Sunday, 29th October, 2023

[Day 1322]

Today has turned out to be one of the most interesting of days. We knew that we were going to see our University of Birmingham friend later in the afternoon but in the meanwhile, this meant that we were free for our own devices in the morning. This was the weekend upon which the clocks get turned back by one hour and given that I have lost some sleep over the last few nights, this was truly appreciated. This morning we decided after we had breakfasted and seen some of the Lorna Kuennsberg show that we would make a trip to the park which I must admit we have not visited in the last week or so. During the pandemic and when Meg’s mobility was so much better, we did visit the park practically every day and it was an absolute lifeline to us, as well as to regular dogwalkers who seem to be legion in Bromsgrove. Accordingly, we made up a flask of coffee and took along some nibbles, occupying our normal park bench which did require a little drying off with the requisite sponges but we always carry these in the supplies bag in any case. In the last week or so, we have not visited the park much as we tend to see groups of friends in cafeterias of various descriptions but today was a lovely bright day with interesting autumnal colours so it seemed to be a shame not to make another visit to our old favourite. We had not been sitting down for very long before Inveterate Octogenerian Hiker strode into view -or rather flopped onto an adjacent bench, which is quite understandable as he tends to walk anything between 7-9 kilometers a day, even at his advanced years. Whilst engaged in this conversation, another couple that we know quite well and who are regular park visitors stopped by for a chat. Then we were joined by a magnificent labradoodle named Alfred hove into view together with his owner so that was the third acquaintance we had met within only a few minutes. Finally, we decided to return home as Meg was getting a little chilly (I must remember to take out a little blanket for when to take the wheelchair into the park) and on the way back to the car were hailed by yet another couple with whom we have been out for meals in the past. So I must say that Meg and I felt that slightly guilty as we had neglected the park somewhat and it was enervating to meet four lots of our park friends within the space of less than half an hour. When we did get home, it was all a bit of a race around because we had some beef cooking in the slow cooker and on occasions such as this, there is always the onion gravy to prepare and the slow cooker dish itself needs a certain dgree of cleaning out. Nonetheless, the dinner turned out to be prepared relatively swiftly under the circumstances before it could be eaten and everything washed up and put away before our friend was due to call around at 2.15 in the afternoon.

The afternoon did not quite turn out as planned – but that was not necessarily a bad thing. We had intended to go along to visit the Webbs Garden Centre cafeteria thinking that it might be less busy in the afternoon rather than Sunday mornings. This turned out not to be the case and we turned up rather anticipating tht we could utilise one of the wheelchairs that they make available for the use of patrons. But when we got there, all of the wheelchairs were in use (i.e. none available) so we had to swing onto ‘Plan B’ We decided to return to our house where we entertained our friend to tea and biscuits in our Music Room. We were intrigued to learn of some new friends that our friend had made recently and who we may meet ourselves in the weeks ahead. But we spent a good time chatting about some TV programmes that we had both seen and thoroughly enjoyed – our friend was intrigued by the ‘Birth of Israel’ documentary which we had viewed recently and which was so informative. I was also explaining to our friend why we found ‘Outnumbered’ so enthralling so we played our friend a ten minute segment of this so that he could get a flavour of it. After our friend had left, we knew that we were keeping an eye on a piece of furniture that was being sold locally and which we hope to collect in the next day or so. This was a ‘captain’s chair’ and what we found so enthralling and intriguing was what the eventual selling price would turn out to be. The bidding process started out at £10.00 but in the eBay recently viewed section, there was an identical one that had evidently been professionally restored but was selling for practically £1,000. Intrigued by all of this we entered the auction with about 40 seconds to spare and did, in fact, secure the item at £1.30 more than our initial top limit but about a 20th of the antique dealers price we saw adjacent to it. I am just waiting for the seller to get back to me with details of the collection address and a convenient time for us to call around to collect said item. Once we get it home, it will require a certain amout of TLC to expended upon it to bring it into a nice looking condition but it seems basically sound and a wonderful shape which will complement our existing chair perfectly.