28 April 2022

Time Out of Mind

Not Dark Yet.....

Shadows are fallin' and I've been here all day
It's too hot to sleep and time is runnin' away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I've still got the scars that the sun didn't heal
There's not even room enough to be anywhere
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there's been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writin' what was in her mind
I just don't see why I should even care
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there

Partygate: A timeline of the lockdown gatherings

BBC, April 19 2022


The government has faced intense pressure over gatherings held in and around Downing Street during Covid lockdowns. Senior civil servant Sue Gray has said that many of them “should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did.” Here is what we know about them and the restrictions in place at the time:


15 May 2020


A photo from May 2020 showed the prime minister and his staff with bottles of wine and a cheeseboard in the Downing Street garden. When asked about it, Boris Johnson said, those people were at work talking about work.

The rules:


Legal restrictions at the time said you could not leave your house without a reasonable excuse and government guidance was that you could meet one person outside of your household in an outdoor setting while exercising.


This event is not being investigated by the police.

My diary:

Went over to Studham, parked by the church, walked across fields and then on Icknield Way skirting Whipsnade.  


20 May 2020


About 100 people were invited by email to socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden this evening. Witnesses told the BBC the PM and his wife were among about 30 people who attended.

Boris Johnson apologised to MPs for attending the event, saying he spent 25 minutes thanking staff, before returning to his office.


This event is being investigated by the police.

My diary:

Two short walks (total 3 miles) today - first at St Albans where Amanda tried all the cathedral doors again, and then Nomansland, where they have reopened the National Trust car park.  My right knee very painful today.  Home-made pizza  in evening; Amanda's hair wash, then final two episodes of The Sopranos.


18 June 2020


A gathering took place in the Cabinet Office to mark the departure of a No 10 private secretary.

This event is being investigated by the police.


We know at least one fine has been issued after the government's former head of ethics admitted receiving one and apologised for attending the event.

My diary:

A wet morning! But we drove to Wheathampstead and walked along the Lea to Water End and then back via the Ayot Greenway.  Not too bad! (4.8m).  Carer Sue came with Jen who may stand in for Sue next week.  I went to post and to allotment.  Amanda had gone back to bed but I got her up and she walked with Sue and Jen.


19 June 2020


On Boris Johnson’s birthday, up to 30 people gathered in the Cabinet Room at No 10 to present the prime minister with a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday, according to a report by ITV News.


No 10 said staff had gathered briefly to wish the prime minister a happy birthday, adding that he had been there for less than 10 minutes.


The rules:


Restrictions at the time banned most indoor gatherings involving more than two people.

This event is being investigated by the police.


We know at least three attendees have received fines from the police, with the PM, his wife Carrie Symonds and Chancellor Rishi Sunak all confirming they have paid fixed penalty notices.

My diary:

Grey morning, spitting a bit.  Drove to Ayres End and walked round Heartwood (3.7m); very green and grey and quiet, apart from the dog walkers.  Sue came pm - A in bed but I got her up and she had a nice walk.  I went to allotment.


13 November 2020


Sue Gray’s report said two gatherings took place in Downing Street on this date: one to mark the departure of a special adviser and one in the Downing Street flat.


According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the gathering in the flat where Mr Johnson and his wife live was to celebrate the departure of Dominic Cummings, the PM's former senior adviser. A spokesman for Mrs Johnson denies the party took place.


The rules:


Eight days earlier Boris Johnson had announced a new lockdown in England. Indoor gatherings with other households were banned, unless they were for work purposes.


These events are being investigated by the police.

My diary:

Drove to Nomansland and walked up to Wheathampstead, across to Coleman Green and back via Heartwood (4.2m).  Raining to start but cleared and good colours.  Jen came and took A out and I rode my bike to Nomansland and then up to Beech Hyde Lane and back via Nomansland (8m).


27 November 2020


A leaving event was held for No 10 aide, Cleo Watson, where people were drinking, and Mr Johnson made a speech, according to sources.


This event is not being investigated by the police.

My diary:

Drove to Nomansland and walked through Heartwood to Hammonds Farm and back.  Hard frost and thick mist - very beautiful (4.1m).  Jen came for the last time and walked Amanda, while I rode my bike to Childwickbury Goats and back.


