Tuesday, 21st February, 2023

[Day 1072]

Today being a Tuesday is the day to which we look forward because we meet with some of our pre-pandemic friends in the Waitrose coffee bar. As it turned out, there were four of us today and we formed a jolly little group, exchanging all of our gossip of the week. In fact, some of the Waitrose staff came over and had a chat with us as well – I think they rather enjoy seeing some of the old crowd back together again and although we try not to be especially noisy, we do tend to have more than our fair share of laughter. I suspect that one of the reasons why we all look forward to these Tuesday morning gatherings is that three of us are all looking after spouses with similar conditions and needs, so it is a bit of therapy time for us carers so that we can have a bit of a chat and a joke and it helps to get us through the week. Tuesday is also my Pilates day so I have to ensure that after we have got home, I have got my Pilates kit ready and that Meg is well supplied with food, drink, TV, newspapers and music if necessary so that she can look after herself adequately whilst I am out of the house for a couple of hours. All worked well today and I had put some food in the oven so when I return there is a hot meal waiting for us which can be dished up within minutes of my return. The local cat who has adopted us, Miggles, tends to espy me from a great distance and come running towards me when she sees that I have returned from a journey out. I encourage him/her to leap over the (tall) back door gate at the side of the house but being opportunistic, the cat will seize the opportunity to sneak in through the front door and generally make for the kitchen where there is a sachet of cat food to which he/she can look forward. Miggles also takes the opportunity to have a roll around on the ‘runner’ that we have leading to the back door in our utility room outside the main kitchen and has a particular penchant for head rubbing my gardening and other outdoor shoes which are housed there. Miggle never had a very loud or distinctive purr. As purring is such a distinctive thing, I thought I would find what the internet has to say on the subject and discovered that ‘The purr of the cat originates in the brain. The brain sends neurological messages to the muscles of the larynx (voice box) that causes them to twitch at a rapid rate – 25-150 vibrations per second. Then, as the cat breathes, the vocal cords separate and create the purring noise. Every cat has a unique purr sound – some purrs have a high pitch, while others are just a low rumbling. Some purrs are so very faint you can hardly hear them, while champion purrers sound like miniature engines. The act of purring releases endorphins within the cat’s brain…‘ Well, all I can say is that Miggles did not use to audibly purr and now does quite a lot, so I must be doing something right.

Tomorrow is going to be an interesting and intensely ‘social’ day for us. For a start, our domestic help calls around and this is always the occasion for the exchange of much chat, often involving family members. Then in in the morning, our Italian friend is going to call around for a coffee and this will be a great time for all of us. Then in the late afternoon, after an email this morning, I am going to videochat with a University of Winchester friend with whom I have not been in contact for some time and we have a lot of news to exchange with each other (principally about family members that we are helping to cope with various afflictions).

The political news today is rather dominated by the efforts of Rishi Sunak to come to a final resolution of the ‘Northern Ireland’ Brexit problem in which the hardliners of the DUP and in the UK, the hardline Brexiteers organised into the ‘European Research group’, seem determined to try to wreck any deal in which they perceive that UK sovereignty is not paramount. To my (simplistic) mind, once any group or government engages in any collaborative activity, one’s freedom of manouvre is always ceded somewhat in order to achieve the common good. In the Brexit case, though, one gets the impression that hatred of anything ‘European’ is so visceral and deep-rooted that no compromise or deal will ever be sufficient. The Times this morning is reporting that several Ministers are threatening to resign if they do not get their way over the Northern Ireland protocol and this ‘threat’ is making negotiations more and more difficult, although it is reported that a deal is very near but not quite achieved. Rishi Sunak could always say ‘Good – I will accept your resigation’ and then if they vote against the Government, the whip is withdrawn and they are effectively thrown out of the Conservative party. This is exactly what Boris Johnson did to the likes of Anna Soubry, David Gauke, Dominic Grieve and several others so why not use exactly the same tactic against the extreme Brexiteers?