Thursday, 2nd March, 2023

[Day 1081]

Thursday is my shopping day so I presented myself bright and early at the doors of the supermarket, which opened a minute or so early for a change. Then I got home and got the shopping unpacked and the breakfast cooked. Meg and I felt like a little toddle out rather than a full scale walk in the park and I had a little venture in mind. Meg came with me and fortunately, I managed to get parked fairly near to the shop that I wished to visit. This was the Age Concern furniture shop on the Bromsgrove High Street where there was a little piece that I have been wondering about. This was a delightful little mahogany side table but you could see why it had not been sold and was constantly rejected by people who walked past it. This was because in one corner there were was a fairly bad ‘white ring’ stain evidently caused by a hot cup of some kind and there were some very minor little scratches on the top as well. Nonetheless, I had a word with the furniture manager and I pointed out that she had it in stock for weeks and that it might be possible (or it might not) to alleviate the damage to it. We agreed a 30% reduction so I bought the table for £3.50 (the price of a cup of coffee, which is my unit of currency these days) and then, after lunch, I set to work giving it a general clean up and tackling the damage. At first, I tried my simple stain cover which I have used successfully in the past but this was not sufficient for the job, which was no surprise. So I went on the web to see that others had suggested. Apart from the hairdryer suggestion which I rejected there were two other home-made remedies. The first of these was to use a vinegar and olive oil mixture to rub into the stain but this was pretty ineffective. But then I tried another solution which was to try rubbing with toothpaste and a rag dipped in boiling water. After an appropriate amount of elbow grease, I managed to reduce the bad stain by some 80-90% which I think is about the best that can be achieved. I gave the finished product another slight coating of stain and followed it up with a bit of polishing up using a wet wipe designed for cleaning windows. This actually works by spreading out the stain to a beautiful fine and glossy patina so now was the time to get the table into position in the corner of the room lit by a small table lamp. I had a spare set of quite elegant coasters with a floral design that are a pretty good match for the lampshade so all in all I am quite pleased with my afternoon’s work and the effect I have been trying to achieve.

This afternoon there have beem several stories competing for attention on the airways, not least the discovery of the dead child born to the couple who have been avoiding the attention of the police for the last few weeks. The police have also indicated that the baby might have been dead for several weeks. But at last Boris Johnson has given his reaction to the deal that Rishi Sunak has negotiated and this has presented Johnson with a bit of a dilemma. In view of the favourable reaction of many Tory MPs and the fact that the DUP (Unionists in Northern Ireland) are still considering their position, then outright opposition is likely to leave Boris Jhnson out on a limb. Instead, he has given a rather nuanced response in which he is simultaneously arguing that ‘we have to hope’ that the deal is successful. On the other hand, he has indicated that he himself could not bring himself to vote for the bill and would find it very difficult to back it, not least because the bill of which he was the author to unilaterally suspend part of the NI Protocol will now have to bite the dust. In all probability, Johnson desperately wanted the Sunak initiative to fail and its very relative success is a constant reminder to him that Sunak had achieved with the EU a deal which had eluded both him and Teresa May. Some commentators are making the point that this refusal to back the bill presents Rishi Snak with a dilemma – does he withdraw the whip from Johnson which,in effect, expels him from the parliamentary party? There are some voices that are saying that Johnson has been well and truly ‘put in his box’ which is probaby a very accurate assessment of his position. The view in the Twittersphere is that Johnson is ‘toast’ and good riddance but of course the contributers to Twitter are hardly a reresentative sample. Again, this story may develop as the days unfold.

The final report into the Manchester Arena bombings some five and a half years ago has been published today and whilst criticism of our security services is rare, it does look as though MI5 have really taken their eye off the ball in this instance and the whole bombing episode should have been anticipated and averted.