Saturday, 3rd June, 2023

[Day 1174]

The spell of fine weather is continuing so Meg and I were more than happy to get ourselves up, breakfasted and prepared to make a visit to the park. We wondered who we might meet in the park today as we have not visited the park quite as regularly as has been our habit during the years as we have tended to make more of a visit to Waitrose over the past month or so. As it turned out, we had a delightful surprise visit in the park. As we were sitting on our normal bench we were espied at a distance from a lady walking her little dog with whom we have often had pleasant conversation in the past – let us call her Molly. She remembered our names and we chatted for quite a time before she told us that she had mentioned our names to her son who had exclaimed to her ‘I know them well!’ Her son was a handyman who has performed several little jobs around the garden for us, the last one being a handrail in which I helped him it (being a two man job) to provide access the lower area of the garden that I have made into my own little private area and which I call ‘Mogs Den’ So this was quite an extraordinary coincidence because we had no idea that our friendly handyman, recommended to us by our domestic help, was actually the son of one of our park acquaintances. I suppose that this is a case of ‘wheels within wheels’

This afternoon was the Cup Final match between Manchester City and Manchester United. This would normally be held about the time of my birthday in mid-May but the World Cup in Quatar at the start of the year has rather disrupted other football schedules. As I used to live just around the corner from Manchester’s old ground in Maine Road, I generally used to support them but once they have moved into the upper echelons of football, I thought that today I would support Manchester United in today’s game as United were the slight underdogs. The game started in a dramatic fashion when the City captain struck a ball from outside the penalty area and scored when the match was only thirteen seconds old. This, for the record books, is the fastest ever goal to be scored in the entire history of the FA Cup. Towards the end of the first half, Manchester United were awarded an incredibly dubious penalty several minutes after the event when the VAR system and the referee adjudged that a City player had handled the ball and this was an automatic penalty. From this United scored although up to that point I do not think that they had had a single shot on goal. From this point on, my sympathies changed completely and I thought that Manchester City had been very much at the wrong end of some refereeing decisions. When the City captain scored again from outside the penalty area early in the second half, then City went deservedly ahead. Despite some very late flurries from United, City just about hung on and the best team certainly won the Cup Final. The best team does not always win if a team scores a breakwaway goal against the run of play but I have to admit that Manchester City were deserved winners and they have now won the double of winning both the League and also the FA Cup. But next Saturday City will attempt to complete a treble by winning the game against Inter-Milan in the European Cup to be held in Instanbul next Saturday.

In the Unites States, economic meltdown has just been averted as the Congress votes through a series of measures to ensure that that the US does not default on the federal debt. Moderates on both the Repblican and the Democrat side have come together to isolate those on the right of the Republican party and the left of the Democratic party who did not wish the measures to pass through Congress. Meanwhile, an ex-White House Chief of Staff under Donald Trump who ought to know a thing or two has predicted that Trump will win the Republican nomination but go on to fail the election. Whilst the Trump supporters are fanatically loyal whatever transgressions the ex-president has committed, Trump will never win over the critical middle ground in any future Presidential race. But whilst the popular vote is important, this by itself does not determine the outcome of the presidential race. Each state is allocated a number of votes determined by the number of senate seats and congressional districts and there are 538 in total. So a winner is the first to achieve or exceed 270 votes in total. The number of votes range between 4 (Alaska) and 54 (California) but each state can determine its own voting protocols (e.g. by postal ballot or not) and even its own technology, many states using voting machines which have not always proved to be very reliable. There are still about 18 months to go before the next Presidential election and it is possible (but not probable) that Trump does not actually get the Republican party nomination or that Joe Biden will secure the Democratic one.