Friday, 12th May, 2023

[Day 1152]

Today is the day when our domestic help calls round and we are always pleased to see her. This was so particularly so today as she had come along bearing gifts, namely some goodies for us to make a meal inside the house as a birthday treat. Needless to say, this was a wonderful gift and we will look forward to preparing these ingredients for our Saturday lunchtime meal. After we had chatted for a little, we got ourselves ready to trot down to Waitrose where we generally have a coffee with our University of Birmingham friend. But we got a telephone call from him to say he was delayed within the house awaiting a parcel that was due to be delivered later on that morning. Working out the logistics, we decided it would be a better plan to meet tomorrow and that is what we are going to do. We then prepared a flask of coffee and decided we would make a venture into the park – a little walk we have not done for several days now as little things like local elections, coronations and Bank Holidays have intervened. We had our normal elevenses whilst admiring the flowering trees from our normal park bench but then had a pleasant surprise as we were leaving. One of our ‘park friends’ with whom we did get on particularly well particularly during our COVID days espied us from a distance and popped quickly over the grass to make contact with us. We had a very pleasant ‘catch-up’ but we all thought it would be a great idea if we could meet for a longer chat over lunch rather than just a fleeting few moments in the park. So we have agreed a date for a week today in a cafe-bar that we used to frequent in Droitwich and used to serve some very good lunch meals – at least under previous ownership. Anyway, we are going to give it a go again in a week’s time and, even if the food is a little indifferent, I am sure that we will enjoy sitting down to have an extended chat and catch up on the lots of news that we have to exchange with other.

This afternoon, for the sake of anything else, we tuned into the ‘Parliament’ channel on the TV and caught some of the Lords debate on the Illegal Migration Bill. Practically every contribution that we heard was opposed to the Bill and I think that about 80 peers have indicated that they intended to speak. I do not think that speeches in the Lords are time limited and whilst I am sure that nothing as crude as a filibister will be attempted, the contributions of those wishing to speak will take some time. The Lords will no doubt pass several amendments to the legislation which will then return to the Commons. Then the government will have to decide whether to accept any of these amendments or to reject them all out of hand. Then the bill will return to the Lords and we may well have a ‘ping pong’ where the Bill bounces backwards and forwards between the Lords and the Commons. In the last analysis, the Commons will always (and perhaps should) have its way but the whole point of a Second or revising chamber is to get the Commons to think again if the proposed legislation is particularly contentious. As the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke early on on the debate labelling the proposed legislation as ‘immoral’ it is rather strange to hear right wing Tories in the present government claiming that their version of morality has so much more force than that advocated by tthe Archbishop of Canterbury. This one will run and run, I predict.

Our next door neighbour called round this afternoon to let us know that he and his wife will be away for the next eleven days whilst they go on holiday to one of the Spanish islands. At the same time, our newest neighbour from across our communal green area should be returning from a two week cruise of the Mediterranean so we seem to be an island surrounded by holiday makers at the moment. I must admit that there is a chance that we might make a trip to see our friends in Spain in September but at the moment the thought of airports and the hassle associated with them makes the whole concept of holidaying less attractive than it was. We normally head for Coruña in Norhern Spain where our closest Spanish friends live but the flights to Coruña are provided by a small airline called Vueing which only has slots from Heathrow. If we were to fly from Birmingham, we would have to change in Madrid or Barcelona which adds to the length and the ‘hassle’ factor so we will make up our minds a bit later on. If we feel the need for a break, we can alway go and spend a few days in Yorkshire where we can see my sister and other family members. My niece sent me a quick text yesterday wishing me a Happy Birthday and that reminds me that there are other friends that I need to text and see if we can meet up for a lunchtime rendez-vous.