Wednesday, 13th September, 2023

[Day 1276]

You can never be quite sure what a day is going to bring and today was no exception. Meg and I had a fairly lazy start to the day but we knew that our University of Birmingham friend was due to pick us up at 10.30 in order to undertake a pre-planned little trip out to Droitwich. It was a beautiful day today and a nice one to be out on the road. After a brief trip to pick up our newspaper, we made our way to the cafe in Droitwich that we had planned to visit – and were greeted almost like long last friends once we stepped inside. This independently-run cafe does work very hard to ensure that the ingredients for its offerings are shopped for freshly each day. We treated ourselves to cappuccinos and toasted teacake and were joined half way through our repast by the very friendly assistant who had been so helpful helping Meg into the car the last time we called. In the course of our conversation, it emerged that she knew Anne Jones, the previous women’s Wimbledon champion, who occasionally was a patron at the same club of which our University of Birmingham friend is a member. Somehow or other, we got talking about refugees and it emerged that the cafe assistant had befriended a young Afghan refugee and helped him on the road both to a legally settled status as well as further education and training so that he could make his own way in the world. Eventually, the young Afghan refugee told the assistant that he had actually known her for longer than he had known his own mother and regarded her now as his newly adopted family. When you hear the rhetoric coming from members of the government, it is really quite inspirational to be told stories such as this. We introduced our University of Birmingham friend to the cafe assistant and as well as the Anne Jones connection, it transpired that we both knew Harrogate quite well as that was the town in which I spent my youth and where the assistant attended the Great Yorkshire permanent show ground in order to sell some of her wares (skin preparations) As we were leaving the cafe/restaurant, a little container was pressed into our hands containing three buttered and jammed scones for us to enjoy as afternoon tea. I suspect that we will now be turning up as regular customers if we get treated as well as this every time. Not being part of a chain and not on the immediate High Street, we do get the impression that the cafe works hard to greet and retain its regular customers so I suspect that our allegiances will now start to transfer. This cafe also has the facility for me to pop Meg inside whilst I go and get the car parked so this is an additional recommendation.

Meg and I have discovered a series on TV which we think we are going to enjoy tremendously. It is on for an hour most weekdays and is really a culinary programme but is called ‘James Martin’s Spanish Adventure‘ Although the programme is not meant to be a travelogue, it is really very informative and stimulates all kinds of memories of Spain for us (some of them a little painful as it is not at all clear if or when we shall return). We then started watching half way through a film of ‘The Young Winston‘ which we did not watch through the end because afternoon tea beckoned. As we had been given some scones by the cafe this morning, we thought we would eat them up whilst listening to ‘Choral Evensong‘ I have lodged in my memory this is typically broadcast on Wednesday afternoons at about 4.00pm and I remembered about it in time this afternoon. After our tea, I judged that Meg was getting somewhat over-tired and out-of-sorts so I took her down to a darkened room where I am encouraging her to have a doze. I think that many people in the mid-seventies and onwards have a little doze in the afternoon. I wondered what the bulk of evidence suggested about such naps and discovered the following. ‘For most people, napping in the early afternoon when your body experiences a natural circadian dip, is the best way to catch a few winks without disturbing the sleep-wake cycle. There is no consensus on how long you should nap. Some experts recommend naps should last no more than 30 minutes‘. Having said that, excessive napping is probably not a good idea but I think that perhaps I need to get Meg into a more regular napping mode.

I have been considerably saddened by the loss of the hardware and household store, Wilko, in the last few days. But a list has been published of the stores that Poundland intends to take over and I am half pleased to discover that the Droitwich store is on the list. What is not clear at this stage is whether Poundland are just acquiring extra High Street presence and will only continue to sell the cheap, plasticky goods for which Poundland is noted. An alternative is that they attempt to take over many of the ‘Wilko‘ lines but somehow I feel that this is probably not going to happen.