Thursday, 5th October, 2023

[Day 1298]

Thursdays are always my shopping day and I got up reasonably bright and early, making sure that Meg was safely tucked up in bed before I ventured forth. I was fortunate to get to my customary ATM in plenty of time as one of the access roads that has been subject to roadworks during the summer has reopened at long last. But I got to the ATM and popped into Morrison’s supermarket to buy some things for Meg and tinned fruit for our afternoon teas before doing the round in my usual supermarket. When I returned home, Meg was still sleeping or at least drowsy and this gave me time to get the weekly shop unpacked before getting Meg up, washed and dressed and then downstairs for breakfast. We had been looking forward to today for some time as it was the day a long time in our diaries when the specialist nurse who is caring for Meg had an appointment to come around, which she did, with a very bright third year student. Having both spoken to, and been in email contact with, the specialist nurse, I felt that I already knew her quite well but it was wonderful to meet in the flesh, as it were. There is so much more that can be communicated with a face-to-face meeting and we met for about an hour and a half, still only scratching the surface of some issues. She gave me some useful tips and hints and, in return, I managed to show her some equipment that we have been using that may help her care for oher patients. Before parting, I made sure that both of our visitors departed with a bottle of damson gin which I rather had to rush round and bottle for them as there is still a lot of last year’s supplies waiting to be bottled when I have the time (which seems to be never these days)

Last night, whilst Meg was in bed I discovered that we had recently missed the amazing docudrama broadcast by Channel 4 which was ‘PartyGate’ This basically was a long reenactment of the party scenes that led to, and documented, in the Sue Grey report. The programme authors stitched together contemporary footage with some imaginary reconstructions of what the scenes inside No. 10 were probably like, with intercut scenes of how members of the public were obeying the rules and not being allowed near to their dying relatives or even in a close attenadnce at funerals. One review of the programme stated that the drama brilliantly interweaves the permanent in-fighting, complacency and debauchery at the core of government with contemporary news footage, and juxtaposes it with heartbreaking real-life stories of Covid funerals and gigantic fines imposed in comparatively harmless rule breaches – £10,000 for the organiser of a snowball fight in a park in a Leeds, for example. I notice that the liberal minded newspapers rated this production quite highly whereas the ‘Daily Telegraph‘ rather sniffily gave it two stars out of five, not liking I suppose, the flagrant breaking of the rules at the heart of government whilst the rest of us were generally quite compliant. Anyway, I made sure that the household was registred to receive Channel 4 updates and Meg and I devoted the early part of the afternoon thoroughly enjoying it whilst being repulsed by it at the same time.

This morning, I received a Tesco mobile SIM for Meg’s phone which I am going to use after I got a little annoyed with GiffGaff constantly chiding me for when the phone is not used as much as they would like. I have used Tesco mobile before and find whatever credit you put onto an account stays there rather than being expropriated after six months of inactivity which can happen to a spare or emergency phone. Getting the SIM in was child’s play and getting the initial payment fairly straightforward but getting further top ups is proving a little problematic. I think I probably need to wait a day for the initial registration to settle down before I do anything further but so far, things have gone more or less even if not exactly to plan.

The political climate now that the HS2 announcement is out of the way and the Conservative party conference is over is particularly interesting. Rishi Sunak realises that he has to present himself as a ‘Change’ candidate as the country is crying out for a change in its political direction – but to present oneself as the ‘Change’ candidate when you have been in power for so long will no longer serve the purpose. It is interesting that he pointedly refused to endorse the Suella Braverman rhetoric (the UK about to be hit by a ‘hurricane’ of illegal migration)and the HS2 row may well rumble on and on. The line that is government policy is that the UK cannot avoid the spiralling costs of HS2 but by cancelling it and then spending what is to ‘saved’ on other worthy transport projects leaves one scratching one’s head – either the nation can afford it or it cannot. The government argument is that the money ‘saved’ can be spent on more worthwhile projects but some of these have recently been axed by the government in recent months whilst yet others were in the pipeline anyway. In short, a close examination of the HS2 debacle reveals a mass of confusion and inconsistencies.