10 December 2020

The Department for Education has confirmed it had an office gathering to thank staff for their work during the pandemic. It says drinks and snacks were brought by those who attended and no outside guests or support staff were invited.


The rules:


Eight days earlier, London had been placed in restrictions which banned two or more people from different households from meeting indoors, unless reasonably necessary for work purposes.

This event is not being investigated by the police.

My diary:

Drove to Wheathampstead Cricket ground; walked up and across to Beech Hyde and Cromer Hyde and back via Heartwood.  Grey but quiet and pleasant (3.8m).  Then to pick up Kinder Brioss etc from Buongiorno Italia (St Albans).  Sue came and I rode to Childwickbury Goats.  FaceTimed Ben.


14 December 2020


The Conservative Party has admitted that an unauthorised gathering took place at its HQ in Westminster. It was held by the team of the party's London-mayoral candidate, Shaun Bailey, who has since stepped down as chair of the London Assembly police and crime committee.

In December, police said they would be contacting two people who attended the party.


This event was not included in Sue Gray's report.

My diary:

Drove to Nomansland and walked through new Heartwood and then back over Heartwood to Nomansland.  Great sky but very wet underfoot (4m).  Eva here for Amanda.


16 December 2020


The Department for Transport has apologised after confirming reports of a party in its offices, calling it inappropriate and an error of judgment by staff.


This event was not included in Sue Gray's report.

My diary:

Drove to Redbourn and walked via Nicholls Farm to the path above Trowley Bottom.  Very muddy and quite windy but not rainy. (4.5m).  Very wet and dark - Sue came for A but didn't go out.


17 December 2020


A leaving party was held at the Cabinet Office for the outgoing head of the civil service Covid taskforce - the team responsible for drawing up coronavirus restrictions.


Kate Josephs, now chief executive of Sheffield City Council, apologised for the event, saying she was truly sorry that I did this and for the anger that people will feel as a result.


A second gathering was held in the Cabinet Office to hold an online Christmas quiz for the Cabinet Secretary’s private office.


A third gathering was held in No 10 Downing Street to mark the departure of a No 10 official.


These events are being investigated by the police.

My diary:

Drove to Startops End and walked round the reservoir and along the canal.  Bright morning but still very wet underfoot (3.3m). Did not see much.  Sue took A out for a good walk pm while I rode to Childwickbury Goats. FaceTimed Ben.


18 December 2020

Downing Street originally denied a report by the Daily Mirror that a party took place in Downing Street. However, a video obtained by ITV News showed the prime minister's then-press secretary Allegra Stratton, joking about reports of an event, saying: This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.


This event is being investigated by the police.

My diary:

Very grisly morning - drove to the Bridgewater Arms and a had a pleasant but muddy walk round the Ashridge Golf Course (3.2m).  Very wet and grisly in the afternoon and not feeling great.



Well, I've been to London and I been to gay Paris
I've followed the river and I got to the sea
I've been down on the bottom of the world full of lies
I ain't lookin' for nothin' in anyone's eyes
Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there

I was born here and I'll die here against my will
I know it looks like I'm movin' but I'm standin' still
Every nerve in my body is so naked and numb
I can't even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don't even hear the murmur of a prayer
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there

Not Dark Yet

Bob Dylan

Time Out of Mind


Yeah, I bent the rules a little - I may have driven a mile or two more from my home than recommended;  I may have gone out twice a day when the rules prescribed only once.  


Perhaps I will get a fine?

But, with the exception of our paid and licensed carers who visited to help look after Amanda, we saw NO ONE during the lock down periods.

Once a week I would stand on my doorstep, at 8.00pm on Thursdays, and clap the NHS, despite an awkward feeling that this wasn't really helpful and that it was somehow condoning the extraordinary wastefulness and probable cronyism of the ruling party.....

The above is a very simple list of dates when the Party Monster was having a happy time and we (Amanda and I) were eking out our miserable existences in a world where our only hope was that we could go somewhere for a three mile walk each day.  



With thanks to the BBC


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