Friday, 31st March, 2023

[Day 1110]

We slept in for quite a while this morning – after an early morning cup of tea, we both fell fast asleep and consequently were running to chase our tails for most of the morning. Our domestic help called around today and we always seem to have a lot to chat about. Eventually, Meg and I got ourselves together and breakfasted and then went out on the road to collect our newspaper. This having been done, we then went in search of an out-of-town Age Concern shop which our domestic help told us about as being incredibly friendly as well as reasonable. So we found the shop without very much ado and thought we would see what they had to offer. The shop was absolutely teeming full of people, perhaps because it was such a wet day outside. In any case, although we did not find new clothes of Meg’s size, there were several designs of skirt that we could eaily have bought if they had been of the right size. My eye did alight upon quite a stylish mahogany table lamp which we purchased. When we got it home, our domestic help and I gave it a good polish up and a minor running repair before we installed it on a similarly shaded mahogany table in our newly refurbished music room. It already had a ‘soft light’ very low energy 3W lightbulb and so provided a beautiful occasional lamp source that fitted in well with our existing scheme. I must add that our domestic help and myself share the same weakness if it be such, which is to locate an item in a charity shop which looks a little neglected but is more than rescuable and with only a little tender, loving care can be rapidly turned around. So that was quite a productive morning’s work on a day when it was raining cats and dogs at sporadic intervals and was not the sort of a day where much of a walk was in prospect.

An interesting political development is coming to us from across the Atlantic where Donald Trump has been indicted by a Grand Jury in New York and will probably appear in a court next Tuesday. There are many curious parts of the American legal system which is a bit difficult for this on this side of the pond to get our heads around but here goes. For a start, th exact nature of the charges against Donald Trump will not be revealed until they are ‘unsealed’ by a judge next Tuesday. Negotiations have already taken place so that Donald Trump will not appear in handcuffs when he makes his court appearance next week – the interesting question is whether he will be fingerprinted as well which is part of the normal procedure. One would have thought that it might have been an ‘open and shut case’ given the known mendacity of Donald Trump but the inside story is that it might be quite difficult to get the charges to stick, particularly if the lawyers drag out the proceedings. Even if convicted, there is nothing in the US constitution that would debar Donald Trump frrom making another bid for the presidency. It seems that Donald Trump and his supporters might even be relishing the indictment as it is feeding into a narrative that it is a politically inspired witchhunt typical of the technigues used by authoritarian regimes to hound anybody who dares to oppose them. If America was not divided enough politically, then this case will serve a culture war of the highest intensity between the Trump supporters and his detractors. There does not appear to much of a middle ground in the contemporary USA. The Democrats for their part and the rest of us neutral observers are not really throwing our hats into the air at this stage. Trump has a multitude of legal actions still pending against him, many of which (such as mis-stating his income in order to evade taxes) and there are some of Trump’s prosecutors who are privately worried that if Trump successfuly evades this particular legal action, he may well be able to use it as a precedent to argue that every one of the charges against him is politically motivated and hence it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that he may escape legal sanctions. One is tempted to think of other miscreants in high office such as Silvio Berlusconi who managed to somehow come up smelling of roses despite a multiplicity of evidence and legal charges against him. Those on the extreme right of politics (Berlusconi and Trump) with expensive lawyers and a conservative minded judiciary can often evade the justice that one would imagine would be meted rapidly to lesser individuls i.e. the rest of us.

An interesting report into the workloads of teachers has been commissioned by the Department for Education (dfE) but not released – for fairly evident reasons. Almost a quarter of teachers in England are working 12-hour days, according to a leaked government report. Some 22% of teachers said they were working 60 hours a week or more. The research, commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE), was carried out in Spring 2022 and has not yet been made public. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has said a new taskforce will be created to help reduce teachers’ workload by an average five hours a week.