Thursday, 11th May, 2023

[Day 1151]

Today is my birthday which always puts you in a good mood when you wake up. I have rigged up one of the ‘boomboxes’ I bought some months ago in the bedroom and did not like very much the CD disk that I kept in the system. So I changed it for another of the ClassicFM CD collection and was delighted that the second piece along was the Adagio (2nd, slow movement) from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. This, I first heard at the age of 13 when my music teacher/dorm master smuggled in into the dormitory of the attic dormitory where there two or three of us were in bed suffering from the Asian flue epidemic of 1957. We were were none of us very ill, as I remember, but at its height as many as two thirds of the class was off with the flu. This particular piece also has a particular resonance for me as my son won the school’s music prize playing it when it was 13. After that, locomotives, photography and girls (in no particular order) displaced the clarinet and what happened to it remains a mystery. Being a Thursday, I went off to do my regular weekly shop and then got back to do a quick shopping unpack, breakfast preparation and getting ourselves ready for our little trip out today to Waitrose. My sister called to pass on some birthday greetings and as she reads this blog regularly she knows all of my routines. I sympathised with a recent fall she has had in the kitchen (reaching for a high shelf) and passed on what I hope was some useful advice to stop this re-occurring. Once we were in Waitrose, I made straight for the cakes section and although I intended to buy a fruit cake, I was tempted into buying a special chocolate birthday cake. Meg and I were joined by one of our Tuesday friends and we shared the chocolate cake out between the three of us, my Irish friend who had just popped into Waitrose and some other cafe regulars. My Irish friend had bought me a wonderful present of a pack of special beers and a glass with which to drink the same. So, after a pleasat morning and chat, we returned home to finish off the meat balls of which we ate a half yesterday but today complemented with baked potato and some mange-touts. After some quite ferocious rain, the clouds rolled away to quite a bright afternoon and even Miggles,our adopted cat, turned up to give birthday greetings (in exchange for some titbits).

At my request, our son has bought me a birthday present of a very well reviewed book (‘Johnson at 10 – The inside story’) and this arrived by today’s post. As I am half way through another book, I have let Meg have first ‘go’ at this book but I suspect that once I get into it, I will read it with a kind of fascinated horror. According to at least one review of the book which brought it to my attention, Johnson exhbited a pattern of oscillating between the demands of his wife, Carrie on the one hand and Dominic Cummings on the other. It seems that often a policy was announced in the morning which, when the staff were trying to put it into effect during the day, was soon to be reversed and countermanded half way through the afternoon. Incidentally, my son and daughter-in-law gave me a birthday card which is of the best I have received over the years. It shows a young boy about 7 years old (looking quite like my son at that age) with a spanner in his hand. The text reads ‘As a child, their Son had learned loads of things from watching his Dad do D.I.Y. Mainly, words beginning with F and B’

There was a most extraordinary outburst by Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons in Parliament today. It was occasioned by the fact that Kemi Badenoch, The Business Secretary, had announced a significant change in Government policy (not to shred all of the retained EU legislation before the end of the year) in the columns of ‘The Daily Telegraph‘ instead of announcing it first to the House of Commons. Badenoch was summoned to the Commons on Thursday to explain the decision, having confirmed it in an article for this morning’s Daily Telegraph. An angry Hoyle told her it was ‘highly regrettable’ she had announced the move in the press not to MPs. He admonished her saying ‘We are elected to hear it first not to hear it in the Daily Telegraph. Who do you think you are speaking to?… I am not going to be spoken to by a Secretary of State who is absolutely not accepting my ruling’ Over the years, there has been several regrettable lapses of Commons protocol in which policies are pre-announced to the media and the Speaker of the day has got more and more upset about this. But I must say, I have never heard the Speaker use such angry words or give such a strict dressing down to a Government minister before. At the same time, the Brexit wing of the Tory party are furious with Kemi Badenoch because they see the (quite unrealistic) pledge of shredding all of the 4,000 pieces of retained legislation before the end of year as a betrayal of their pure Brexit principles. But the government are worried that some incredibly important environmental and employment legislation might ‘die’ leaving us in a worse situation than before.