Tuesday, 31st October, 2023

[Day 1324]

It is true to say that Meg and I always look forward to Tuesdays as it the day when several of us meetup in the Waitrose cafeteria for a chat and general support. We picked up our newspaper and commiserated with our newsagent whose health is going through a bad patch at the moment as his wife was telling me that she had make an visit to the doctor to get him some emergency pain relief tablets – he was going to be seen this afternoon in one of the local hospitals so I again gave him my best wishes. When we turned up to the cafeteria, we all seemed to turn up at about the same time and went into our norml routine of pushing tables together to make a large composite table for the six of us (in total) Sitting on one of the benches was a lady who whilst having her coffee was engaged in a little craft activity which was making a sort of joker’s head-dress for her daughter who was in a production somewhere (to be put onto YouTube for those who couldn’t see it live) We admired her craft skills and engaged in a general chat about the skills that our parents (more accurately, our mothers) had either imparted or failed to impart to their offspring. The lady with whom we were chatting indicated that she made all of her own clothes as well as curtains and other domestic fabrics. Whilst this is an admiral skill to have, clothing (and particularly good clothing sold in the charity shops) is now so cheap that it cannot be an economic proposition to ‘sew your own’ any more. I am always a great admirer for those who have developed and maintained their skill set. I remember that when we were on a Saga holiday, there was an elderly lady that we met and every morning she knitted a little bonnet that went on the heads of premature babies and every so often, she donated these to her local maternity unit. I cannot remember how long she took to do it but the bonnets were not very large and knitting one a day I am sure that she could do it in her sleep. Meg and I turned into the Politics Live program which starts transmission at 12.15 each day. But today, they had cut straight to the evidence of Lee Cain, the Downing Street Director of Communications, who was giving his evidence live to the COVID enquiry. After lunch we tuned into Sky News to see Dominic Cummings lobbing hand grenades all over in his own testimony. Although we only saw bits and pieces of these two bits of evidence, that seem to display the same underlying narrative i.e. that whatever his qualitities, Boris Johnson was about the worst politician to have held the office of Prime Minister at a time of grave national crisis. One of the most repeatable things that Dominic Cummings said was that ‘It is only a matter of time before his babbling exposes fact he does not know what to say.’ There was reference also within Downing Street that Boris Johnson was like a supermarket trolley, lurching erratically first one way and then another, often out of control. There was also reference to what were called the ‘poppins’ which terminology was lost on the Enquiry chair. It turned out that Boris Johnson would make a decision and when this was heard about, some stff used to ‘pop in’ to express their dismay/disquiet. It is said that Boris Johnson then frequently changed his mind and this drove the senior civil servants almost mad with distraction as clear policy could not be formulated and followed with decision making that was as volatile as this.

Meg and I had our normal Tuesday lunch of fishcakes and easily microwaved vegetables that we always enjoy and find quite satisfying. After that we regaled ourself with the next episode of ‘Outnumbered’ and observed some of the Dominic Cummings evidence to the COVID enquiry. Whilst this was proceeding, I busied myself with carrying on with the restoration of the ‘Captain’s Chair’ purchased yesterday. I have now had the chance of a minute examination of this and whilst I think I paid a fair price for it (or even better) it is evident that some work has been done on it in the course of its 120 year old history. There is evidence of the odd strategic nail having been discreetly hammered here and there as well as some gluing. In places, there are dribbles of wood glue remaining and I have chipped most of these off. I am not overconcerned to get it absolutely right as a few little age-related imperfections lead to its charm. I did read on the web that if you were trying to restore an ink-stained writing desk, then the presence of old ink stains almost added to its veracity. But by today’s Amazon delivery, I have just received a little tin of woodfiller which I shall apply judiciously in one or two places. Most of the time, though, I just devoted myself to a ‘baby wipe’ cleanup of the chair as the principal ingredients of the baby wipes seem to be water and glycerine and these can do no harm, I say to myself. My main ‘cleaning and restoring’ cream should arrive on Thursday so I am quite happy to just do some preparatory work before then. I think I am making some progress but it is a slow process in which it is hard to gauge the progress to date in my restoration.