Thursday, 1st June, 2023

[Day 1172]

Today is my shopping day and this all worked as smoothly as clockwork and having left before 8.00am to be there the minute the store opened, I was back on the stroke of 9.00am. Then we had to get ourselves up and breakfasted before we made our planned little trip out to Alcester, a pretty little Georgian town some 14 miles distant. We always eat in the same old fashioned hotel where they do a pensioner’s lunch for less than £9.00 and it is always more than you can eat. I phoned up the hotel to make a booking but they could only manage an ‘early’ or ‘late’ so we chose to eat at 12.15 As soon as we arrived in Alcester, we found a parking spot and then proceeded to our favourite coffee house. Quite close by was one of tbose little hardware shops that seem to be stuffed to the ginnels with all kinds of useful stuff – naturally, I could not resist a little walk round it. It is one of those shops where you think ‘How useful – I could use one of those’ and hence temptation had to be constantly resisted. I did not resist for very long, buying some stationery items that I felt that I really needed and also being tempted by one or two little items. I was on the lookout for some quite wide white tape for which I have a usage on occasions so I bought myself a reel. When I got it home, though, I found it was a specialised packaging tape because it had the word ‘Fragile’ printed along its length. I found this quite amusing and I am sure that there will be occasions when I need to post off fragile items. Alcester is well known for its charity shops which are a cut above those found in Bromsgrove and Droitwich, our usual haunts. We finished off buying two skirts for Meg of a pretty floral design which I am sure she be happy to desport herself in during the summer months. At the same time, I bought a shirt for myself and a clothes brush that was being sold off for 50p. I honestly only buy things that I think I am going to use regularly and this extends to kitchenware as well. And so it was time for an early lunch although I am not sure why we needed to be given this slot because there were a couple of elderly gentleman dining when we got there and, in addition to ourselves, a party of three elderly female friends turned up and that was about it for the restaurant as a whole. Because Meg and I have eaten in this establishment several times before, we are all well aware of how filling their lasagne and cannellonis can be and thse are always served with a wonderfully fresh salad with watercress prominent rather than your limp Webbs lettuce. So Meg chose a beef lasagne and I chose fishcakes but as the lasagne proved to be overwhelming for Meg, halfway through the meal we did a swopsy and finished off each other’s portions. So all of this worked out very well and we were well satisfied with our meal. We made our way back to the car via another two charity shops and then pointed for home. We were were actually home in half an hour but although the day had started off a little gloomily, it turned out to be a pretty warm day and so we treated ourselved to a bit of icecream and yogurt to help to cool us down.

After we had had our obligatory cup of tea, I needed to repackage an item I had bought from eBay and needed to return as the supplied photograph did not match the description and as such, the item was wrongly described and under the eBay rules I am entitled to a return and a refund. So after a repackaging job, Meg and I shot down into town and I took the item to the Post Office where I was quite happy to pay for a ‘signed for’ service and to be fairly confident it would be delivered back tomorrow or the day after. Then when Meg and I returned home, I spent some time putting the Post Office receipt through the scanner and sending this off to the eBay seller. This gentleman had unequivovally misdescribed the item but got pretty tetchy even when I (quite politely) pointed out the error he had made in misdescription and requested my refund.

At 4.00pm this afternoon, the deadline ran out by which time the Government should have complied with the request of the COVID enquiry to release unredacted notebooks, diaries and WhatsApp messages. The government have refused to comply by this deadline and are threatening a judicial review of the request for these documents. This is almost unprecented in that the government has set up an enquiry with wide ranging terms of reference and then will not comply with submitting the available evidence. One can only presume there is either a lot to hide and/or a lot of embarrassing detail that the government does not wish to see aired. So we are now set for a tussle in the courts between the Cabinet Office on the one hand and the official COVID enquiry on the other.