WHAT a surprise! Last week I indicated that all was clearly not well with the contact tracing app being trialled on the Isle of Wight. This week it was abandoned in favour of something off the shelf, involving the likes of Google and Apple. Tech savvy countries like Germany were down that route weeks ago, thinking it better than trying to reinvent the wheel. So why were we so slow? Well, as with so many government IT initiatives, it’s probably because of too many vested interests. Civil servants, who want to gather everything under their skirts and experts, losing objectivity in the face of professional rivalries.

Harsh? I don’t think so. How else would we have lost so many millions of taxpayers’ money on failed IT projects, particularly in the NHS? Look at the mixed performance of government online facilities. Renewing your tax disc by internet is a doddle, achieved in seconds. But try using the NS&I website to buy premium bonds for your grandchildren and you enter a world of pain. There will be bleats about security no doubt, but every day I do extensive online banking courtesy of Barclays. It’s a smooth and fast experience. The fact is they depend on excellence as part of their business model. If it went pear shaped, heads would roll. Heads never seem to roll in government.

So what’s the solution? Firstly, don’t overpromise. Boris unwisely heralded the Island app as, “World Class”. Turns out it wasn’t even “Wight Class,” prompting dark thoughts that our PM is behind the curve, either through post viral underperformance or, being grounded in the classics, totally out of his depth when it comes to science. Secondly, avoid overblown, gold-plated solutions; simplicity, fit-for-purpose, and good-enough should be the watchwords. Thirdly, look across the world for inspiration first; “not invented here” shouldn’t be a barrier.

Boris was playing more to his strengths welcoming the quarantine-excused French President, Emmanuel Macron to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle’s wartime broadcast. Clearly bored with the humdrum of flying down the Mall, the pilots of the Red Arrows led La Patrouille de France south to the Bourne Valley using our house as their turning point. Nice to have one’s own personal flypast and, I am sure you’ll agree, no more than I deserve.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Stymied by the lockdown, Livvy S had to rapidly rethink her newly created Bourne Valley Supper Club as clearly, we couldn’t all pile into hers for an evening of gourmet jollity. Cue, a few weeks later, the Supper Club “delivered”. What a treat! Gazpacho, hogget rump, asparagus, topped off by strawberry tart - all the ingredients sourced locally and beautifully packed in recyclable containers, with clear instructions on how to bring the food to table in optimum condition. This is going to be a monthly treat for St Mary Bourne and the surrounding villages.

The week also saw all our Hampshire Hospitals say goodbye to their last Covid patients - let’s hope for good. Once more the people of Southampton have been pressed into service as guinea pigs for a new Corona test involving saliva rather than having someone challenge your gag reflex by shoving a swab stick down your throat. I hope it works as we’re all much more comfortable with spitting than choking.

Finally, Father’s Day was made complete for me by taking my four-year-old grandson X down to the lake to catch his first trout. Blow me it was a big one - a three and a quarter pound brownie! His enthusiasm and excitement is the kind of infectiousness I can deal with.