Saturday, 25th November, 2023

[Day 1349]

I thought that today was going to be a cold and bright day and so put a little bit of protection on the car windscreen last night. But actually, it was not really needed as although the day was bright and clear, there had not actually been a heavy frost last night. I have one of those screen protector thingies which only takes a few seconds to put into place and certainly helped to take the sharp edges of whatever frost there was last night. We got up a little late this morning because Meg had a rather disturbed night last night but after we had breakfasted and watched a modicum of the news about the release of hostages in the Gaza/Israel conflict, we made our way via the newspaper shop to Waitrose. The newspaper shopped was closed which did not surprise us a great as the newsagent himself is in a local hospital and his wife has got him and her own aged mother to deal with, apart from trying to run a business which means getting up incredibly early as it opens at about 7.30am. We met up with two of our regular friends and we had quite a good laugh with quite a lot of black humour in evidence. After we had taken leave of our friends, we parked in the top half of the town because I thought I had seen some rather good, collectable china that matched up with a piece we already own. I have one small side plate of this design which I think, technically, is called Roslyn china vintage victorian Imari style and dates from about the 1900's. In a local charity shop, I saw three larger side plates, a soup tureen and a serving platter and I think that on the web, these would each sell in outlets such as Etsy for anything between £5-£10.00 apiece. I paid £10.00 for these all five quite large pieces and I had taken along my own small side plate to ensure that the designs matched up and my memory was not playing false tricks upon me. So now we have in stock a set of rather good pieces which will be excellent for the occasions when we entertain and wish to serve up mince pies, Christmas cakes and other nibbles that will benefit from a nice display. A quick consultation on the web revealed the following: 'Imari porcelain is a term for a colored style of antique Japanese porcelain, named after the seaport Imari on the island Kyushu, Saga, in Japan, from where the porcelain first was shipped to the West starting at the beginning of the 17th century. Exquisite, elegant, and of the highest quality, Imari porcelain is highly respected in Japanese culture and is one of the pride and hallmark of Japan. The two true masters in the antique Imari trade are the Japanese and the Chinese artisans' To be fair, I do not think I have purchased any genuine Japanese or Chinese pottery as the illustrations on the web indicated that it is 'Imari stye made by Reid for Roslyn China'in the potteries and seems to date from the 1920's or 1930's. It does seem to be the case from the illustrations that these fall into the categories of 'collectables' or very probably, as in our case, fine bone china that is not used every day but is brought out just for special occasions.

After we had lunched on quiche and sprouts (supplemented by some chestnuts as I noticed a pouch in our local supermarket) we settled down to watch the film again of 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' We have seen this about twice before but is a compelling story. We were about 30 minutes into it when the the YouTube 'froze' and I wonder if this because so much is being downloaded on a Saturday afternoon. We listened to a Mozart Piana Sonato (No.16 - probably the most famous) and then resumed the YouTube to see if the transmission had 'unstuck' itself. Fortunately it had and we watched the film right through to the end with fascinating moments occurring towards the end of the film when the Italians occupying a Greek island surrended and their erstwhile German allies turned on then amd massacred most the of the Italian garrison. This is a part of history which I suspect is largely unknown and untold in the English history books.

The Tories are tearing themselves apart over the vexed issue of migration and the 'stop the boats' campaign with which they are becoming fixated. Now in an interview with The Times, Home Secretary James Cleverly warned people not to 'fixate' on the Rwanda migration scheme, adding that he has become frustrated with the heavy focus on the issue, and that it should not be seen as the 'be all and end all'. Probably what Cleverly says is quite sensible and certainly when the Sky News data analyst looked at all of the data concerned with migration then the scale of those arriving by small boats is a very small proportion of those who are arriving, post Brexit, quite legally. Most of the migration is fuelled either by students or by people entering the labour force, particularly with in the health and social care sector. Tt s a little publicised fact that migrants because of their age profile (i.e. not in receipt of old age pensions or expensive healthcare provision) tend to contribute proportionately more in taxes and to receive proportionately less in benefits than the indigenous population - in other words the migrants once they enter the workforce subsidise the rest of us rather more than the other way around.