Saturday, 28th October, 2023

[Day 1321]

Dawn came as a blessed relief after a night with hardly any sleep, the reasons for which upon which I shall not elaborate. But Meg and I were buoyed up by the knowledge that we would meet up with some friends in the Waitrose cafeteria this morning so we progressed with our morning ablutions and a light breakfast. We had got ourselves geared up for our little venture out this morning when disaster appeared to strike. On attempting to start the car engine, the motor resolutely failed to start and I was left with a strange symbol of what appeared to be a cirle of gears and what may have been a representation of fuses. In some desperation, I decided to phone the specialist RAC line for help and the telephone number directed me to a website from which I had to supply details in order to receive some assistance. Fortunately, the first option was to tick a box saying ‘at home’ and then we got prepared for a wait of anything up to an hour and a half. I needed to go back into the house for something, felt in my pocket and then realised that I have left my remote car key inside the house. So it was no wonder it would not start and I now understand that the symbol I thought was a string of fuses was meant to be a keyboard. I might add that the graphics on the model of HR-V that we have has a remarkably clunky 1970’s feel to them and I am fairly hopeful that when we pick up a new car in some week’s time that the graphics and explanations will have been radically improved. I think my absence of sleep had contributed to my memory lapse this morning as it is the first time I hve ever attempted to drive the car without the keyfob and I had evidently left the car unlocked anyway to gain access to it. So we arrived to see the Saturday gang about 20 minutes late but were immediately rewarded with some little chocolate slices to accompany our coffee, this being a delayed birthday cake from one of our number who celebrated a birthday in her 80’s last Sunday. We have made an arrangement to meet up with our University of Birmingham friend tomorrow afernoon rather than tomorrow morning, and of course the places to have coffee on a Sunday are a little limited. Our friend is going to call around for us in the early afternoon tomorrow and so we shall ensure that we shall lunch a little earlier. This should not be at all problematic because this weekend the hour goes back (‘Spring forward, Fall back’) so apart from the hassle of altering all the appliances (including the ones that I sometimes struggle to rmember how the time setting mechanism works), we should be in plenty of time. We lunched today on the risotto that I would normally have prepared yesterday had we not eaten our fill of bacon butties yesterday morning.

I try to make sure that the afternoons when we are resting have a degree of predictability about them – this is particularly, because I am encouraging Meg to have a really good rest in the afternoons because I am sure that her body needs it even if her mind (apparently) does not. So after we had cleared up after lunch, we have our daily ‘fix’ of ‘Outnumbered’ after which I had got something lined up to watch in the mid afternoon. I had previously noticed on the BBC iPlayer tht there was a documentary by Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent, on ‘The Birth of Israel’ I had started to watch this the other night and it looked fascinating so we saved it for a viewing this afternoon. You might have thought that we would have had a surfeit of news about the Israeli-Arab conflict in Gaza but this program was fascinating in the historical archive and interviews that were deployed. The most fascinating part was the way in which during the ‘war of independence’ the Jewish settlers had been populating Palestine from the 1920’s onwards (at first, peacefully) Eventually, under Israel’s first premier, David Ben Gurion, it was documented how the Jewish settlers (not yet Israelis until 1948) had fought both their Arab neighbours and the British who held a United Nations Mandate to govern the territory. Just prior to 1948, there were groups of Jewish settlers who rampaged through some Palestinian villages bombing them and shooting man, women and children on sight (e.g. the ‘Stern’ Gang, as well as Irgun) forcing thousands of Palestinians to flee their native villages and to make for territories such as Gaza. Naturally, the British labelled these fighters for independence as ‘terrorists’ and when you come to think about it, the British have often subjugated a people and independence has been forced through the barrel of a gun (MauMu in Kenya, Eoka in Cyprus/Greece and so on) What is remarkable is that the pattern of violence exhibited by Hamas today echos that of the Jewish settlers prior independence in 1948.

Last night, I watched England secure a narrow victory to snatch the ‘Bronze’ i.e. 3rd place in the Rugby World Cup. But it was very close fought and the Argentinians would have drawn level, had they not missed a crucial penalty – and they could well have won on extra time. Tonight, of course, is the almighty class between New Zealand and the South Africans which will be a mighty tussle and decided by the finest of margins, one suspects.