bemoans the lack of enticing mail landing on his doormat. I have two suggestions for him: subscribe to more magazines and support more charities! We are so addicted to magazines that our schedule looks something like this:
(a habit I can't bring myself to give up)
London Review of Books
(as essential to my wellbeing as the Scottish Review
(now a vital guide to what to listen to on streaming music services)
(we're both former art history students)
World of Interiors
Artists and Illustrators
Current World Archaeology
(archaeology was a childhood obsession, and this is a fascinating read)
Woodland Trust magazine
This ensures that, most weeks of the year, there are one or more deliveries to look forward to. How do we manage to read them all, you may ask? Well, we don't buy newspapers! Radio 4 and online news feeds keep us up-to-date. And some of these titles, of course, are just for perusing, while others demand to be read cover to cover.
In a lengthy and carefully planned career (believe that and you'll believe anything), one role I have never played is an investigative journalist. It always seemed an odd idea to me brought up on the principle that one of the functions of a reporter was to ask questions to establish the facts and then present them clearly. The big trick was to find out something that other newspapers had not – a scoop, as it was called.
Investigative colleagues (usually equipped with recording devices on their telephones) seemed to not do not much more but spend a long time over it. Anyway, they did their thing and the rest of us got on with reporting and trying to get scoops. This week, however, I went off-piste as they say, and joined the investigative band – maybe a shade late at four score years and seven – but with real enthusiasm.
The cause was a parcel in the post bringing us seven Rapid COVID-19 (Antigen) Self-Tests, supplied by NHS Test and Trace. Remembering the test and trace shambles so ably created by Baroness Dido Harding, I examined the box carefully. The tests had been manufactured in China and a wee internet check revealed they were no longer approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration. They were distributed in the UK by Sensus Group Ltd, whose address is The Barn, Tednambury Farm, Sawbridgeworth, Herts.
According to Endole, who list company registrations by postcode, 165 companies are registered at that address. Google maps, perhaps inaccurately, delivered a photograph of a wooden building housing a car wash. Sniffing like a bloodhound, I delved into Companies House, where Sensus Group Ltd (Global Life Science Registration and Compliance Experts) was incorporated in 2017. According to its last unaudited accounts, it had £69 cash at bank, two employees, and £91,691 current liabilities.
Inspired by this evidence of their business acumen, I look forward to making full use of their COVID-19 test kit. Just what to do with the results is another matter... perhaps something for a real investigative journalist.
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