Wednesday, 6th September, 2023

[Day 1269]

Today we are slightly out of our normal routine. I set the alarm fairly early and then dashed out to get the shopping done early and one day earlier than is normal so that my son and I can coordinate various things. Going shopping on a Wednesday rather than a Thursday seemed a slightly unreal experience as the roads seemed so unusually quiet. I am sure things will get hectic later on as today is the day when many children will now doubt be starting or resuming school. As I was in plenty of time, I popped into Morrisons to get one or two things that I know that Aldi do not sell. I picked up a Chinese ‘meal for two’ to complement both the Asian and the Indian meals that we have already purchased ready for our little celebration on Saturday next. When I got home, I unpacked the shopping but Meg was feeling a little rough this morning – I don’t suppose it was the glass of wine I gave her last night which surely can only be beneficial. As I was getting the shopping unpacked, our University of Birmingham friend phoned up, himself out of a normal routine because his tennis partner was away on holiday and he was wondering whether we might make a joint trip to Waitrose. I explained all this to our friend and we had a coffee here in our own kitchen (supplemented by too many chocolate biscuits that were probably not good for us). Just before he arrived, I received a telephone call from an ‘Experienced’ social worker – or so the job title on the subsequent email contact revealed. After some preliminary questions, various forms have to be completed and documents forwarded but it is wonderful to say that at long last, a date has been agreed when we meet for a formal assessment a week on Thursday. Getting the documentation may or may not prove to be a little irksome but, nonetheless, I am delighted to be at this stage of the process.

We had a rather conventional lunch of the remains of the beef heated up in some extended onion gravy, french beans and a baked potato. But I did try an innovation which worked out quite well. To add a little colour, I sliced up a couple of tomatoes which I fried gently in some rapeseed oil. To this, I added a sprinkling of basil spice (out of a spice jar), a little squeeze of tomato purée and some garlic purée which I managed to find and impulse buy in Aldi this morning. This really made quite a tasty little side dish and helped to ‘lift’ what might have been quite a pedestrian meal. Today was a very hot day and perhaps even the hottest day of the year and a little muggy to boot. But I was desperate to get the lawns cut because for one reason or another, they got missed out last week. In a more normal year, one can often skip a week’s mowing but for a reason I cannot discern, the grass seems to have gone mad this year. So I did the big front greened area which generally takes about 40 minutes. Then I popped indoors both to keep Meg some company but also to avail ourselves of some ice cream. Then after a suitable break for refreshment, I raced around and did the back lawn which takes about 20 minutes but has a lot more curves to negotiate. I was ably assisted, or rather I should say supervised, by Miggles the local tabby who had adopted us and always like to observe whatever I am doing in the garden and does not seem to be unduly frightened by the mower unless he/she gets very close (is the noise below the frequency range of a cat’s hearing, I ask myself?)

Every so often, Meg manages to make a comment which is both witty and, I suppose, what the French might call ‘le mot juste’. In this particukar case, Meg’s contribution came about yesterday after we had joked with some of our Waitrose friends what kind of respite care should be made available for carers, such as myself. In a flippant remark, I suggested that ideally I should like to stay in a care haome staffed by a bevy of nymphomaniac 18 year old Romanians – and then ventured, I am not sure that I could cope very well with this situation. Meg’s response was to say ‘At least you would get plenty of practice’. As the week unfolds on Friday and Saturday we have several friends that we know that we are going to see but tomorrow is a day free from all social obligations and pressing things to get done. I have in mind to go to Droitwich down the road as our favourite store, Wilco, is having what might be called a distressed ‘fire sale’ as other large entities scrabble over its remains. I think there are reductions of the order of 30% of everything so there may be some bargains to be had (unless these have already been cleared out by the eagle-eyed) In a few days time, our new TV should arrive, courtesy of John Lewis and I suspect that delivery will be about next Monday. Given that we have a Rugby World Cup to enjoy in the days ahead, this might arrive just in time.