What can I say?  Up until now, I have been sharing a house with an extremely annoying fitness fanatic who has been steadfast in her refusal to imbibe.  However, yesterday was her birthday and, following the inevitable Bucks Fizz whilst opening her generous gifts, she insisted that her brother make margaritas.  Big mistake!  The sun had departed and there was a wind blowing which put a dampener on our afternoon in the sun but, floored by Manny’s lethal margaritas, we ended up being entertained by Dominic in the Rose Garden!  Who needs Disney?!

Where did this guy come from?  Looking at him, I would be inclined to say the pavement on George Street but, apparently, he is as indispensable to Boris as his – brush?  No, only joking, his trademark golden mop, itself.  Suffice to say, he has dug a hole for himself but refuses to oblige by disappearing into it.  Just another government figure who believes himself above – and is prepared to mock – the proletariat whose lockdown regime he has been instrumental in devising.  A lockdown which has seen his fellow countrymen confined to their homes, most separated from cherished family members.  The instructions – his instructions – were clear, making little allowance for venturing beyond one’s door.  The majority acquiesced, believing it for the greater good, unaware that there was an unwritten loophole for those and such as those.  To be more precise, Catherine Calderwood, Neil Ferguson and Dominic Cummings; that is, the ones who have been caught.

Following the news of Mr Cumming’s dash to Durham, there has been a deluge of footage of him outside his house swotting the media away with an accompanying air of disdain.  Laughably, demanding social distancing, I have heard him declare that his whereabouts, and reasons for, are none of their business!  Dressed appallingly for a man in his position, he is constantly in t-shirt and joggers, his demeanour – suitably fitting – matching the dress and attitude of a dour teenager.  This is Boris’ Chief Adviser?  Just when one believes it couldn’t get any worse.  Watching Boris leave for Prime Minister’s Questions, last Wednesday, I could swear he was wearing a mis-matched suit but, as ever, the hair detracted from any faux pas of attire.

So.  Dominic Cummings in the Rose Garden at No. 10.  Firstly, why?  As Alastair Campbell said, today, one could liken it to Monica Lewinsky giving a press conference in the Oval Office!  Wholly inappropriate, given the circumstances, but a statement from Boris?  The media anticipation of his arrival was only heightened by his tardiness which I deemed, at once, both arrogant and insulting; a view given further credence by his appearance!  Here was a man, for all intents and purposes, fighting for his career.  Caught, red-handed, flouting his own lockdown rules and, now, at the mercy of the media, one could have been forgiven for expecting some remorse; some humility.  Nope!  Not Dominic.  He pitched up half an hour late, casual as ever in chinos and an over-sized linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up.  Seriously?  This is our Prime Minister’s right-hand man, almost in charge of our country!  Did circumstance not demand some respect?  What was he doing?  Well, of course, he was collaborating with Boris but he inflicted further insult by blaming traffic.

I confess, as he embarked on his page upon page of fiction, I did feel sorry for him!  He was, visibly, nervous and I felt he was, now, a rabbit in the headlights.  I abhor anything resembling bullying and, in that moment, he seemed one who was being picked on …  Get a grip!  As he persevered with his essay, it progressed into the realms of fantasy; an enfolding drama demanding of pathos courtesy of a profound lack of friends and, ultimately, the very real prospect of damaged eyesight!   Worst of all, it revealed the necessity of a round-trip to Barnard Castle – on his wife’s birthday, no less – to ensure he could see, sufficiently, to enable the 260-mile drive back to London the next day.  Now, that is worthy of sympathy, surely?  In all the questioning which followed, however, not one journalist asked if his wife could drive!!

It was embarrassing – and increasingly frustrating.  This guy, lounging behind a table in the Rose Garden, had never intended to show remorse.  Instead, buoyed by the unswerving support of his boss, his arrogance was tantamount to insolence.  Ultimately, a futile exercise.  Or was it?  His confidence spoke volumes; volumes as to his relationship with a Prime Minister who seems prepared to fall on his own sword.  The Rose Garden, the late arrival, the casual attire, the fictional short story, the arrogance where there should have been remorse … all, merely, represent a gross mis-judgement in the intelligence of the people.  Did I write that?  Well, at least some of them!  Therein lies the mistake, though.  Big mistake!  Boris’ big mistake!  Did anyone mention blackmail?  Never!  I’m with Audrey in that I still believe in fairy tales.  Seemingly, we are not alone.

There is many a monster who wears the form of a man; it is better, of the two, to have the heart of a man and the form of a monster.’

Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Beauty and the Beast.

This is Trish, signing off.