And there came a decree from Caesar Augustus … – Part 2 was published here yesterday and part 1 was published here on Sunday


The local church parish team (it’s many a long year since there has been a resident vicar at the vicarage in the Wold) have, to their credit, arranged carol singing.  Usually this is on the aforementioned green and is usually very well attended, but this year, owing to the Covid restrictions on gatherings, everyone has been asked to stay away and sing from their front steps or gardens as the limited number socially-distanced singers process slowly around the streets and lanes singing traditional Christmas carols which will hopefully bring a bit of cheer and a more normal atmosphere.  We certainly hope so.

It’s difficult to envisage how or even when things will return to some semblance of normal as things stand at the moment.  The political class seem to have no idea and to use another one of their childish analogies, have not indicated that they have a ‘road map for all of us to follow’ apart from the ‘great reset’ various UN spokespeople pushing various UN agenda.

So, it’s watch this space as far as we plebs are concerned, or so they think. It could well be that these elites could be in for a nasty surprise; it’s happened before.  Ceausescu, Marcos and the USSR spring to mind and the Brussels EU elite could find their plans for empire in peril as the money runs out.

Our cosy service economy-led life has certainly had some shocks this year. Our towns, even before the pandemic, saw problems brewing in the competitive retail sector, food halls fighting for market segments, shopping malls changing from a sort of middle market hall to areas of conspicuous consumption for the designer-clad wealthy, the motor trade struggling to maintain sales and, in its quest, to survive presenting more and more vehicles with technology that most never use and is frighteningly complex to maintain if it goes wrong, which it often does. Cars with off-road and road speed and handling capabilities that are far above the average driver, more and more fast-food outlets, restaurants coffee houses, sandwich bars, nail bars, hairdressers, the service industry is apparently limitless.  Or is it?

A medium sized town near to St. Mary on the Wold has, according to one businessman of my acquaintance, over 200 outlets ranging from upmarket restaurants and coffee shops, to pubs selling pub grub and a converted caravan selling ice cream and coffee on a car park.   Two hundred outlets in one tourist town, last week, due to lockdown restrictions, only a handful of places able to sell take away coffee and simple street food were open for shoppers, business people and visitors.

Many will not weather the storm, neither will much of the accommodation sector, many of which, according to one councillor, are now applying to change their premises from business use to domestic residential living accommodation with the effect that will have on employment, the local economy and business rates payable to the local council.

Many of my friends and acquaintances have also changed their lifestyles – or should that read ‘have had their lifestyles changed’ – they no longer frequent cafes for breakfast or mid-morning coffee, even when open.  They tell me it’s too much hassle, wearing masks, not wearing masks, leaving your details for Track and Trace and so on.

As one said: “I shan’t go back now, even when they are open normally. I’ve broken the habit and I’m saving £80 a week.  I just make my own breakfast and join friends later in the park taking our own flask of coffee with us.”   Just how that will play out in the winter is anyone’s guess, but as many will tell you, there is no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing.

In any event, I’ve noticed the number of people now sitting in cars on car parks ‘quaffing’, as the tabloids say, from flasks and eating their own sandwiches.  Another sign of the times, just like the 1950s.  Who said history doesn’t repeat?

As a family, we’ve taken advantage of supermarket deliveries.  With a little forward planning we have had little problem arranging deliveries.  Delivery staff are reliable, pleasant, helpful and on time.  What’s not to like?   It saves travel time, is cheaper and is preferable to spending time in supermarkets.

Like many, our annual holiday and mini break weekends went by the board this year, we just didn’t fancy the crowds or the way that the mainstream media criticised families for taking breaks or holidays at coastal resorts.

More mischief-making by air-head celebrities of course, because, as we all know, unlike them the average family don’t all live in palatial houses or designer apartments with incomes to match, and by June had had more than enough of being at home with kids or noisy neighbours.

I suppose in future they will be able to point out that woman on Sky News who, having made a bit of stir and taken off air for six months as a result, flew off to sunnier climes at the first opportunity.

As a family we have not watched the main broadcast media for years now, even listened to the radio to be honest, as the non-stop drivel and propaganda tends to grate on the nerves.  Like so many others (millions actually) we pick and choose from streaming channels and all the other multimedia outlets, so we get news from real people all over the world, unedited versions of what is actually going on and can choose, and films – sorry movies – that are not made by politically correct, politically activist woke individuals that inhabit movieland these days.

It’s going to be interesting to see how well multi-plex cinemas survive in the future, or even if they will.  I hope they do as I’ve always found a visit to the cinema very enjoyable.  It doesn’t matter if the movie was good or bad, there was always a lot of entertainment from other members of the audience, as they play with their phones, talk and giggle amongst themselves or eat popcorn and take away meals with the accompanying smells during the performance, or even on one occasion going to sleep and snoring. What’s not to like?

Things have changed so much this year, probably faster than at any time since World War Two.  The list is endless; confidence in the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and the way they have managed the Covid crisis continues to fall, even among Conservative voters and this latest decree may well be the last straw for many people.

Most of our institutions have proven to be a big disappointment, the police service has turned into what, does anyone know?  Thousands told they were protecting the NHS have found that often life-saving treatment is no longer available and waiting lists are again reaching appalling levels.

Millions more, apparently and with good reason, do not believe anything the political class, the media and particularly the BBC tell them and to insult them further some presenter botanist bloke informs them gardening is racist, a comment I would wager did not go down to well with the predominantly middle-aged middle-income average viewer here in the Wold and elsewhere.

But, as someone told me at our local farm shop yesterday as we were buying some locally produced vegetables, ‘not good that, but Boris has said he’s going to look at the BBC’.

I assumed that he was being sarcastic, but there are times these days when it’s hard to tell fact from fiction and sarcasm from wit.

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