Friday, 27th January, 2023

[Day 1047]

So the end of another week and we were looking forward to see which, if any, of our acquaintances would turn up to Waitrose for a morning coffee. We did coincide with one of our pre-pandemic friends and as we did the last time we met, we exchanged some words of mutual support for how to care for ailing spouses. Our friend seems to be having a particularly hard time at the moment as she herself has health problems of her own and the assistance that she often needs to give to her husband does not fall within the window of time slots afforded by the care slots allocated to her. I told her the story of my mother who, when she was recovering from a broken hip and needed a care package at home, often had some difficulties with the care assistants who had been allocated to her. Her increasing deafness undoubtedly made for all kinds of communication difficulties. The thing that she found distressing (and I suspect that this is a very widely shared feeling) is that she was never quite sure when the care workers would make an appearance. There never seemed to be a regular care worker and therefore it was difficult to establish any kind of social relationship. I suspect that my mother had great difficulties in making her needs felt and from what we know of accounts of care workers themselves, they only have small increments of time in which to perform whatever duties thay have been allocated in the care plan. The question always remains, of course, whether we walk exactly in the footsteps of our parents when we approach their age. It does seem, though, as though we come to inherit the worst rather than the best of the characteristics of our parents but hopefully we can all learn from their example either positively or negatively. When we got home, we cooked a very nice dinner of smoked haddock with mangetouts and a baked potato and, as an experiment, tried a small smidgeon of sweet chilli sauce to see how it would work out (which, in the vent, was very well indeed).

This afternoon, we had a quiet afternoon as we were were expecting the visit of our chiropodist with whom we have a monthly appointment to help to keep us both super mobile. Before she was due in the late afternoon, though, we did enjoy a little concert of some Palestrina of which we just happened to have a CD. We both find this baroque music extremely relaxing. Primarily known for his masses and motets, which number over 105 and 250 respectively, Palestrina had a long-lasting influence on the development of church and secular music in Europe, especially on the development of counterpoint. This may well not be everybody’s ‘cup of tea’ but once in a while, it is an extremely good listen. I am still experimenting with all of the facilities on my Polaroid BoomBox and one which is extremely useful is the Bluetooth option. This means that I can play any of the hundred or so tracks that I have (somewhow) stored on my very much outdated iPhone selectable from anywhere in the room. The actual range of Bluetooth is some 10 metres or 33′ but I have never experimented with anything other than a few metres.

I follow Beth Rigby, the Sky News interviewer and analyst quite closely because she often seems to get to the heart of a story way before the BBC or other channels. She is now saying (as are many other commentators) that Rishi Sunak’s integrity is taking a hit as he prolongs the pain over the Tory party chairman. As one minister pointed out to her on Wednesday, what really mattered here was not the conflict of interest of Mr Zahawi being the chancellor while he was in dispute with the HMRC or what the PM knew when. What matters here is the naked optics of a cabinet minister receiving around £27m that he did not initially pay tax on when people were struggling to make ends meet. It is always interesting when fellow Cabinet ministers do not rush to the support of any of their colleagues when it evident to practically everybody that there is no long term future in the government. Meg and I tuned in to ‘Question Time‘ on BBC1 last night to get the view of ‘the man in the street’ (which happened to come from Scunthorpe on this occasion) and all of the panelists and the vast majority of the audience wanted Nadhim Zahawi to go now – one or two audience members thought we should wait until the results of the enquiry are known (like Rishi Sunak’s desperate effforts to play for time) but the general mood of the public is clear by now. Sir Rod Stewart, a prominent Conservative party supporter until hitherto, has now had enouh and has got into contact with Sky News to indicate (yesterday) that he had changed his allegiance as he said: ‘Change the bloody government.’ Naturally, this is like manna from heavan for the Labour Party and for us most of us observers the question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ the resignation and ultimate fall from grace will happen.