Wednesday, 5th April, 2023

[Day 1115]

The weather forecasters indicated to us that a band of rain would sweep right across the country and they were surely correct. It was one of those days today when it seemed to be spattering with rain for most of the day and although not cold, it was not really the weather for a walk in the park or a day out. First thing in the morning (well, at 8.01m actually), I telephoned our doctors to get an appointment for Meg to be seen and was fairly surprised not to have an engaged line. I did secure the position of No. 14 in the queue but the queue advanced fairly rapidly and I secured a telephone appointment with the same doctor who had adjusted Meg’s medication the other day. So Meg and I got ourselves up and dressed and breakfasted and then the dotor phone at about 10.00am in the morning which was OK. After an initial round of questions, I indicated that I really did want Meg to be seen in a face-to-face consultation with the doctor. This was agreed to and we had a slot allocated to us at 12.10 in the late morning which was quite good by today’s standards. So Meg and I had a quiet morning and then set off to collect our morning newspaper and also popped into Waitrose to top up our supplies. We got to the doctors just in time and had quite a fruitful consultation, all things considered. The GP conducted some tests to rule out certain ‘nasties’ and then gave us some some useful advice so we felt that we had not had a wasted morning. Then it was home and a lunch of quiche, broccoli and tomatoes.

This afternoon, we had a quiet time both reading and listening to ClassicFM and we are getting ready to go out for the day tomorrow once I have got the weekly shopping done and put away. Much of this is weather dependent but all of the indications are that we should have a reasonable trip out tomorrow. If all goes to plan then we quite enjoy ourselves having a coffee in an excellent little coffee shop and browsing through a range of absolutely excellent charity shops from which we rarely return empty-handed. To complete our day out, we go to one of those large and frankly quite old fashiond hotels which always puts on a superb ‘pensioners lunch’ with all of the ingredients freshly prepared and a very satisfying dish – normally a lasagne or something similar. This afternoon, I took the opportunity to take out our green and brown bin ready for emptying first thing in the morning and, whilst I was at it, I also take our neighbour’s bin along the drive to the kerbside (necessitated as we live on a private road and the dustbins have to be dragged to a particular location so they can be emptied.) Our next door neighbour called round and we had a nice little chat. I consulted him about the planter that we intended to install straight in our eye-line when we are enjoying a warm summer afternoon sitting on the bench in front of the house.

Our pleasure, if that is the right word, at the Trump indictment and the sight of him being put before the courts is a little short-lived. The informed commentary today is to the effect that Trump’s army of well paid lawyers may well find ways of delaying or dragging out the proceedings. In any case, the ‘trial’ proper is not scheduled to start until December or even January which seems quite a long time gap in any case. But there are some legal experts who have opined that any trial might be delayed until 2024 or even 2025 and the prospects for a prosecution success are far from certain. Even if convicted and fined, Trump’s potential candidature for the nomination of the Republican party has been considerably boosted as have the donations to the Donald Trump cause. One of his aides has said that Trump has received $7 million in campaign donations since the indictment and even if this is an exaggeration, there has certainly been a massive boost to campaign funds. I should not be surprised if, with incredibly weak systems of accountabiliy, a lot of these funds find their way into the pockets of Trump’s lawyers as well.

Yet another home grown scandal has emerged today. A Conservative MP has been caught indicating he would be willing to break parliamentary lobbying rules for money in an undercover sting operation by The Times. Scott Benton, the MP for Blackpool South, met undercover reporters posing as employees of TAHR Partners, a fake company lobbying to influence government policy, at a central London hotel in March. The newspaper contacted a number of MPs offering paid work as an expert adviser. Mr Benton responded and suggested he would be happy to be paid between £2,000 and £4,000 a month to help the fake company. Surprisingly enough, none of this is regarded as newsworthy for the BBC Newsdesk. What saddens me about this malfeasance is that it feeds into the popular feeling that ‘politicians are all the same’ and whilst there is venality amongst all MPs, I do think that the levels are higher in the current governing party.