Saturday, 29th April, 2023

[Day 1139]

Today was a beautiful and bright spring day but Meg and I nonetheless had a little lie-in this morning. Then it was a case of showering, breakfasting and getting ourselves down to the park. We picked up our copies of the Saturday newspapers and I ascertained what time our local newsagent would be open tomorrow and Monday as opening times can be very variable when Bank Holidays are around. We lunched on some tuna salad which was easy to prepare and just as well because the real ‘shoot-out’ match between the English and French Rugby teams was scheduled to start at 1.00pm. There has been a big build up to this match as Engand and France completely dominate the rest of this year’s opposition. The match started with the French holding a lot of possession, awarded several penalties and hardly let the English team have sight of the ball for the first quarter of an hour. But then the England team ‘clicked’ and suddenly discovered their game plan and natural form and ran in about five tries before half time so that when the interval came, they were beating the French 33:0. But in the second half, the French became a lot more fluent and inventive and also there is a sporting cliché that it was a game of two halves, this was particularly true today. England scored one try but the French scored 33 points (which equalled the England half time score) by running in try after try. But the clock was against the French women and they ran out of time before they could have overhauled the English. One did get the impression that if another 20 minutes was played, the French could well have won this match. But as it stands, the English team were the Grand Slam champions this year which they deserve when putting all of their performances together.

Looking forward to next week, it is going to be quite an eventful week one way or another. After we have the Bank Holiday over on Monday, I have a Committee meeting at the church committee on Tuesday. This meets about once every two or three months and we hope to get all of or business transacted by 9.00pm in the evening which is late enough. On Wednesday, we have a physiotherapist calling round to the house to give Meg an assessment – this had to be ‘pushed for’ through our doctor so it will be interesting to see what he has to offer. Thursday is election day and, of course, nothing happens until the election results start to pour in in the wee small hours of the morning. These are actually local elections upon which the conventional wisdom is that one cannot read too much into the results. But on this occasion, the contests and the results are almost being treated as a ‘dry run’ for the general election which wil be held probably next year. The next United Kingdom general election is scheduled to be held no later than 28 January 2025 but winter elections are never favoured because of the difficulties of campaigning in the winter months, and there is Christmas to contend with. So the political parties may decide that it is better to hold the next General Election in the late autumn of 2024 so the local elections held this year may well be the last big test for all the political parties before the next General Election.I will probably stay up until about 2.00am by which time the general trends should be clear. Of course, some authorities may not start counting until the next morning which means that a lot of the results trickle through on Friday morning. Saturday, of course, is the day of the Coronation so these junketings will take place all day long. The ceremonial parts of these displays of pagentry leave me a little cold but I always look forward to the musical contributions which promises to be a blend of the ancient, the traditional and several new pieces composed for the equation. This coronation is going to be quite scaled down in comparison with 1953 but I think this is quite a sensible policy. For a start, we are living through a period in which living standards are severely depressed and over-ostentation does not seem to be a sensible policy. Also, of course, the degree of monarchial sentiment amongst the young is fast diminishing so that is probably another good reason to keep things within reasonable bounds. On Sunday, Meg and I hope to attend a Coronation party with our friends down the Kidderminster Road – I imagine there will be abot a dozen of us altogether.

This afternoon, as the weather was so fine and the rugby match over by 3.00pm, I thought I would make a start on a little bit of outside gardening. My maim object of interest was to attack the overhanging grass and the weeds in the kerbing which separates our communal green area from the roadway – as this is what visitors to the house might notice when visiting the house, I do have a vested interest in making it look at least tidy. I managed about half of the long length abutting the roadway which is a little more progress than I thought.The other half can be finished off tomorrow if the gods of the weather smile upon me.