Tuesday, 3rd May, 2023

[Day 1142]

I feel that this whole week is a countdown to much more significant events happening at the end of the week (the local election results, the Coronation, our coronation party) Nonetheless, today was going to be quite a busy day but we started off as we always do with a chat with the couple of old ladies who are our pre-pandemic friends, meeting of course in the Waitrose café. We always have a jolly time and today was no exception. One of the things we discussed was what we were going to wear to whatever social events were being organised in connection with the coronation. Principally, it was a matter whether to be patriotic and to wear something red, white or blue or not to bother at all. In my own case, I was already contemplating whether to wear the batik shirt, I acquired whilst I was teaching for a term in Indonesia whilst I was working for De Montfort University. Batik is a traditional method of fabric dying and by applying wax, waiting for it to harden, and then submerging the fabric in dye, the batik method produces beautiful and unique designs and patterns. If the weather is fine, I shall wear this shirt but if we are forced indoors, I have an alternative which is a completely over-the-top psychedelic tie I just bring out for occasions like these, when it is often a conversation stopper. Before we went out this morning, I received a telephone call from our Italian friend down the road and she informed us that she had been invited to the party on Sunday. As I was passing the house of the organisers, I said that I would pay the small financial contribution we are throwing into the kitty to pay for the costs of the food whilst we are all bringing along our favourite tipple, either for our own consumption or those of friends. On the way back home from Waitrose, I popped off at the house where the party is to be held to hand over our friend’s contributions and find out exactly at what time the junkettings were due to start. Then I went down to my Pilates class and apologised for missing last week’s class at short notice as it was the day that Meg and I seized the opportunity to go and lunch with the ‘Old Fogies’ down in Winchester. Walking back up the hill, I was stopped both by our Italian friend and another acquaintance who is going to be at the party as enquiries were being made of Meg’s state of health. Naturally, we are looking forward to the party and there will be about 15-16 of us, most of whom we already know quite well. As an example of ‘wheels within wheels’ the couple who came to the house for afternoon tea just over a week ago are also going to be at the party so this is a good time for us to extend the chats that we had with them the other day. One must say that as summer beckons, there are more and more opportunities for social events and in particular ‘garden party’ type events that are always so enjoyable as we can generally walk to them so not have to be unduly concerned with drinking and driving conflicts.

This evening, I am scheduled to attend the church committee meeting which takes place every two or three months. These are generally quite business-like events but whilst I am out of the house, I am dropping Meg off with our Irish friend whilst I am out of the house for a couple of hours. One never quite knows how these meetings are going to pan out but generally if agenda seem quite light, then discussion expands to fit the time allocated – but if the agenda is full, then it is similarly curtailed to fit the space available. Tonight we are going to be discussing, inter alia, refurbishment of the Parish community centre which would appear to be a simple matter but, in practice, is surrounded by a thicket of planning applications over issues such as windows.

Almost inevitably, a lot of our thoughts are turning to the Coronation of King Charles on Saturday. One little issue which is quite amusing is the famous ‘Stone of Scone’ which traditionally had been purloined by the English from the Scots in centuries past and was incorporated into the Coronation throne. This was being ‘lent’ by the Scots and is now on its own bed of velvet looking material surrounded by two Scottish guardsmen. This is just as well because the Stone of Scone was stolen from the Coronation throne. On Christmas morning, 1950, the stone was stolen from Westminster Abbey by Scottish nationalists who took it back to Scotland. Four months later it was recovered and restored to the Abbey. This event hit the news again quite recently as the last of the Scottish Nationalists who had been involved in rescuing the stone for the Scots and getting it back to Scotand again died recently, being in his 90’s. There is a long range forecast for Coronation day next Saturday and it looks as though we may have a lot of rain in the afternoon – seventy years ago, it poured with rain all day long when Queen Elizabeth was crowned.