Thursday, 9th November, 2023

[Day 1333]

Today I was up practically at the crack of dawn in order to go shopping early whilst Meg is safe and sound in bed. The bonus of going shopping at this hour in the morning is that I manage to access a nearby ATM easily enough and going shopping at this hour is certainly a bonus whilst I am in the ‘new car neurotic’ phase as the car park is deserted and nobody feels tempted to park immediately next to you. Having got the shopping done and put away, Meg and I then breakfasted and set forth to have our coffee in the Methodist center cafeteria. We were persuaded to have some freshly baked scones with cream and jam – probably against our better judgement, We sat next to the PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) who we know visit the cafeteria on a regular basis and were treated to a little bundle of freebies which we may or may not use – an ice scraper for the cold mornings, an electronically shielded pouch in which to store car keys safely and a series of little bells to attach to one’s purse so if you hear it being snatched. The PCSOs were fulsome in their praise for some of the activities provided gratis by the local library so we might pop down one day to see if there is anything else that might engage our interests. This afternoon is following a fairly predictable pattern of a dose of the laregely political news offered by Sky News, followed by our daily ration of an episode of ‘Outnumbered’ and then concluding with a baroque style concert offered on YouTube. We have just heard some stunning singing of Bach cantatas in a performance conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, probably the foremost conductor of this style of music.

There are some interesting political rumblings going on today. The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman is largely considered as being completely out of control. After expressing the view that homeless people who attempt to protect themselves from the elements are making a ‘lifestyle choice’, she is threatening to banish such tents from the pavements of our cities. How the police would react to being instructed by their political masters to drag the homeless out of their tents in order to confiscate them almost beggars belief. Braverman’s latest venture into the media in the columns of the The Times no less is to suggest that the police are operating double standards and are much more lenient on left wing protestors (such as Black Lives Matter) and much tougher on any right wing protestors. The Labour Party are having a field day in calling the Home Secretary out of control (which she is) and many Tories are starting to get disturbed by her behaviour which is widely interpreted as making a play for the right wing votes in the Tory party once Rishi Sunak loses the next election and is forced to resign. At the moment, No 10 Downing Street is getting increasingly weary of having to put up a new minister onto the airwaves every single day and asked whether they support the words and sentiments that Braverman has uttered. Every spokesperson so far has refused to endorse the Braverman rhetoric and the latest revelation is that Braverman went ahead with a speech/ article without getting it cleared by No 10 to ensure it reflects official government policy. This itself is a breach of the ministerial code and is a sackable offence but of course Rishi Sunak, as other Prime Ministers, seem never to want to offend the right wing of the Tory Party who, it is felt, can make them or break them. Apparently, Tory MPs are now telling their Chief Whip that ‘enough is enough’ and the view of Sam Coates, the chief political correspondent of Sky News is what we are witnessing is a colossal trial of strength between Braverman and Rishi Sunak and, in his judgement, it is not a case of ‘if’ she goes but when.

Meg and I are looking forward to tomorrow, principally for the people that we will be meeting. Friday is the day when our domestic help calls around, and at some time in the morning, we may well have a visit from the Eucharistic Minister from our local church. During the course of the day, a parcel was left with us destined for our next door neighbour but both he and his wife were out at work. After a swift phone call, our neighbour called round and as he had been away for a few days on business, we had not had the chance to coincide very much. So when he popped round, we had a chat and shared a few jokes and I took pleasure in showing him the Captain’s Chair which I have spent some time in restoring in the last week or so. He evidently knew that we had changed our car because there was a very self evident change from blue to what is officially known as ‘Khaki sand pearl’ He was very complimentary about the colour as I am a little neutral towards it but rapidly warming towards it. I know that when eventually the car is covered with road dirt, the splashes will dry out in such a way that the dirt will not be readily visible. I am thinking actively at the moment about ways in which I can ‘compartmentalise’ the glove compartment so that the things which we generally keep in it do not descend into an awful jumble. I think that some clear plastic containers may be the way ahead but I shall keep an eye out for any suitable containers that will fit the bill.