Today being a Saturday, Meg and I looked forwarded to meeting up with friends in the Waitrose cafeteria. One of our regulars made contact with us but not the other two but nonetheless we had a pleasant chat for a good half an hour. Towards the end of our coffee time, one of my ex-Pilates class members passed by and we had not seen each other for several months now. We use to be in the same class and used to occupy adjacent mats to each other so often there was a degree of banter and repartee that used to pass between us. Then circumstances changed and my friend, because of a clash of commitments, changed to a different class and so we sort of lost contact with each oher. Nonetheless, we have a lot of common feeling because some five years ago we were both hospitalised at about the same time and we were texting each other fairly constantly to share the latest news, not to mention trying to keep our spirits high. My friend is a member of local ukelele band and, in the past, let me borrow one of her guitar tutors when I rather thought that I could try to learn the rudiments of the instrument. I updated her quickly about the fact that I had swopped instruments and told her about the keyboard instruments (a Casio keyboard and and an organ) which now grace our Music Room and the pieces that I had been practising. We promised to keep in touch a bit more regularly with each other and we might try to organise an afternoon meeting for tea once we can see that the coast is clear and we have no competing commitments. On the way home, we stopped off at the house of some of our church friends and were delighted to find them at home. We have a lot of news to catch up with each other and I was very pleased that they could accept our invitation to come for tea next Wednesday afternoon. I promised them (or threatened them) that I could demomstrate some of the pieces I have been practising on my keybord instrumnts so I have a few days left to get things perfect.
In a week’s time, the world Rugby champpionships are due to start in France and will extend, I imagine, for a couple of weeks. In preparation for this, many teams are playing each other but England so far have had a terrible run of form. Today there were playing Fiji who have never beaten Engand before and usually lost quite heavily. But today the Fijians played a very good tactical and attacking game and England were characteristically poor. At one stage, England were only a couple of points adrift but they seem to lack any kind of killer punch and they were easily outplayed by the Fijians. It has been estimated that approximately one half of the entire popoulation of Fiji were watching this rugby match and as their first victory over England was achieved, I am sure that the celebrations will go on for a long time. What will happen when Englnd start to play ‘for real’ in the world championships when they do start causes one to shudder and now is the time when I think a strategic change of affiliation (to Wales) might be in order.
There is some interesting political news breaking this evening. The former Conservative minister, Nadine Dorries, has announced she is resigning, after months of criticism over her absence from the House of Commons. In her resignation letter, the Tory MP accused Rishi Sunak of ‘demeaning his office by opening the gates to whip up a public frenzy’ against her. But there is a big back story to all of this. Nadine Dorris threatened to resign when Boris Johnson was deposed as Prime Minister as she was one of his ardent supporters and had been angling for a peerage but she has been absent from the Commons for over a year, whilst still picking up her Parliamentary salary of course and appearing on her own ‘show’ on, I think, GB News which is an incredibly right wing channel. But there is quite a hint of pure corruption at work here because she paid her daughters up to £80k from the public purse to work in her office and even gave one a £15k pay rise. This resignation was not before time. Nadine Dorries’ constituents were expressing extreme dissatisfaction that they were not being properly represented in Parliament and senior Tories such as Michael Gove were opining that having said she was going to resign then she really ought to get on with it. The resignation letter itself contains an astonishing and personal attack on the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak and is already being adjudged by many Tory MPs as being completely ‘over the top’ She has earned the soubriquet of ‘Mad Nad’ although in this case, mad needs to be read as furious beyond belief rather than deranged. Evidently, there will be another by-election called and it looks unlikely that the Conservative party will retain this seat in the light of other recent election results. When this news breaks on a Saturday evening, one always looks forward to the analysis in depth in the Sunday newspapers, of which no doubt there will be plenty. A book is threatened but it is interesting to discern how many in the political elite would want to read it.