Monday, 6th November, 2023

[Day 1330]

It was one of those bright, cool but clear autumn days which are an absolute delight. Meg and I were a little delayed getting ready this morning but, nonetheless, after we had got ourselves going and breakfasted we decided to make a trip out to our favourite watering hole in Droitwich. We picked up a copy of the newspaper and then made our way to Droitwich where we were really fortunate to find a parking spot just about where we wanted to be. I trundled Meg into the wheelchair which I am now getting off to a fine art and is not particularly heavy if you handle it in the right way. When a wheelchair user (or its ‘driver’) you learn to spot at a great distance exactly which kerbs have been lowered sufficiently to give one an easy passage, which cambers are best avoided and so on. In a strange way, it reminded me that years ago we were climbing Helvellyn in the Lake District together with a crowd of university students. There was quite a breeze which was making some of the snow glisten and harden and your eye learnt quite quickly to distinguish those types of snow that were good to walk upon and which were perilous and could occasion a slip. At the time, I was pretty sure that we were all walking in cagoules and the thing about these garments is that once you start sliding down a long slope, you reach a certain velocity where it is impossible to stop a long and perhaps fatal descent. We often used to go the Lakes at Easter time and one Easter time there was a married couple climbing Blencathra (aka Saddleback) who slipped and fell off the mountain. It was estimated that their bodies reached a velicity of 80 mph before they reached the bottom and their son, aged about 8 or 9, who evidently survived, had to walk his way down the mountain to summon assistance. The point of this long and rambling story is that we all tend to take things for granted until our circumstances change and then we look at things through a different set of eyes as it were. Once we arrived at the cafe, the Catholic lady who knows us well made us comfortable and then we ordered a pot of tea (and who does tea always taste better out of china cups?) and we treated ourselves also to one bacon butty on brown bread between us. This was particurlarly delicious and was a bit of treat for us. Then we made our way into the Worcestershire Association of Carers charity shop who always seem to have pretty high quality items for sale and from whom we have bought before. We bought couple of cushions, one of them a stunning autumnal scene and a ready made crib which we are going to put away until nearer Christmas time. This latter item was less than a cup of coffee purchase price and it may be a little ‘naff’. But we have kept it in its rather battered box and a week or so before Christmas, we will take out each of the wrapped up figures, give them a bit of a wipe and some TLC before we find a suitable oblong tray upon which to display it. The last time we were at the cafe, we decided to avail ourselves of an offer of a full scale Christmas meal for £15 a head so in about three and a half week’s time, we shall pop along and start to engage in some pre-Chrismas time festivies. Personally, I feel that Christmas tends to get pre-celebrated earlier and earlier so in my mind I do not want to even think about things like that until only about a week or so before hand. Christmas Day is on a Monday this year which always seems a bit out of kilter with one’s normal timescales (and I prefer Christmas Day to be on a Thursday or a Friday)

This afternoon, as we often do, Meg and I tuned in to a YouTube concert and saw the most amazing aria that I thought must be a joke. The soprano came on in a bouffant black dress, some of the most enormous and clunkiest silver high heels that it was possible to imagine and then proceeded to ‘sing’ (actually screech) her way through an aria by Offenbach accompanied by much arm and leg waving not to mention eye rolling. This I thought must have been a joke and I did not know the meaning of the French ‘charmille’ until reading a synopsis of the aria, I discover that the singer is meant to represent a mechanical doll and her aria (in translation is ‘the birds in the arbour’) Well,it takes all sorts.

The latest political debates are concerned with whether demonstrations held supporting the Palestinians should be banned or at least carefully controlled next weekend lest they clash with the Cenotaph Remembrance Day events to be held next Sunday. Discussions are taking place with the Metropolitan police and it may well be that sensible compromises and arrangements are put into place. But the politicians are always keen to take a stance that they feel to be populist. One of the interesting comments tht I heard about our present Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, is that she can never see a bonfire without rushing to pour a can of petrol onto it.