WELL, it’s sort of getting better.

All kinds of easing started as a super sunny May gave way to June. I caught a curious twelve horse race from Newcastle on TV, run before empty stands with masked jockeys. Looked like something out of The Lone Ranger. Then there was a run on barbecue meat as the world and his wife took advantage of open air socialising, firstly in fours, then sixes and then …er… as you like for many. The aroma of charred flesh filled our valley. Still, better than the traffic fumes of a couple of months ago.

Then there were the lemmings. Durdle Door in Dorset saw several bids for a Darwin award (for those whose stupidity results in their genes being removed permanently the human race). Special recognition must surely go to the clowns who, having witnessed horrific injuries to those who thought they’d go in for a bit of tombstoning from the top of the cliff, decided to have a crack the following day. What could possibly go wrong? Well of course it did and three more found themselves in hospital. Bonkers, as were all the others crowding that beach and several others along the south coast. Social distancing? Social cosying more like.

Monday’s return to school was certainly not taken up with the same enthusiasm. In the half hour I hung around St Mary Bourne school (Ofsted - Outstanding!) just a handful of youngsters were shepherded in by their parents. Doubtless the numbers will grow as people get used to the idea.

You can understand parental trepidation but once the climate returns to normal and there are a few more days of home schooling under rainy skies there’ll be perhaps more incentive to ship the little blighters back to school.

The extra fine weather has meant lots of swarming bees. Andover Beekeeping Association runs a highly efficient service picking up errant swarms. Here’s one I picked up after it perched on a birdbath in Nether Wallop. Safely captured it was transferred to a new beekeeper just getting going.

And so we enter a very uncertain period. No one really knows whether the easing up will stimulate a new spike in cases and concomitant deaths.

The Cummings affair put paid to the last vestiges of political nicety and there are ever growing dark mutterings about an enquiry, “When this is all over.” One element of the enquiry into our ability to cope with lockdown should be how the crisis exposed the nation’s woeful broadband. No one is immune. How many interviewed “prominenti,” from professors to cabinet ministers, have we heard disappear up their own fundament as their broadband fails? BT/Openreach should surely be held to account for their dismal performance. Couple that with the terminological inexactitudes (or outright lies) from pretty well all broadband providers about so called “high speeds” and I’m not sure a few hangings wouldn’t go amiss, as endured by 18th century admirals, “To encourage the others!”

Still, some things are immutable. We fishermen were cheered by the annual stocking of the village lake by the redoubtable Michael who tankered 150 fat trout up from the stews of Alresford. We’re just thirteen in our SMB syndicate which I suppose makes us more exclusive than the Test’s Houghton Club with a crowded membership of twenty five.

Finally, tip your hat in farewell to Bob Weighton, at 112 the UK’s oldest man, who died last Friday in Alton in his flat run by that excellent charity, Brendoncare. His motto? “Far better to make a friend out of an enemy.” RIP.