Tuesday, 9th May, 2023

[Day 1149]

Today being a Tuesday, the week reverts to its normal rhythms. I must say that after the excitement of the local election results last Thursday night and all day on Friday, the Coronation on Saturday, our street party on Sunday and a rain-filled tidying up day on Bank Holiday Monday, it is rather reassuring to get back into a more normal routine again this week. The weather today is a fair mixture of sunshine and showers but even so, a lot more pleasant than the totally gloomy day of yesterday. This morning after we had picked up our copy of The Times, we made for Waitrose where we found three of our friends waiting for us – a fairly typical happening on Tuesdays. I told the assembled company a joke in the form of a riddle I had heard a few years ago but had totally forgotten until very recently. This is ‘How does an agnostic, dyslexic, insomniac spend his time?’ to which the answer is, of course, ‘They lie awake all night wondering if there is a Dog’ I admit you have to concentrate little to get the full meaning of this, but there you are. After this, Meg and I go home and I got myself turned out for my normal Pilates class which involves changing into my tracksuit bottoms and then taking down my rolled up Pilates mat and a rucksack with bits of kit inside. The weather on the way down was a little indeterminate but I left five minues earlier to make a slight detour into town to buy a couple of birthday cards. One of these was a week late (which, unfortunately, is maintaining the tradition of the last year or so) whilst the other birthday is tomorrow so I am hoping that putting a first class stamp on it and getting it into the post by 1.00pm is time enough to get it to Oxfordshire by tomorrow. May is quite a heavy month for birthdays because there is a cluster of colleagues from the University of Winchester all of whose birthdays fall in May so I always need to consult my diary in plenty of time to get these cards posted off in time. The two friends to whom I posted off cards today received appropriate cards, one with a ‘cat’ theme and the other with a ‘computing’ theme. However, I must say that many birthday cads these days are very often adorned with glasses of liquor as though on is going to spend the whole of one’s birthday imbibing from morning until night. Although I enjoy a glass as much as anyone, the birthday card writers seem to assume that it is the most important part of one’s day. After I returned from my Pilates class today, Meg and I enjoyed our traditional treat for a Tuesday which is haddock fish cakes and some of those ‘quick cook’ vegetables that only take about three minutes in a microwave. This way, upon my return from Pilates, I get a meal put on the table in just a few minutes.

Tomorrow being the second Wednesday of the month, Meg and I will probably go out to the social event organised by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Age Concern which is held in the village hall of a neighbouring village called Finstall. On our first visit last month, we made the acquaintance of some people who not only worshipped in our church but with whom we shared some common aspects of our biography, both having lived in Manchester for several years as well as having travelled in both Spain and Mexico. We also renewed our acquaintance at the party held down the road on Sunday afternoon but I forgot to ask if they were also going to attend tomorrow. Tomorrow, the theme of the morning is going to be ‘Photographs of old Bromsgrove’ that is not going to be very meaningful to Meg and myself as we have lived here for less than sixteen years but I am sure will be much more meaningful to most of the people there. Who knows what other contacts and potential friends we might make on our visit tomorrow so I think it is a case of ‘nothing venture, nothing gain’

The story of the arrest of those demonstrating against the Coronation continues to unfold. This morning on Radio 4 it was announced that the Met Police had expressed regret at the arrests and an officer had even gone round to the home of the leading light of the ‘Republican’ party to offer an apology. The Met story keeps changing however. At first it was said that the arrests were made under the ‘old’ public order legislation but then it was admitted that the arrests were made under the ‘new’ legislation brought into force a week ago, largely to counteract the efforts of protestors in the ‘Just Stop Oil’ campaign who had been using techniques such as ‘locking themselves’ onto immovable objects to make their point. Later on this afternoon, the story is changing yet again. Sir Mark Rowley, the head of the Met, says the arrest of six anti-monarchy protesters was ‘unfortunate’ – but insists his officers were seeking to thwart what he describes as a ‘criminal network’ in which tins of paint were to be thrown in the course of the procession. All six were released without charge. But it is interesting how the story of the arrest, the apology and then the further elaboration keeps changing over time.