Wednesday, 4th January, 2023

[Day 1024]

Today was the day when our domestic help calls around and together we set to in order to take down the Christmas decorations. Fortunately, it was a case of ‘many hands make light work’ and the major work was probably the ‘undressing’ of the Christmas tree. We have managed to get everything we needed in a neat pile and tomorrow my son and I will make a venture into the loft where we store everything in a neat pile such that it is instantly findable next year when we repeat the exercise. In fact, last year once the Christmas tree had gone, the hall seemed so bare and denuded of light that I almost immediately went out and bought a plain but very tasteful occasional lamp which runs on an incredibly economical LED-based light bulb where the costs even at today’s inflated prices are a few pence a year. We tend to leave this on during the night time and as a daytime security light when we leave the house so it has resumed its place and its role in dark corner of the hall. Today, we got several Christmas cards which may either have been posted late or else got delayed in the stike-prone Christmas post. But another thing that arrived by today’s post was a little solid but extendable conventional solid aerial to go on our legacy Sony system to replace the white cord that looks a little unsightly, even if disguised. The new little aerial works like a dream and had a variety of connectors supplied with it to maximise the chances of a successful fitting. I find that in particular location, I get the best possible connection on Classic FM (fortunate!), followed closely by Radio 4 but Radio 3 tends to be quite a challenge (presumably because of the paucity of people who listen to it and therefore low transmitter power?) Because this aerial has worked so well, I immediately sent off for another one as they were cheap enough and this can then replace the one remaining wire aerial we are still using.

Eventually, although it was quite late by this time, Meg and I set off to collect our newspaper and then go for a saunter the length of Bromsgrove High Street. We called in at our neighbourhood Poundland and as well as buying some cleaning products, we found two more of the little plastic containers that they stock which has the advantage of having a little handle and also happen to be just the right size to accommodate about 20 CD’s. I have some more CD’s arriving in a day or so after an offer of mine was accepted on eBay and so any ‘currently played’ CDs are available quickly to us. Incidentally, whilst hunting around my other CD stocks which I have in about three places, I discovered a set of three called ‘Classical Calm’ and so these have become an addition to the stock I have in the proximity of our kitchen system. We did have a browse in some of the charity shops and bought a stunning and stylish looking little fabric utility bag, well protected with a lot of zip compartments and complete with a couple of matching purses. We did not see anything else that took our fancy and therefore made getting home a priority so that I could get on with cooking a late pasta meal.

Rishi Sunak has been receiving a lot of press coverage this afternoon as he attempts to give the current government some degree of vision for the future. The current pledges are to to halve inflation, to grow the economy, to reduce debt, to cut hospital waiting lists, and to stop migrant crossings. Many of these will happen anyway such as inflation coming down- and is growing the economy of 0.01% next year really worth the paper it is written on? Some commentators, such as Beth Rigby of Sky News, have pointedly asked the Prime Minister why when the NHS is on its knees and there is a massive cost-of-living crisis, an unelected Prime Minister and the third in a row should be believed or given any credibility for a moment? Given the scale of problems that most families in the country are facing at the moment, the impression is rather being given of ‘the boy who stood on the burning deck’ This is a literary illusion which is quite well known but the full reference is ‘The boy stood on the burning deck. Whence all but he had fled.’ It is the story of Louis de Casabianca at the Battle of the Nile, a boy sailor who remains at his post until it finally explodes in a deluge of smoke and flame. The other story this afternoon is the news that as people are desperately trying to fight off seasonal coughs and colds not to mention ‘flu, the common over-the-counter remedies seem to be in very short supply. There must be a story within a story here but apart from factors being quoted such as ‘supply line deficiencies’ and ‘heavy seasonal demand’ I have not yet managed to find a plausible explanation why the country seems to be running short of such basic commodities. It all adds to the sense that the whole counry is falling apart before our very eyes.