Friday, 3rd November, 2023

[Day 1327]

Today, as is customary on a Friday, our domestic help called around but she was a little earlier this morning as she has to get home to attend to her aged and ailing Jack Russell before starting her next shift at the residential home which is her main employment. I was delighted to show her our latest acquisition and, with an eagle eye, she spotted an extraneous spot of glue that had escaped my attention earlier. It is interesteing that under the fingers this extraneous glue seemed quite a blob but once I attacked it at just the right angle with a sharp bladed screwdriver, the whole extraneous glue was soon detached. Our domestic help made one or two suggestions about positioning of the furniture and we have decided between us to locate the two captain’s chairs on either side of our monk’s bench (inherited from Meg’s parents) so that the threesome make a more natural unity. We also acted on the suggestion to angle the chairs somewhat so that they form a more natural sitting area and do not resemble a doctor’s waiting room with chairs lined up against the wall. Actually, I am pretty happy about the new arrangement because the morning sunlight catches and reflects off the patina of the two pieces of woodwork. We have decided to complete the ensemble by looking for one of those large Victorian style wooden plant pot holders to sit in the corner, preferably with tiers so that it can incorporate both a corner light and a plant display as well. Thee items are occasionally found in second hand furniture establishments but my guess is that they get snapped up fairly quickly. After a natter with our domestic help, we were wondering where to go for coffee but we had our mind made up for us by a phone call fom our University of Birmingham friend and we settled on Waitrose as a quick and easy venue. Our friend had to shoot off just after 12.00pm as he had to be at home to take delivery of a parcel and as it was a beautiful sunny day, I decided to tke Meg in her wheelchair for a push along the High Street. I needed to make one or two purchases in any case as well as access an ATM so we set off along the High Street ending up in the AgeUK furniture shop to see if they had anything that took our fancy. As it happened, they had not, although I was a little tempted by an occasional table with a bad water stain on it that I am pretty sure I could restore but I resisted the temptation today. Whilst in the store, we bumped into two of our ‘park’ frinds with whom we have been out for a meal and chatted whilst we both browsed to see what took our interest. I did take the opportunity to get two rather good cushions from one of the local charity shops and then we had a bit of a race around to get the toiletries that we needed and to get back home before our domestic help left, complete with the money to pay her.

This afternoon, after lunch I spent a certain amount of time putting the last coat of restorative furniture cream onto our Captain’s chair. This is actually a fiddlier job that you might imagine because as well as the four ‘turned and carved’ legs evidently on the base there are also eight similar turned spindles in the upper body of the chair. So all of this takes a certain degree of diligence to get them all treated and then, of course, one has to repeat the process all over again with a soft cloth in the ‘buffing’ process to give a gleam to the patina of the wood. Tomorrow, if the spirit moves me, I may put on an application of beeswax and then that is it, for several years. In the late afternoon, we watched some of the final sections of ‘Don Giovanni‘ held over from yesterday. Then I am always desperate to encourage Meg to have a rest in the mid to late afternoon as I am always telling her that her body is crying out for rest, even if her mind is not. Fortunately, today two things worked in our favour. Firstly, with the hour going back, it is now getting dark in the late afternoon and once I have drawn the blinds, this makes the settee in our lounge conducive to a nap. Also, I now play a selection of classical music from YouTube ‘bluetoothed’ through from Meg’s mobile phone to the CD player which the manufacturers kindly replaced for me under the warranty and I am now bringing into daily use. Today, this combination of things (and some pills) seem to have done the trick in helpng Meg to have a doze.

Our University of Birmingham friend and I got into an interesting topic of conversation where neither of us quite know the answers. We know that under the Geneva convention (first established in 1864 by the way but augmented since then) there is a clear distinction between the military combatents and women/children regarded as the civilians. According to the rules of war, the military are regarded as legitimate targets to be fired upon but women and children should be exempted from this. This sounds clear enough – but what about the women in the factories making the munitions to be used against the enemy? If a munitions factory is regarded as a legitimate target, is it or is not a war crirme to also ‘take out’ (in modern parlance) the civilian workers manufacturing the ammunition? No doubt, there are some lawyers who could answer this question for us.