with Covid it is believed. It is so sad that he battled on to serve the community, and perhaps never realised how much his tenacity and efforts were appreciated. We shall certainly miss him. RIP Raj.

I returned to my online Pilates class today and feel a shade creaky as a result. But as I then went out to help Tim tackle the garden, I needed to get a bit fitter. In essence it has been house and garden for most of the day. It was not too hot to do some weeding and hedge trimming. We are creating the most enormous bonfire which will please Tim. I also ventured to Aldi which seemed remarkably quiet. I do actually believe that some people have gone on holiday, as many children have broken up, though as they were not in school anyway, one would perhaps scarcely notice the difference.

I wonder how difficult it is going to be for some children to return to school in September. I fear there will be a considerable number of school refusers, as they have been so drilled to believe that everywhere except home is a dangerous place. Adults too: many do not want to set foot in the office ever again. It is all very well to impose draconian measures, but they take a great deal of unpicking. And we all need to get ready to wear masks in shops at the end of the week. I did not see much evidence of the local shoppers getting in training for this. Let’s see what happens…….

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