Friday, 3rd March, 2023

[Day 1082]

Being a Friday, it was a day when we might meet up with some of our Waitrose gang. We were delighted to meet one of our pre-pandemic friends and, shortly afterwards, our University of Birmingham friend turned up and we spent a hilarious half hour or so. I am not sure what we find to laugh about but laugh we do. We spent a certain amount of time talking about the films and TV series in which we have taken particular enjoyment and then it was time for us to leave, but not before we had done a little bit of shopping for extras. When we got home, we watched some of the political news of the day on the BBC2 Politics programme just after midday and then it was time for lunch. As we cooking a bought haddock pie in the oven, I parboiled some sprouts (which I wanted to use up) and a carrot cut into sticks and then finished them off in the oven with some oil and a dollop of honey. All in all, we had a very pleasant meal. After lunch, we used the BBC i-player to catch up up the next episode of a series that we are starting to watch and which has been recommended to us by several people.

Feeling refreshed after lunch, I decided to have a further little ‘go’ at the occasional mahogany table which I restored yesterday. There was still the faintest sign of a circular ring so I attacked this with a kettle of boiling water, a tube of toothpaste, some stain, some furniture polish and a hairdryer in various combinations. To my dismay, but not complete surprise, I succeeded in dispersing the original stain somewhat but to a wider area of the table so being somewhat perfectionist, I had a an imperfect renovation now made somewhat worse. However, I did various rubbings way of the stain I had used and the furniture polish and then reverted to a warmed dishcloth with quite a wide weave and a drying off on paper towel. It now did not look too bad so I put it back into place, complete with a little coaster mat in each corner and table lamp the design of which is a near perfect match with the coasters. Once I had got everything back into place, to my amazement I could scarcely tell in which corner I had been trying to effect improvements. Perhaps the hairdryer had faciliated the removal of some stain inducing water vapour from underneath the varnish but in any case I now have a table which is completely ‘fit for purpose’ which does not look evidently damaged as was the case when it was purchased and which is now renovated to my satisfaction. I think I draw three morals from this little saga. The first of these is undoubtedly to ‘quit whilst you are ahead’ and know when to stop improving things. The second is not to try to be too perfectionist in one’s little activities but try and find a sweet spot between the ‘this will do’ point and the point where the repair is as good as it can be. The third point is that in any handicraft or do-it-yourself activities, one can be beset by a host of misfortunes (when things do not go quite right) and fortunes (when things, by chance, turn out just right and sometimes better than anticipated)

There are two big political stories today which the Tory party are desperately trying to link together. The Committee on Privileges is the House of Commons committee investigating Boris Johnson for misleading the House of Commons over the illegal drinks parties held at the height of the pandemic in Downing Street. Today the committee has published its initial report, saying the Commons may have been misled multiple times. For his part,Boris Johnson has taken to the airways claiming that the interim report vindicates his account that he was not informed of the illegality of any social gatherings. The second story is the fact that the senior civil servant who investigated and then reported upon ‘partygate’ (Sue Grey) has now been appointed by Keir Starmer as his ‘Chief of Staff’ – an enormously powerful role if and when the Labour party forms the next government. Some members of the Tory and in particlar Nadine Dorries, an ecstatic Boris Johnson supporter, is arguing that Sue Grey was evidently a closet Labour party supporter, was not therefore impartial and therefore the whole enquiry which led to the resignation of Boris Johnson was in effect a stitch up. Most of the informed comment is that these two events are not connected but the timing of the two events within 24 hours of each other is unfortunate. Boris Johnson will give oral evidence in about three weeks time and they wil have to determine whether Johnson knowingly misled Parliment. ‘Knowingly’ wil be hard to prove – and does the Committee on Privileges use the criteria of ‘balance of probabilities’ or ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ Even if the Committee does find him ‘guilty’ the sanction imposed will be interesting – beyond a suspension of two weeks or so, then Johnson could be subject to recall by his own constituency association where he does not have a huge majority in any case.