Thursday, 26th October, 2023

[Day 1319]

Today dawned as an indeterminate type of day – one that frequently gives way to showers with intermittent burst of sunshine. As we had a pleasant experience yeserday in the Methodist coffee house, we decided to repeat the experience as the patrons seem quite a friendly crowd. Today is the day when the PCSO (Police Community Support Officers) generally make their presence felt by sitting on the ‘Chatty Table’ and making themselves available to anyone seeking thir advice. I think they have a little bag with ‘goodies’ in it such as the kind of stickers that you can display on or near a front door to deter cold callers. Meg and I are fortunate not to be troubled by these but I feel fairly sure that the main Kidderminster Road is probably fairly well worked over. One of the PCSO’s remembered me and my tall stories from the last time we met which was probably a fortnight ago and I became emboldened to ask her a semi-personal question, namely what it was that she were wearing that accounted for her bulky appearance. The PCSO officer responded by saying that she would show me and promptly took off her outer garment which was protected by the Kevlar material which tends to be stab proof but in its heaviest versions can stop a bullet as well. I must confess that it is the first time that I have ever had a female police officer disrobe in front of me, but I suppose there must be a first time for everything. She handed me the outer garment she was wearing and it was amazingly heavy – it felt as though it had ceramic plates built into it but I surmise that the PCSOs might have have the lighter of the several grades of Kevlar allocated to them. After we had enjoyed some banana cake and teacake for myself, we departed some time after twelve and, of course, ran into huge traffic jams through the centre of Bromgrove so had to make a detour. I paid the briefest of visits to our favourite AgeConcern shop wondering if they had any cushion covers or anything else that took my fancy. However, on my lighning tour of the shop, nothing stood out so we made it home and then got on with cooking the lunch.

After lunch, we indulged in our daily ration of ‘Outnumbered’ after which time our chiropodist called round. She has been coming to us for some years now and can be quite a useful source of health advice. I mentioned my bad back and she promptly suggested a ‘Yoga for sciatica sufferers’ website that I think she has consulted and found useful in the past. In her job she has often to bend at a particular angle whilst ministering to the feet of her clients so I suspect that her advice is well worth taking. Later on today or probably this evening, I shall look at the website that she recommended to see if there are useful exercises and stretches that I might perfom. Normally, of course, I would have my weekly Pilates session each Tuesday to help to keep me in good trim but that has had to be abandoned in the last 3-4 weeks which I regret but I cannot see myself working around at the moment. Later on this afternoon, we stumbled across a wonderful concert filmed in Halle’s Marktkirche in 2009 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the death of Handel. Given that Handel was practically an adopted Englishman, I think that similar concerts were held at about the same time in the UK. I did not have much time to sit down and enjoy this particular concert but it can keep for another day as a telephone call came through as I was sitting down to enjoy it. The telephone call was from one our fellow Catholic parishioners who we know quite well (force of habit means tht we often occupy the same pews from one week to another) and, as we had exchanged Christmas cards with each other in the past she had got our telephone number. Not having seen us last Saturday evening, our Geordie friend was telephoning to ensure that all was well with us. It is rather a wonderful experience to be missed in this particular way and we had a pleasant chat with each other, after which having now got her telephone number, I said I would return the call in a few days time. Our friend had nursed her own husband to his death so is fully ware of the pressures and strains of looking after a partner when their health declines.

After last night’s political news that Peter Bone, a Tory who has held junior ministerial office had a six week suspension from the House of Commons (perhaps followed by a recall election in which he would forfeit his seat), another scandal breaks upon the Tory party. Today it is Crispin Blunt who has revealed that the police have charged him with rape, which charge he vigorously denies. Nonetheless, Rishi Sunal trying to conduct a serious debate about the potential and dangers of AI (Artificial Intelligence) is faced with two distractions from the ranks of his own party. It used to be said that Conservative politicians are prone to sex scandals but Labour MPs to financial ones – however, we seem to have had a real run of sex scandals in the modern Tory party which is not really helpful to them when we are in this critical pre-election period.