Friday, 22nd September, 2023

[Day 1285]

Well, it was certainly an interesting start to the day. Yesterday, we experienced a slight domestic disaster when Meg had a stumble in our downstairs toilet, the upshot of all of which was that a crucial little plastic bit broke away from the retaining pin making the while caboodle not really functional. It was going a little astray in the first place so I remembered that I probably had the box from a similar replacement toilet lid that we had fitted several years ago now. To my surprise and delight, I found that I had a complete replacement unit which saved me having to go out on the road to source one. Then all we had to do was to remove the old unit and replace it with the new one – easier said than done. I got so far and then got a bit stuck but very fortunately, my son was on hand to complete the job so that we had now a functioning unit again. My role was confined to holding the lid upright so that it did not fall down during the fitting process and to shine our (powerful) torch on the work area so that we could get the job done effectively. As happens in many walks of life, if we had to do it again we could do it in a jiffy but the first time one is working one’s way through a set of instructions and this always a bit iffy but we got there in the end. I suppose that many toilet lids other than the most basic ones contain the following feature, which is that you give them a gentle nudge from the upright position and they qietly and slowly close themselves without clattering or banging. The make was a Croydex which was a well-known brand of seat and I am not sure from where we bought it from in the first place.

After this had been fixed, it was time for us to have a rendez-vous with our University of Birmingham friend in the Waitrose cafeteria and we spent a happy hour chatting and also conversing with some of the regulars who seem to be there on Fridays. Normally, we meet in the park but after the experience of yesterday when Meg and I got thoroughly soaked, it was a case of ‘Once bitten, twice shy’ so the cafeteria was the better option. Friday is the day when our domestic help calls around and we always seem to have a lot of news to impart to each other, today being no exception. Our domestic help is a great source of assistance to us and we try to help each other with all kinds of little domestic things that go way beyond the call of duty. I generally buy one or two things that are easily available in Aldi but not usually else where and vice versa. We tend to have a fish pie lunch on Fridays (born of long tradition of ‘fish on Fridays’ dating back to our schooldays) and we complemented this with some tenderstem broccoli and a quick microwave roast of some plum tomatoes, enhanced with a little garlic mayonnaise. After lunch, we tuned into James Martin and today were entertained to a few stupendous views of Granada (with which we are familar) and then an interesting way of cooking fish (sliced into thin slices) which not have occurred to me in any case. James Martin’s cooking is always interesting but of course all of the outdoor cooking implements are always just to hand. He always seems to utilise a very sharp broad bladed culinary knife to prepare and dice all of his vegetables so I am wondering whether this might be a useful thing to ask Fr. Christmas for a little nearer to the date.

One gets used to a certain degree of political chicanery but the last day or so has seen the evolution of a new policy which seems to break all previous bounds. This week, Rishi Sunak made a surprise speech announcing delays to a number of key Conservative pledges aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions. But the amazing thing here is that certain items have been delayed or abandoned that were not even policy on the first place. Pride of these must be the pledge not to put a tax upon meat which was never part of a Conservative political agenda in the first place. One wonders where this will end, when politicians promise to put an end to ‘unpopular’ measures that they never intended to introduce in the first place.

Meg and I watched the rugby in the late afternoon, and specifically Argentina vs. Samoa. At the start of the match, it was a bit hard to predict who might turn out to be victorious. In the first half the Argentinians established a 10 point lead but the second half was a dour battle between the two sides with Argentina coming close to, but not actually scoring. But then against the run of play, Samoa scored a late try and if they managed to do this again the last five minutes of the match (not impossible), they might have won the match. So the last five minutes actually turned out to be pulsating and almost nail-biting. Tomorrow, though, will see a clash between Ireland vs South Africa as well as England vs. Chile will be quite a day.