BLACK lives matter. Undeniably so. And so do white lives, those of brown and yellow skinned people too, plus, dare I say it, the lives of people like me, the product of a young, newly-minted Pakistani naval officer (born Indian and just four years a Pakistani following partition in 1947) and the rather brave young Englishwoman who married him nearly 70 years ago. Since then there has been progress on race but not enough.

We were all appalled by the viral video of George Floyd’s death. Among the St Mary Bourne chatterati there was a shaking of heads as we puzzled over yet another bizarre aspect of the American way. The UK demos were another thing entirely. Black lives matter, but clearly not enough to properly social distance. Predominantly young demonstrators calculated they themselves were at minimal risk but appeared oblivious to the prospect of infecting older and other vulnerable lives. They matter too.

A minority targeted police as “part of the problem”. Comparing British police with Minnesota’s law enforcers let’s remember the infamous Mayor Daley’s words when someone had the temerity to criticise his Chicago police. Comparing British police with those of Minnesota, Mayor Daley would have said is like, “Comparing chicken salad, with chicken sh*t!” What suitable soubriquet for the violent mob who desecrated the Cenotaph and Churchill’s statue and criminally pulled down Colston’s statue in Bristol? Next day, inevitably, an older black council worker cleaned up the graffiti not the youthful perpetrators. Queer sort of job creation scheme.

Whilst knowing what they’re against, the demonstrators don’t seem to have much idea about what they’re for; how to achieve their Nirvana. Here’s Voltaire in Candide: “Let dreamers dream the worlds they would, those Edens can’t be found. We’re neither pure, nor wise nor good, we’ll do the best we can.” But we must do better.

In our ordinary world, Hampshire continues to lead the quest for a vaccine. Trials out of Southampton University look promising. Now they need volunteers over 70 and, with the UK’s success in reducing infection, for subsequent trials stages researchers are looking to Brazil, where the pandemic is still raging. President Bolsonaro, with his faith in the anti-viral power of prayer, can’t be all bad. There’s still talk of a vaccine by September. We’ll see.

The economy-driven easing of lockdown means, essentially, we are now playing a mass game of “chicken”. The test, trace and track campaign seems to have stalled. The Isle of Wight app trial has also gone quiet. Technology can offer solutions but you need the will to make such solutions work. Technology could have solved the socially distanced voting issue in Parliament. Instead we witnessed the risible sight of MPs queuing for a kilometre taking 90 minutes to vote as opposed to the few seconds offered by an electronic system. If our leaders cannot get their own house in order what hope is there?

Trouble up the valley at Vernham Dean. Some meanie complained to the parish council that drinkers were illegally gathering on the forecourt of the pub to consume pints. Currently off-sales only are permitted. The result? Knots of drinkers now spread themselves throughout the centre of the village. I hope the complainant is satisfied.

Back in St Mary Bourne, consternation in the village shop at the absence of watercress. It’s normally supplied by Vitacress who grow acres of the stuff on the southern edge of the village. With lockdown staff shortages, cress had failed to make the half mile to the shop. A quick call to the MD and we’re assured normal service is being restored. Such small gains make life bearable.