Sunday, 19th November, 2023

[Day 1343]

Meg and I were up a little late this morning but nonetheless we had just about got ourselves up with our breakfast prepared in time to watch the Lorna Kuenssberg show. In advance of the Autumn statement (mini budget), both the Chacellor of the Exchequeur and the Shadow Chancellor were being interviewed. The one telling point in either of the two interviews is when Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, was asked to explain why he is taking all of the credit for the halving of the rate of inflation but was taking none of the blame for the rate of inflation having risen to about 11% in the first place. The answer in both cases is the fact that the rapid rise in oil prices caused the dramatic rise in the rate of inflation but the subsequent fall in the oil price and in fuel prices has resulted in the rate of inflation now being halved. This whole little episode does rather expose the hypocrisy of the modern politicians who blame ‘world events’ when the economy takes a massive downturn but always take the credit when the economy improves. After the politics show was over, we received the expected telephone call from our University of Birmingham friend who was suggesting that we meet up for our weekly cup of coffee together. Our little meeting today was actually quite important because our friend is due to travel to Coruña tomorrow and is going to meet up with our long standing friend who teaches at the University there. Our University of Birmingham friend is booked into our favourite hotel and he and our Spanish friend are due to meet in a large cafe just down the road from the hotel, all of which we know very well. I had spent a certain amount of time ensuring that I had a photograph so that the our two mutual friends would recognise each other when they were to meet in the cafe which is a large circular building on the edge of one of the squares in Coruña and is a very well known landmark. Whilst we were in the Waitrose cafeteria, I did a little experiment and our University of Birmingham friend and I ensured that we could have a videochat with other via WhatsApp. So when our two friends do meet up, I am going to contact them half an hour after they are due to meet so that we can have a little three way or even four way chat if Meg can be brought into the circle. I also took the opportunity to pass on some practical information and useful phrases if our friend follows our suggestion and takes a trip by train to go off to Santiago which is only 30 minutes away by fairly fast train. By the time we got home, it was nearly 1.00pm so I had to rush out feeding the cat (who often lurks around until he/she sees us reappear in the car) and then put a prepared chicken breast meal in the oven to cook for at least an hour. I enhanced a little gravy that I had left over with a chicken stock cube and the resulting meal was quite delicious, probably because some of the skin had been roasted nicely in the oven.

After lunch, we engaged in our diet of a little bit of the current news, dire as it is, before watching the next episode of ‘Outnumbered’. We then thought we would treat ourselves to a viewing of ‘The Inspector Calls’ which is a favourite J B Priestley play/film and which I thought we would probably get it via ITVX. All we could find was a ‘paid for’ version and this happened for a second version that we wanted to watch. I found a BBC colourized version which was unwatchable because the film was badly out of focus so we abandoned this. Eventually, though, we did find a version of the play which is not subject to a charge so it is playing away in the background, Meg watching it and I am actually blogging. By using a brass trivet which we have had in the family for a long time and a small table from one of our nest of tables, I have managed to make myself the equivalent of a little ‘escritoire’ so that I can sit in my newly acquired carver chair, blog away and still keep an eye on the TV playing away in the corner of the room. In the fullness of time, it might be that I can find a slightly more specialised and suitable piece of furniture, but in the meantime, I have an arrangement at just the right height, under which I can tuck my knees and then type away productively at my leisure.

We have no particular appointments as such next week, but there are several things to which we are looking forward. On both Tuesday and Thursday, we should be receiving the first of 2 x 2 hour tranches of assistance arranged via social services so that I actually have time to get our weekly shopping done and also see if it is possible to start to reattend my Pilates class after a gap of some weeks. On Wednesday, we will be visiting our Irish friends who live down the road and in the early evening, of course, should be video chatting with our two sets of friends as they meet up in Spain.