Monday, 6th March, 2023

[Day 1085]

Today was the first day in what may be a particularly cold snap and the weather forecasts show the cold air descending from the north and the east. A cold weather alert has been issued for all of England as much of the country braces for snow and icy conditions. The Met Office has already issued a yellow warning for snow and ice which is set to come into force tonight for Midlands, much of Wales and the Southeast, including London. Being a Monday, we never expect to bump into any of our park friends nor did we fancy exposing ourselves to some icy blasts. Nonetheless, we decided to make the best of a bad job and, having picked up our newspaper, we did journey to the park. There we decided to walk towards our normal bench but we had not provided any coffee to take with us. So we sat on the bench just long enough for Meg to eat her customary banana whilst I had a small orange. Then we retraced our steps back to the car and our little strategy has worked, in that we had taken some fresh air and exercise but not tarried too long to get chilled by a long sit down. Then we got home, had a packet soup to warm ourselves up and then I proceeded to make lunch.

Yesterday, the news came through that the United Nations has finally, after some fifteen years, decided on a new law of the sea which will protect some 30% of the earth’s oceans from predation by fishing, mining, or other polluting activities. I think I heard it correctly that the migration routes of whales are similarly protected. This is extraordinarily good news for the planet and the UN delegations seemed filled with justifiable emotion at their success. When this new UN resolution was discussed in the media, I saw a contribution from Dr Hannah Fry who is a British mathematician, author and radio/TV presenter and well known to most TV viewers by now. She used a phrase which struck me as being amazingly prescient when she mused that ‘Life is lived forwards but understood backwards’ I was intrigued by this expression and wondered whether she was the author of it or whether she was quoting another authority. The exact quote is this: ‘Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.’ and the author is the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. I must admit that I prefer the juxtaposition of the two sentiments that Hannah Fry gave voice to yesterday. In a similar vein, I remember once being told that ‘you always try and take the correct decision at the time’ which, again, is a bit of a truism. We none of us attempt to take incorrect decisions at important junctures in our lives but some decisions (e.g. shall I move house this year and to where?)may turn out to be extremly fortuitious and on the face of it a ‘good’ decision whereas it is possible that you make a leap out of the (proverbial) frying pan and into the fire. So sometimes our decisions turn out to have been very good ones, others may turn out not as would have liked but none of us ever tries and wants to make an incorrect decision.

This afternoon, we spent a certain amount of time listening to music on Radio 3 and ClassicFM whilst doing some routine tasks, such as making sure our accounts are up to date and going through some saved copies of newspapers to make sure that interesting items are cut out and filed away. These are often health-related issues and one that I came across was the recent research on how to keep your concentration levels and focus high throughout the day. Not surprisingly, it was a judicious combination of diet and exercise which constitute the recommendations here.

There seems to be a bit of a bitter row going on within the ranks of the Tory party this afternoon (but I suppose this is hardly news any more). The scale of the rancour and emotion over Boris Johnson and the decision by top official Sue Gray to work for Labour was on display today in a WhatsApp exchange obtained by Sky News. In a series of messages on a group chat this morning, allies of Johnson clashed with other Tories who warned against criticising the decision by Sir Keir Starmer to hire the author of the partygate report. The leaked WhatsApps show the depth of division between allies of Johnson and the rest. In case one might have thought that British politics could not get more disreputable, a story is emanating that in his resignation Honours list (the right of every ex-PM) Boris Johnson is nominating his own father for a peerage. He has already done the same for his own brother who was briefly in the cabinet but who then resigned. Apparently Johnson has submitted a huge list with about 200 names upon it and this is still bein ‘considered’ within the Cabinet Office. Rishi Sunak may have a word in it as well – but this is certainly on the ‘murkier’ side of our political life as pure nepotism would appear to be the order of the day.