Tuesday, 7th November, 2023

[Day 1331]

This was always going to be a day when we had to change our routines slightly. Tomorrow we are due to change the car and this means that our existing car needs a clean before we hand it over and, in addition, there is quite a degree of clutter to be removed from the interior. We started off by calling in at the newsagent and asking after the health of our newsagent – after a medical appointment yesterday, it looks as though an immunological treatment might be the best option if he is in sufficiently good condition for it. After this, we popped almost next door to the car cleaning and valeting run by some Kurdish personnel who we have been using for years. We agreed a price for a good wash and a mini valet to the interior which was in a pretty good state anyway. Then we pushed Meg in the wheelchair into the adjacent Waitrose where we meet up with two of our usual Tuesday crowd. We had a pleasant 45 minutes or so but were in no hurry as the car cleaning was due to take an hour. When we got the car washing outfit, they were still in full spate and indicated that they needed another ten minutes. Again, just around the corner, there is a little shop whose main business is preparing and selling sandwiches which they deliver to industrial estates and offices in the area. But they have a couple of tables indoors and we have frequented them before. I know that they do magnificent bacon butties so we ordered a cup of tea and a couple of bacon butties. When these arrived, though, they were so huge that we decided to eat one on the spot and then save the other for future consumption at home. They wrapped it in foil to keep it warm for us and after all of this, the car was ready for collection. Having visited two cafeteria this morning, we were in no mood for our planned lunch so we just made up a bowl of soup for ourselves which is all that we felt was needed.

After lunch, we treated ourselves to the next episode of ‘Outnumbered’ and then I set to work on a little craft job. In our music room, we have a simple spare wooden chair and one of the cushions that I bought yesterday looks stunning on it. But I needed a flattish seat cover, less plump than your routine cushion. I resurrected a chair protector that I located in the garage but this was a tad too large for the cushion cover that I had in mind for it. However, I have some enormously strong black ‘Elephant tape’ which I utilised to get the protector into just the requisite size. Then I got this and some spare light padding into a spare cushion cover I had in stock (my local AgeConcern little shop around the corner had supplied me with 4 for £1.99 some months back and I knew that could all be utilised eventually.) I was pretty pleased with my results which has just given me what I want. Next, I needed to tackle the car boot contents which I had just bumped off inside our porch before we went off to have the car cleaned. About 4 years ago, I had bought some special little boot containers and these have proved excellent over the years as, when you do things like the weekly shopping, each bag fits neatly into one of the 4 compartments and this stops things rolling all over the floor. These needed some running repairs and a clean out but I have a variety of car cleaning materials, some in-car CDs, a spare jumper in case the car heating were ever to pack up and we were stranded, an umbrella and various other bits of kit. This afternoon, I got this sorted out and will transfer some of them into the new car but we have got to pick it up tomorrow and then have quite a nice fine day before I can do this job. I do realise that I probably am carrying a bit more spare gear with me in the boot than I need but, of course, if one is undertaking long journeys than you have to be prepared for all contingencies. One of the annoying facets of modern life is when a bird has left a deposit on your car’s windscreen and bodywork and bitter experience has taught me that you need to have some materials to hand so that this can be removed quite quickly before things begin to etch into the paintwork. Finally, before I settled down to listen to a relaxing afternoon concert, I consulted the web to locate the appropriate boot liner to which I always treat a new car and which, in my opinion, are worth their weight in gold and helps to keep the car in pristine condition for when the time comes to pass it on.

Today is the opening of Parliament and we have been treated to the sight of a King giving the King’s speech in his own right (and not deputising for his aged mother) for the first time in 70 years. By tradition, the opening speeches on such occasions can be humourous and a newly elected back bencher is generally given the opportunity to gently poke fun at colleagues. But I must say that Meg and I were not completely bowled over by today’s offerings where there was not a great deal of genuine wit on offer and the jokes were a little forced as well as being partisan. The general view of the legislative programme set out for the remainder of this Parliament is a series of ‘bear traps’ left for the Labour Party i.e. legislation that they do not like but oppose at their peril in the face of an oncoming election. In practice, despite dire threats and noises, most incoming Parliaments live with the legislation passed by their predecessors and do not go about a thorough-going repeal of the legislation they do not like but learn to live with it and blame the previous government for any adverse consequences that flow from it.