Wednesday, 12th April, 2023

[Day 1122]

We knew that today was going to be quite a busy day so we got ourselves up and breakfasted with plenty of time to spare. The weather seemed fairly bright and sunny this morning but we knew from the weather forecast that we should expect some quite high winds today, as well as blustery squalls. When in 1973, we moved house in Wigston, Leicestershire there was a little name plaque on the front gate post which said ‘Finstall’. This was a mystery to us but one of our new neighbours informed us that she thought it was a little village in Worcestershire. Now that we have been settled in Worcestershire for so long, we know that Finstall is a village and civil parish in the Bromsgrove District of Worcestershire with a population of 663. To all intents and purposes, as Finstall is contiguous with Bromsgrove, it can almost be thought of as a district of Bromsgrove. We have never had occasion to visit Finstall as such before today but we aimed to attend an event in the village hall organised by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Age UK for those with memory difficulties and their carers. One of our Waitrose friends had told us about this ‘club’ and, upon consulting the web, we discovered that the club held an event every second Wednesday of the month so we decided to give it a try to see what was in store. We sat ourselves down at a table with two other couples and engaged in conversation wih them. It transpired that the lady who was opposite to us was actually born in Manchester, so this provided one avenue of communication between us as Meg and I met at Manchester University, our son was born in the local hospital there and my first teaching job was at a College pof Education in Manchester. But as our conversation developed, we found out that we were both worshippers at the same church (although typically at different services) and thus we had some contacts in common. Finally, the couple had travelled extensively in Mexico where our son had undertakn a year’s scholarship before he attended a university in the UK. When one thinks about it, this was an extraordinary set of coincidences (co-religionists, very familiar with a Northern town in which we had both lived and with an intimate knowledge of Mexico). The morning was structured around a Ukelele band which formed the backing group for a singalong of popular songs of the late 1950’s and 1960’s – I am thinking here of Connie Francis, John Denver and the like and we happened to know the majority of songs that were played. So we had quite a jolly sing-along washed down with tea and biscuits and the two hours allocated to the club meeting passed by very rapidly. In a month’s time, the theme is going to be ‘Photographs of Old Bromsgrove’ which I am sure is going to be a lot more meaningful to most of the participants rather than directly to Meg and myself but I am sure it will prove interesting nonetheless and Meg and I will certainly attend.

Meg and I dined on fishcakes which provided a fairly quick lunch for us with the minimum of preparation because our hairdresser was due to call around this afternoon. Our hairdresser was almost half an hour late but this in itself is not unusual and we still had to get ourselves ready in time. Soon it was time for the Skype call that we had pre-organised wih one of our Hampshire friends and so for about an hour and a half we enjoyed a wonderful session in which the time sped by. We have got quite a lot to say to each other, not to mention mutual support, as both of our wives are needing support with their various conditions. Hopefully, we shall actually see each other in the flesh, as it were, because the ‘Old Fogies’ dining club (ex-University of Winchester colleagues who meet up once or twice a year to chew over old times or the present political scene). Meg and I have just purchased our train tickets because we rather like ‘the train to take the strain’ when we engage on these litttle ventures. Instead of going to a suburban railway station and then on into Birmingham NeW Street and then onto the Winchester train we tend to short-circuit the whole process by travelling along the M40/M42 to Birmingham International. This way, we save about an hour and a half at each end of the journey which makes the whole day a bit less tiring. We also have another trip scheduled in about nine day’s time to Cheltenham where we have a lunch date organised with one of Meg’s cousins (or rather, daughter of a cousin). We have a lot to catch up when we do meet up because Meg’s cousins had spent some time in Paris and then also in Seattle before returning to the UK. As well, there are quite a lot of family news to impart to each other as children have establishd their own careers and are now making their own way in the world. I think we last met for our 50th wedding anniversary celebrations but that was five and a half years ago now.