Saturday, 11th November, 2023

[Day 1335]

We always look forward on a Saturday to meeting up with our friends in the Waitrose cafeteria but first we got ourselves up and breakfasted. Overnight, there had been the first frost of the winter and so our new car received its first dose of a winter blast. Last night, before I went to bed, I treated myself to some little treats for myself and the new car. Firstly, I ordered a set of incredibly reasonably priced fabric car mats. I have a little system which has worked extremely well over the years. These fabric mats are placed on top of my regular car mats and capture the little pieces of grit and small leaves that find their way into a car. The fact that they are so light makes it incredibly easy to take them out, give them a quick shake, a brushing with a tyre wheel brush which is strategically placed just beside the front seat and then are quickly and easily put back into position. I find this little system, which has worked for me over the years, enables me to keep the car floor always reasonably clean and tidy looking with the minimum of effort. The last set of similar fabric mats have lasted for well over 3 years and are probably five years old but are at the end of their lives. I also treated myself to a new red Honda keyfob because the zip is starting to go on my existing fob and again, it needs to be replaced. Finally, I purchased a winter screen cover to help to defray the worst of the winter frosts and snow as and when they occur. I noticed that when both Meg and myself were accessing the car yesterday that the door sills were the most likely to be receive the impact of one’s heels as you were getting in, so I did contemplate wondering whether some high quality stick on Honda door sill protectors might be called for. I have not ruled this out entirely but in the meanwhile I have tried a little homemade solution which I must say has worked brilliantly well. I took one of those semi-rigid sheets of film that I utilise a lot when I am putting together a document such as a manual and of which I have a good supply. Then I cut off a carefully measured 4” wide strip which just sits in position held nicely by the robber door trim and fulfils its prorective function both effectively and incredibly cheaply.

After we had met our friends for coffee, we did some shopping and then returned home. It was a little too late to prepare and cook the fish pie that we had intended so instead had a meal of quiche, cabbage and baked tomatoes. After we had our post prandial tea, we tuned into what was happening in central London with the pro- Palestine march. The police have estimated that the march was 300,000 strong and seems to have passed off peacefully enough. But the media concentrated upon the splinter groups of ’counter demonstrators’ who came from a variety of right wing groups and who had evidently come prepared to cause trouble. It is not often that I feel complete sympathy for the police but they seemed to be doing a magnificent job in confronting the counter protestors and, at the time I am writing this, up to 100 arrests had been made. The political consequences of today’s demonstrations and counter demonstrations will prove to be fascinating. Despite the inflaming rhetoric of the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, indicating that the demonstration in favour of Palestine was fuelled by hate, all of the violence seemed to come from the fascist right. They were frustrated by the police in their desire to confront the peaceful demonstrators but this was not the object of Suella Braverman’s attacks. Already it is being claimed that the rhetoric of the Home Secretary had inflamed passions and tacitly was giving support and comfort to the far right bully boys. She has so far refused to comment (I wonder why not?) but as is often the case when political events unfold on a Saturday, the reaction of the Sunday press and the rest of the political elite tomorrow may well seal the fate of the Home Secretary. It is being said that the next few hours might be crucial as, after the march officially finished at at 5pm, splinter groups of protestors and counter-protestors hunt each other out to have a go at each other. It could well be that Rishi Sunak stays his hand until the judgement of the High Court on Wednesday on the legality of the ‘export to Rwanda’ scheme receives a judgement and the result of this, together with today’s events and the reaction of the press and public opinion are all thrown into the mix.

Meanwhile the situation in Gaza is entering a phase perhaps described as dire. Gaza’s largest hospital has reportedly run out of power which means that any patients relying upon a power supply (e.g. babies in their incubators) will now die. Israel itself argues that Gaza has plenty of fuel but it is being herded by Hamas militants to fuel their war effort and therefore denied to the civilian population. Whether this is true or not, who can say except to make the observation that ‘in war, the first casualty is truth’. Meanwhile, the French president is openly calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and at some stage when the Israelis have wrought further damage on Gaza, the Americans may follow suit.