Friday, 23rd June, 2023

[Day 1194]

Today is the day when our domestic help calls around and it is always nice to see her and to have a chat. She had celebrated her birthday recently so we got news of the pleasant day that she had experienced. As it was a Friday, Meg and I hoped that we might bump into some of our regulars in the Waitrose café but it was not to be. But I did take the opportunity to have a quick dash up and down the High Street in Bromsgove to get some much needed supplies. One thing I did need to buy was a new pair of what are called ‘cargo’ trousers – the previous pair were five years old and the zip had finally given up the ghost so it was time to buy a new pair. I was amazed to see that the price had only gone up from I think about £17 to a current £20 so these were snapped up with alacrity and fitted me straighaway without the need for leg shortening which can be a perennial problem with trousers as we get older and shrink somewhat! Then I got some other supplies but was frustrated when a simple item that I wanted and needed – a tape measure – was out of stock with no indication when they would be getting new supplies back in again. I had left Meg in the car whilst I did a quick dash along the street to complete my purchases but the weather was a little hot and humid so I got Meg home, gave her a cooling drink and activated a fan that we acquired last year and this made her a little more comfortable. Then it was a case of cooking lunch which in the case of Meg and myself was very simple because it was a quick pan fry of some sea bass served on a bed of salad. In the meanwhile I had saved one small portion of last weekend’s boeuf bourbignon for our domestic help to sample and for her to give it her seal of approval. In the afternoon, I busied myself with getting some of my finances available to me on a mobile phone app as well as online on my computer, which is the way that things are going these days. As it turned out, neither of the two transactions went entirely trouble free and I finished off with having to wait for bits of paper to be posted to me as the authentification procedures did not go smoothly. But these days, I am amazed when anything goes right first time without an additional bit of hassle so a few extra days is neither here nor there.

There is a lot of commentary about the failure of the submersible and the loss of the lives of the five on board. A former submarine captain has commented to Sky News upon the failure. When asked if the ‘unusual’ design of the Titan was reckless, Mr Ramsey told the news channel that disregarding standard ways of building these types of submersible in pursuit of innovation has huge elements of risk and in this case that risk has been realised in the loss of people’s lives. The former captain of the nuclear attack submarine HMS Turbulent, said that the industry will likely tighten regulation and close the possible ‘loophole’ that existed in the case of Titan. It has also been revealed that the youngest member of the crew at the end of his first year in University was terrified about the potential dangers of the trip in the submersible but has wished to please his father as a father’s day present. It has also been revealed that the United States Navy probably knew about the fate of the craft just after it occurred as some top secret sonar (listening) devices had recorded the probable implosion but if the US Navy had revealed this earlier, then it would no longer have been top secret. A lot of people are being very wise after the event and it does look as though labelling the craft as ‘experimental’ so as to avoid normal certification procedures seems to have been folly in the extreme. Perhaps it is a trait of very rich men who engage in financing and operating these kinds of venture that they do not think that normal procedures apply to them.

To cope with an imminent mortgage crisis, the Chancellor of the Exchequeur has agreed some measures with the major lenders in the mortgage market. Thee are to delay repossessions for about a year and to offer that those worst affected should be able to have an option for an ‘interest only’ option on their mortgages. These are likely to be the most flimsy of ‘sticking plaster’ solutions and if the higher interest rates persist for a few years will only delay the eventual day of reckoning. We have not seen the end of the interest rate rises yet and it may be that the Bank Rate increases from 5% to 6% and over in order to ‘squeeze inflation out of the system’ But there are some economists who argue that using the crudest of weapons of interest rate rises, which is about the only realistic weapon in the Bank of England armoury, may not by itself achieve the desired result in any case.