Sunday, 16th April, 2023

[Day 1126]

It was a bit of a indeterminate day today after the beautiful clear skies and warm sunshine of yesterday. We did not really pay too much attention to the weather as we knew that, after the Laura Kuenssberg politics show, we would go down and meet up again with our University of Birmingham friend. It feels as though this is going to be a regular Sunday morning meeting but we always seem to have so much to talk about. We got home relatively early and started to think about lunch as we had some ham slowly cooking itself in the slow cooker. This was cooked to perfection, as it nearly always does, and we prepared some carrot (sliced into little thin batons and then after parboiling finished off with some oil and honey) We complemented this with some broccoli and had a very tasty meal, enhanced by a little honey mustard which I had bought some time ago but not had the opportunity to use. On consulting my mobile, I discovered two messages, both of which were pleasant to receive. The first one of these was the daughter of Meg’s cousin who we are going to have lunch with in Cheltenham next Friday. We are to be joined by her sister and husband who are journeying over from Derby so we are going to have, in effect, a miniature little family reunion and to repeat again, we have a lot of news to impart and to receive from other family members. The second message was from the daughter of the couple that we met in the club activity organised by Herefordshire and Age Concern during the week and whom we had invited around for a spot of afternoon tea. We have now agreed a date for just over a week’s time and this will be another engagement to which we can look forward. The daughter of the couple we have not met, as yet, but already we have quite a lot in common as she has spent quite a lot of her life both in Spain and also in Mexico. I am anticipating that we will spent a little of the time talking in Spanish with each other but I am sure mine will be somewhat rusty but I am hoping that bits of it will flood back all being well.

This afternoon, we thought we would be entertained by Leicester Tigers vs. Exeter Chiefs in a rugby cup match. For the first twenty minutes or so, they seemed very evenly matched and I thought that Exeter was playing the more adventurous rugby. But Leicester Tigers played incredibly good opportunistic rugby, capitalising on any Exeter handling errors or perceived weakneses. Eventually, Leicester assumed an incredible lead and won the match 62-19. What rather took the steam out of the match was that an Exeter player was issued a yellow card for an intentional knock-on. Later on in the match, in attempting to stop Ashton score a try for Leicester Tigers, he made a dive to prevent an Ashton try but only succeeded in making Ashton’s toe touch the line. This was adjudged to eventually be awarded a penalty try but the Exeter player was then awarded a second yellow, which then became a red and he was sent off for the rest of the match. The referee was applying the letter of the law correctly but to be awarded a red card for two unrelated technical offences might be thought of as being unduly harsh. An extraordinary and very amusing incident occurred towards the end of this rugby match. Chris Ashton of Leicester Tigers scored a hat-trick of tries and this made him one of a select few to have scored 100 tries in the course of his career. Upon scoring the try, he leapt over the barrier at the end of the pitch, seated himself in an empy seat on the front row and then applauded (his own try) by joining in the clapping and applause of the rest of the supporters. When Meg and I lived in Leicester, we never attended a Tiger’s match but we knew that they had a very strong and loyal local following. I arranged for a Spanish PhD student to have a term at De Montfort University because it is part of the ‘training’ progrm for a Spanish PhD that you spend a period of time studyig in a non-Spanish university. The student who came over was a very bright (and good looking) young man and whilst informing him about life in Leicester I said that he ought to go along to a Leicester Tiger’s match to experience a bit of the local culture. Although knowing nothing abour Rugby, he read up on the rules and certainly went to at least one match. But the photo that he sent to me showed him with two fellow female students, one blonde and the other brunette who he had persuaded to accompany him to the match. I sent the photo onto his supervisor (one of our own ex-students and a close family friend) showing her what happened to young Spanish PhD students when they meant to be hard at work in their ‘foreign’ university. I must say, in passing, that the student really enjoyed his stay in Leicester and derived lot of benefit from it, so I was pleased to have a hand in arranging it all.