Saturday, 7th October, 2023

[Day 1300]

Today is going to be quite a rugby filled day but first we have our little Waitrose get-together to enjoy. After we were up and breakfasted, we made our way through heavy Saturday morning traffic to pick up our newspaper and to head for the cafeteria. Once we got there, one of our regulars was sitting and reserving a place at a table for us and it was later to emerge, in the course of our chat, that she, too, was a regular at the Methodist drop-in centre that we sampled for the first time the other day. Not only that, but in her younger days, she had actually manned the coffee bar within the premises and still, at the age of practically 90 and with some health issues, managed to do her rota and to man the coffee bar when her turn in the rota came up. She was explaining to us how in pre-Covid days, the centre was even busier and with a greater range of food and produce than it it is nowadays. We suspected that afer the COVID experiences, when many of these types of facilities were out of bounds, that all kinds of social events are a little slow to pick up and to get going again. We were amazed to discover, though, that our friend still participated in some of the keep fit classes which we could see taking place in the adjacent space in the hall even though she is practically 90 years of age. In Waitrose as well, we were very touched when one of the young female shop assistants volunteered to help me to get Meg to the front door whilst another gave her a small bunch of flowers to help her on her way. Is it any wonder that we keep frequenting this store whrn we are the recipients of little acts of kindness like all this?

This afternoon, Meg and I watched the Wales vs. Georgia match in the rugby World Cup. Wales won this match which was never really in much doubt but the win was not entirely convincing. At one stage during the second half, Georgia scored two quick tries and it did look as though it might just be possible for Georgia to win. In my mind, they played some quite enterprising rugby but the speed of the Wales wingers finally did for them. Wales scored one try which upon replay, the TMO (who monitors the match via video replays) might have misjudged whether a ball was properly grounded or not. At another stage in the match, deep into the second half, there appeared to be something like a mass brawl with masses of players having an altercation with each other and both teams practically fighting each other off the pitch. So Wales finished top of their pool group but not entirely convincingly.

On tuning into Sky News throughout the day, we seem to be in the middle of yet another war between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The news broke this morning that some 5,000 rockets had been fired from the Gaza strip into Israel and the heavily fortified border may well have been breached in several places. Israel are bound to respond with an overwhelming degree of force and firepower but, as I write, there appears to be hundreds killed on both sides. It does look as though the Israelis have been taken completely by surprise and the media are reporting that this may well be a massive security failing on behalf of the Israelis as it looks as though this attack has been planned for some time. Periodically, they neutralise threats with military operations in Gaza, reducing the capability of Hamas. Breezily, they call it mowing the grass. This is such a rapidly developing situation that it is not possible to predict how things will turn out but there do not apppear to be any natural peacemakers in this process. The latest indications are that this conflict will last for some days but the phrase ‘blood bath’ is probably not an inaccurate term. One interesting twist at this stage is that it appears that Hamas might have taken quite a lot of hostages including some officers from the Israeli Defence Forces but as often happens on a Saturday afternoon, we await a deeper analysis in the Sunday newspapers. There is a talk of a ‘shoot to kill’ policy on each side which actually does make it sound like an actual ‘hot’ war.

Meg and I are planning to watch the first half of the England vs. Samoa match late on this afternoon and then to go onto church, which we normally do on a Saturday early evening, if Meg feels up to it. The really big match which might prove to be the most interesting of the day is going to be Scotland vs. Ireland broadcast from 8.00 this evening. Scotland will probably lose but it will be interesting to see what gallant losers they manage to be against the Irish who are currently one of the strongest teams in the world. We will probably adopt our normal pattern these days which is to get Meg ready for bed before 8.00pm and watch the match in the comfortable chairs we have in our bedroom. This way, Meg can roll into bed at 9.00 if she is very tired or stay up and watch the whole of the match.