Tuesday, 28th November, 2023

[Day 1352]

Regular readers of this blog will need no reminder that today being Tuesday, it is the day for our regular ‘get together’ with our little glee club in the Waitrose cafeteria. After we had got ourselves up and breakfasted, we swung by our local newsagent, only to discover that the shop is still closed, which does not bode very well. The five of us, including Meg and myself, all arrived at about the same time and in no time at all were deep in recollections of one sort or another. For those who are a little bit older, I was quite interested in seeing what they could remember of WWII as I was born two days after the war ended. The eldest of us who was 5 in 1939 had fairly clear memories of how the whole family used to decamp to a special little building which might have initially been an outside toilet but was now cleaned out, whitewashed probably with distemper and equipped with a bed for when the bombing raids were on. One little snippet that came out of all of this was how Birmingham city centre as well as Coventry, were attacked and bombed during the war but the scale of any destruction was kept well hidden from everybody both not to dishearten the civilian population but also to not allow any information to seep back to the Germans lest they be encouraged to think that their bombing raids were more successful than they were. As the veteran Labour politican, Denis Healy, used to say ‘In war, the first casualty is truth’ I also recall talking to an old lady in the park when we used to visit the park regularly and she used to tell us that her family nearly had a direct hit from German bombers deep in rural Wocestershire. The full story was that when the English fighter planes attacked the slower German bombers, the latter used to jettison their bombs anywhere in order to make good their escape and hence the bombs falling in rural Worcestershire. Before we headed for home, we called in at our local AgeUK charity shop which has a little local branch not on the High Street. I was on the lookout for cushions and/or cushion covers but did a quick reconnaisance inside and emerged with one cushion with a fox motive, a second bigger and fluffier cushion and a little ceramic owl to accompany the others that we have of a similar ilk.

Today is my Pilates day and under a new arrangement about which we still have to give a final judgement, a carer called to sit with Meg for a couple of hours whilst I went off to undertake my Pilates session. My back feels as though it needs some Pilates type stretches and this was evident to my teacher the minute I walked into the studio door. When I got home, the carer looked fairly exausted and I am not sure that she had an easy time supervising Meg in my absence. I received a telephone call from one of the managers of the care agency who insisted that all of his staff had received training what course of action to take when someone under their supervision falls whereas each of the three separate carers that we have experienced to date denied that they had any training at all. I have a feeling that this story is going to run and run as people with Meg’s state of healh fall regularly whereas the care agency say they are not competent to deal with these situations. Of course, this is an incredibly grey area not susceptible to any easy solution. After we had our delayed lunch, I tuned into a concert upon which I had stumbled last night. It started out with a YouTube search for Faure: Cantique de Jean Racine and then proceeded with a couple of renditions of this, followed by several other choral works of a similar nature and Meg and I enjoyed this concert tremendously. I have made myself a sort of cushion pad for my newly restored dining chair, assisted by the fact that I had some cushion covers with an autumnal woodland scene already in stock. This morning, before Meg made her entrance into our Music Room, I gave the dining chair a quick burst of polish on the original leather hoping that the shine will build up. This is so fast and easy because you spray from a distance of 6″ away and immediately polish off and buff with a clean cloth.

The COVID-19 enquiry is providing some interesting moments today. Michael Gove, a senior minister at the heart of the government at the start of the pandemic has revealed his innermost thoughts, via a WhatsApp exchange with Dominic Cummings, the PM’s chief adviser. Gove has admitted in a WhatsApp messages, dating from 4 March 2020, that: ‘We are f up as a government and missing golden opportunities….I will carry on doing what I can but the whole situation is even worse than you think and action needs to be taken or we will regret it for a long time.’ Gove even offered a formal apolgy indicating that the lockdown was delayed too long and that initial decisions about a testing regime were not thought through. Some of us did think this at the time, of course.