Wednesday, 25th October, 2023

[Day 1318]

As the week progresses, we settle into our routines one of which is to attend the Methodist Centre coffee bar on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. We aimed to get there before 11.00am which we did and found that we could occupy the one disabled parking space that they have allocated. Once we got inside, the 'chatty table' was already full up and although people volunteered to make space for us, we did not want them to disturb themselves on our account so settled instead for another table where one of Waitrose friends was keeping a table free for us. We enjoyed the tea and toast but got into conversation with a very interesting patron. In the course of the conversation, it transpired that he was part of that generation of science students for whom it was felt to be a good idea that they learn some German in order, presumably, to read scientific papers in German in the original. The person with whom we were chatting was telling us that this was no real problem for him as he had studied German in school but it did for some of his contemparies. He told us that in one of the examination papers, a compulsory question was set in German - whether you had to reply in German I did not round to asking him. When Meg and I were at university, two of our flatmates, one in the main part of the University and one at 'the Tech' (later to become UMIST) were subject to this routine where acquisition of the rudiments of German was a requirement but how this was assessed, I am afraid I cannot now remember. Another lady came to have a word with me because her husband had been a Professor of Statistics and she was intrigued to have learnt from our mutual Waitrose friend that I had taught statistics as well. In the course of conversation, it transpired that this couple had lived in Oadby, a twin town to Wigston in Leicestershire and had actually lived in a road which we knew quite well which was probably less than a mile from the first house that we bought in Wigston. So we could well have passed each other in the street whilst we were both resident in Oadby/Wigston (adjacent suburbs, eventually forced into one borough council) but obviously without knowing each other. So it is a small world, as we remarked to each other. This afternoon after catching up with the latest Sky News headlines, we treated ourself to a Christmas edition of 'Outnumbered', which we enjoyed enormously. After this, we followed up with a concert of Mozart and Bach playd by the Netherlands orchestra which we have accessed before and which always seem to produce performances that are both stunning and moving at the same time. We were so absorbed by this that we did not hear the doorbell ring but we did discern a shape and a noise outside the front door. We had been expecting a visit from Severn Water to replace our water meter at some time in the afternoon beween 1.00pm and 6.00pm which was the time period given. All of our houses tend to have a little rubber 'reading point' outide the house so that the water meter readers can get a reading without going inside a property but we were told these tend to fail over time. So we have a new meter fitted inside the garage and I think this is constructed in such a way that a signal is sent that can be read externally from this point on, making the little rubber reading socket now redundant. Later on this afternoon, our hairdresser called around as she does every 4-5 weeks and made sure that we were both duly shorn. Our hairdresser has been coming to us for years and knows exactly how we like our hair to be done. The only very slight downside of this arrangement is that as we have our hair cut in the kitchen, we have to immediately use the vacuum cleaner to clear away the clippings. We always discuss matters of local interest with our hairdresser as she always seem incredibly well informed with new housing developments, road works and the like. Before she arrived, I completed the restoration job that I started yesterday on our captain's chair. This is fairly simple as it involves rubbing the legs over with beeswax loaded onto a 0000 steel wool carrier, then left 20-25 minutes and finally polished off. The whole chair is now complete and I suspect has not had a good polish for about half a century as I think we have had it for about 55 years as far as I can remember. Like yesterdy, I am quite pleased with the results which are best viewed in daylight rather than an artificial light. I suspect that for the next day or so, I shall continue giving the spindles in the back as well as the legs the ocasional little tweak before I present the results to our domestic help on Friday to guage her opinion on it. The former Conservative minister Peter Bone has been suspended from the Commons for six weeks. This follows a long investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and bullying after a long investigation by the Commons authorities. These events have taken place at least five years ago and it is an interesting question why the allegtions have taken so long both to surface and also to be resolved. Another by-election may well be the outcome if the local electorate so decides.