Monday, 29th May, 2023

[Day 1169]

The day and the new week dawned bright and cheerful even though it is a Bank Holiday. Reflecting upon the football results of yesterday, I realised that I had lived in the three cities of Leicester, Southampton and Leeds all of whose teams were relegated from the Premier division recently – Leeds and Leicester yesterday and Southampton some days beforehand. As a counter factual, I had also lived in Manchester just round the corner from City’s previous ground and they won the Premier. Last night, Meg and I felt that we wanted to watch an opera but we did not want one that extended beyond two hours. What we found on YouTube was an absolutely stunning production by the Vienna Philharmonic featuring a very young Luciano Pavarotti and Ingmar Vixell. Whilst I was checking the spelling of these names I discovered this Amazon review: ‘This Rigoletto with beautiful tenor Pavarotti, the great Ingmar Vixell and Edita Gruberova is superb. It is an orgy of sound and a rejoice for the viewer’ With all of this I concur absolutely. This production was one of those where the action does not take place in an opera house but in real locations, such as castles, manorial houses, lakes and so on. In this type of production, the camera can also focus intensely on the faces of the singers during important arias, duets and quartets and I think it is fair to say that we were absolutely spellbound by it. Many people regard this as one of the finest productions of Rigoletto ever made.

Meg and I made a venture out into the park today, not wanting to venture too far afield on a Bank Holiday. Whilst we were in the park and chatting with an acquaintance, we received a telephone call from our University of Birmingham friend who wanted to pay us a visit. There was quite a cooling wind in the park today so we did not want to tarry too long. When we got home, accompanied by our friend, he accepted our invitation to stay for lunch and then spent the early part of the afternoon with us. Later on, I consulted my emails and found that one of our University of Winchester friends had read of my ‘adventures’ with my front door key yesterday and emailed me with some very useful tops and suggestions. I have found a good solution to my errant key problem. Firstly, I hunted around in a drawer and located a little leather key case complete with its own little chain. This will do the job but I have also discovered an almost concealed litle leg pocket on my cargo trousers and this is fastened with a Velcro strip. So my key now fits snugly and securely in its own little pocket from which it should never escape.

Boris Johnson has been pursued by British reporters, particularly from Sky News, and repeatedly asked questions asked about the ways in which visits and meetings have been referred to the police to see if any more COVID regulations were transgressed both in Downing Street and at Chequeurs. Johnson’s response is to fulminate and to say that all of these allegations are ‘total nonsense’. Reports in the Sunday Times indicates that Johnson feels that the Cabinet Office is actively plotting against him and, from what one reads, the present government is full of factions who mutually loathe each oher. Some blame Rishi Sunak as the person most responsible for starting the sequence of events that led to Johnson leaving Downing Street. Others believe that Johnson is ‘yesterdays man’ and regards all of the machinations around him as a distraction from the real problems faced by the government at this time.

This afternoon, I thought as the weather was fine it was opportune to give the car a much needed wash. Naturally, I was supervised all afternoon by a lazy cat, Miggles, who sprawled out in the sunshine and made sure that I did an adequate job. The cat is opportunistic in the extreme and if the front door, or even the back door, is open a chink, does not fail to take the opportunity to sneak inside. I am pretty convinced that Miggles has a cunning sort of intelligence because he seems to sense which rooms have not been visited by him before and so makes a beeline for them in order to explore them – curiosity killed the cat. The cat had to be ejected on two occasions today but at least does not object to being bundled up and cast into the exterior. Next week we have an appointment to see the car dealer about a possible updating of our model of car but the supply chains are incredibly stretched with shortage of some key components (chips from China?) so we may have to think about the next car some five or six months before the change. It seems quite difficult to ascertain what colour ranges are available to us this time around but I may settle on a colour called ‘Sand Khaki Pearl’ which is the essence of blandness with nothing about it to particularly like or dislike. However, several cars ago, I seem to remember having a car in a similar livery and, if my memory serves me correctly, hardly shows the routine road grime at all.