Monday, 12th June, 2023

[Day 1183]

We had not a great deal on today so decided to capitalise upon the fact that we have a ‘free’ day. After I collected the newspaper this morning, Meg and I had a quick refreshment of some elevenses at home before we set off for Marks and Spencer in Longbridge, some eight miles distant. There we wanted to buy a birthday M&S voucher for our domestic help as it is her birthday in just over a week’s time and I had discussed with her recently that this is what she would like as a birthday gift. At the same time, we took the opportunity to buy Meg some underwear and fortunately we managed to locate the ‘Lingerie’ section fairly quickly although I have to confess, as a mere male, the options and choices are bewildering in the extreme and, as usual, the actual garment you require is always hard to locate. Anyway, we got our business done, navigated the new self-service tills (with a little bit of assistance from staff who always seem to be a bit thin on the ground) and then struck for home. After that, it was quite instructive to watch the mid-day BBC2 Politics program which we tend to do quite often just often 12.00pm on a weekday. Here we witnessed Jake Berry, an ex-Tory party chairman, simultaneously trying to rubbish the work of the Privileges Committee by implying that it was similar to a judge announcing his sentence to a court and then allowing the case to proceed. But when challenged, Jake Berry would not go through with the import of his analysis by saying that he did not impugn the integrity of the committee. This is just as well because, in theory, that would make his own utterances liable to sanction by the Privileges Committee under the rubric of bringing the work of the House of Commons into disrepute.

Whilst I have not had much time to practice on my new Casio keyboard, I have consulted the web to see if there are easy classical pieces that can be played with one hand (for the present). I have located on the Amazon web site the offerings of a piano teacher who has published a series of booklets aimed at beginners. Most of these are offerings to which I can easily give a miss (such as the booklets on hymns, nursery rhymes, Christmas carols) but I have purchased the one on simple Classical pieces.This has now been delivered and it is possible to visit the author’s website and download some additional pieces at no additional cost. So I have now augmented the twenty classical pieces in the purchased booklet with another ten evidently making thirty in total. Each piece is only of the order of 15-20 bars long and has been simplified in that the author has transposed the original into a simpler key i.e. without a proliferation of sharps and flats and with any grace notes removed, thus preserving the essence of the piece but simplifying it for learners. I imagine most learners would be between the ages of 8-14 rather than in their late 70’s (in my own case). As well as classical pieces, I am not averse to the occasional well-known tune from the world of popular music but as one might expect, most of this is still subject to copyright and a purchase fee. But I have managed to locate a copy of ‘Scarborough Fair‘, the origin of which can be traced back as far as 1670 but is best known to us today via the recording made by Simon and Garfunkel. I am pretty sure that given the tune’s simplicity and universal appeal, this is part of the repertory of most folk singers as well.

It has been the convention that ex-Prime Ministers do not enter into overt criticism of their successors. But today, Boris Johnson, no respector of any constitutional proprieties as we know full well, has laid into Rishi Sunak and vice versa. Rishi Sunak is arging that Boris Johnson asked him to overturn and to ignore the advice of HOLAC (the House of Lords Appointments Commission) over the Boris Johnsom nominations for honours and peerages. Rishi Sunak refused this request point blank and Johnson has replied indicating bad faith or broken promises. This public row is unprecedented and only serves to reinforce the impression in the electorate’s mind that the Tories are fighting like rats in a sack. There will now be three by-elections probably before the end of July and the Tories may well lose at last two of them and possibly all three. On the other side of the Atlantic, Donald Trump is turning up to a court house in Miami to be formally charged with some three dozen offences over his storage of official government documents in his own house. Both supporters (many of them actually armed) and opponents of Trump are due to turn up tomorrow and the local police may well struggle to keep the two opposing factions apart. The Trump faction is indicating that they are staunch members of the National Rifle Assocoation (subtext being – come armed to the teeth) so we may have the equivalent of a bloodbath outside the courtroom tomorrow, in full view of the wold’s media of course.