Monday, 12th December, 2022

[Day 1001]

Today I knew it was going to be a ‘crunch’ day for our Christmas cards as time is rapidly running out for us. Tomorrow we are going on a lunch-date to Oxfordshire whilst from Wednesday onwards, we shall be in Yorkshire. Thinking about all of this, I appreciated quite early on that it was an absolute priority for us to get the Christmas cards written and despached as soon as possible. Consequently, I decided to make this my major task this morning and I did thank my lucky stars that at least I had all of the materials I needed for the task. For many people,it would seem quite a simple task and I suppose it is possible that I am making it somewhat complex than it needs to be. Often though a Christmas card is the one way to keep in contact with lots of friends and neighbours and I feel the need to supply a minimal amount of information about what has been happening to us over the past year. I have one particular label which gives details of how Meg’s health is progressing and this I have done for the last year or so. Then I have another label whih gives all of those details that cannot be fitted onto a normal address label such as my mobile number, web home pages and blog addresses. Finally, I attach a simple address label that lets people have our current address details. I write an individualised little message which often runs along the lines of ‘I hope that we can meet again in 2023 as soon as the weather improves ‘or similar. There were some frustrations en-route, becase occasionally an address has not fitted in its entirety upon the gummed label and I have to rescue the missing part from an adjacent label and then cut it off with a pair of scissors and do a careful lining up and afixing job. I was delighted to get the bulk of the Christmas cards written and ready for despatch by 1.00pm but then I have to go and prepare a mega fast lunch before we are due to go out this afternoon.

This afternoon, Meg and I fulfilled an appointment with a large legal firm here in Bromsgrove in order to process some legal work that we are having done. This firm has been recommended to us but we have not used them before but nonetheless, we took along our two forms of ID which is increasingly necessary these days. We had a very fruitful appointment and were dealt with by friendly and professional staff who instilled some confidence in us. From this point on, everything will probably be handled by email and/or text message but evidently the first ever meeting has to be ‘in the flesh’ as it were. This transaction being successfully undertaken, Meg and I then joind the long (but not extraordinarily long) queue in the Post Office in order to buy our Christmas stamps. We had three Christmas cards destined for Spain and although, in theory, Saturday was the last day for guaranteed posting for them, we are pretty confident they will arrive on time (assuming that Spain dos not have the number of pending strikes that we do) In the meanwhile, we bought our quantum of stamps and were delighted to get them into the system. It is rather an off-putting, though, to hand over £10s of pounds, then stick them on a series of envelopes and finally dispose of the envelopes via the large posting bin. The number of Christmas cards that I have posted is somewhat down this year, more because of deaths and ‘lost’ addresses than any other factor but I am sure that the total number of Christmas cards in the system will be quite radically reduced by now, particularly after the last price increases making a first stamp stamp in the region of £1. Today seems to be the last ‘official’ day for the postage of Christmas cards so we are delighted to have our cards into the system as it were – hand delivered ones can now wait until a bit before Christmas Day itself.

The local news media has been filled with news of the tragedy when four boys fell through the ice in a lake in the Solihull area. It seems that one boy got this leg stuck in the ice and three friends came to his assistance. In the event, all four of then fell into the water and the extremely cold temperatures meant that they all suffered cardiac arrest, of whom three could not be revived and the fourth is still in critical care. I am just waiting to see if in the days ahead there will be calls blaming the local authority for not putting up signs warning people against the dangers of walking on thin ice in freezing conditions. This has not happened yet but I am waiting to see if this emerges in the days ahead. One has to ask whether the children in question were being adequately supervised by parents but more details will no doubt emerge in the days ahead.