Dominic Cummings. | NEIL HALL

Possibly one of the most boring and protracted news stories last week was that concerning
Dominic Cummings. As far as I’m concerned, he broke quarantine rules though admittedly
I’m sure a trough of wily politicians did just the same - they just managed not to get caught.

All the same, I find it appalling that Cummings didn’t apologise for his behaviour and it is
disappointing that absurd excuses were made. By a long stretch of the imagination one
could perhaps understand his driving 260 miles to leave his young child with his parents. However, the eye-testing anecdote tested the realms of fiction too far and was particularly absurd. Why would someone drive from Durham to Barnard Castle with a raging virus to test their eyesight?

Of course, lest we forget, Cummings was the architect and deliverer of Brexit so will never ever be forgiven by Remainers for his part in the saga. His subterfuge during lockdown, willfully ignoring the rules, fueled the flames for a full-blown political crisis particularly because of his Rasputin or Svengali status as the man pulling Boris’s strings.

Meanwhile, another 412 deaths were recorded in the UK while everyone went into
meltdown over Cummings and Twitter blew more than the odd fuse. The death toll from
Coronavirus in the country is now hovering at 38,000 and many will be mourning loved
ones, most of whom died without the comfort of a close relative to see them out of our
world. The antics of Cummings and his kind has rightfully enraged those who steadfastly
adhered to government guidelines even at the expense of never being able to say goodbye
to those they loved.

Watch the birdie

My favourite press conference of Covid-19 – far more entertaining than the 10, Downing
Street rose garden affair with Dominic Cummings – was that recently held by the president
of Cantabria. Announcing the re-opening of the local zoo, Miguel Angel Revilla was blissfully unaware that standing in a field just behind him was a curious ostrich that seemed to mimic his every action and word. Side-splittingly funny, I am amazed that members of the press weren’t rolling around on the grass during the president’s speech. At one point, the poor man looks to his left and the ostrich follows his gaze and mockingly pulls bizarre and goofy expressions. Later the long-necked menace is joined by another tall chum before the
conference mercifully draws to a close.

The incident reminded me of the memorable Michael Parkinson television interview with
Rod Hull and puppet Emu. I still cry with laughter at that one. There is also the YouTube clip of reporter Alvin Hall, convulsed with giggles as he is pecked by ostriches during a broadcast. If ever you’re having a rough day, these two classic clips will have you shedding tears of happiness and laughter before you know it!

I’m leaving on a jet plane

So easyJet has breathlessly announced that it will be resuming flights from mid-June but
where from and where to? Having reduced its fleet by 30 per cent, customers might find themselves flying the plane as well. My round-robin from the airline informed me that as safety was paramount there would be no in-flight drinks service and passengers would be required to wear masks at all times and squirt disinfection on their hands on boarding. Wow, just the kind of experience to get you into the holiday spirit, eh?

The dispiriting flying experience of tomorrow is of course necessary if airlines hope to
attract nervous passengers back onto their planes. Similarly to easyJet, Ryanair and Virgin have made drastic cuts to their workforce, while British Airways will lay off 12,000 staff. For the moment, there isn’t much joy for clients lucky enough to fly to their chosen destination. They will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days and in the UK receive a £1,000 fine if they don’t. Enough to encourage many to consider a staycation this summer, perhaps.

Sonning summer madness

Three cheers to Monty Python fan, James Ruffell, for posting humorous signs outside his
home in the Berkshire village of Sonning, informing pedestrians that they were entering a
silly-walk zone and had to comply. Secretly placing a video camera in his front window, Ruffell was amazed to find that villagers of all ages did as instructed throughout the day. The results of his film are very chuckle-worthy with all manner of mad walks being created by locals. Monty Python’s ingenious silly walks sketch is probably one of its most famous and has stood the test of time as Sonning has proven in a moment of lock-down fun.

The novelty wears off

When lockdown was first eased in Soller, you couldn’t move for runners, walkers, cyclists
and speed-walkers on the promenade early morning in the port. In all my years of running in the area I had never seen so many novice fitness freaks and so I took to the mountains to avoid the crush. A few weeks on, my new companions have melted into dust. This morning there wasn’t a runner to be seen, and I was only aware of a solitary cyclist and a few walkers and SUP boarders.

The novelty value of being allowed to exercise was palpable in our town in the first weeks
but as with all things, novelties die. I think it’s probably a good thing. My town’s lack of
fervor for running is probably a barometer for life returning to a new-normal and surely that has to be a good and positive thing?

Anna Nicholas’s first Majorca based crime novel, The Devil’s Horn, is out now. It’s
available at all good bookshops & via amazon.