Thursday, 30th November, 2023

[Day 1354]

So the regular Thursday routines have popped round again. Today I made sure that Meg and I had all of our ablutions done after which Meg stayed in bed (as is usual on a Thursday) whilst I go off to do the weekly shopping. Under the regime that started last week, a care assistant comes around on a Thursday morning primarily so that I can complete my shopping activities. The assistant who called around this morning is the fourth different person we have had but she seems a jolly little soul and quickly struck up a rapport with Meg and myself. I had a feeling that this particular relationship was going to turn out quite well and, indeed, after I had returned from my venture up and down Bromsgrove High Street,it seemed that the last couple of hours had proceeded satisfactorily from everyone’s point of view. I took the opportunity to visit our local Poundland store where I purchased a couple of rubber, but not particularly heavy, carmats. I have an intended use for these not inside the car but to provide a little bit of weight to hold the anti-frost screen securely on the windscreen on the car if the weather forecast indicates that it is going to be a cold night. Last night, I think it was near freezing or just below but tonight is going to be even colder and so before it got really dark, I popped out to get the protection in place. I am trying to get this done in just a minute or so because if the routine is rapid you feel more inclined not to neglect it.

This morning, after we had listened to the news, we turned the radio onto ClassicFM where they have started playing some Christmas music. Personally, I feel that they should have held off until Sunday which is the start of Advent and, I suppose, can be said to be the starting gun for the commencement of Christmas. We are still November until tomorrow and I do not like these celebrations to start too early. On the radio, they played the Christmas carol ‘Away in a manger’ and this reminded me of a comedy sketch some time in the 1970’s.The sketch reminded people that at about this time really wide-screen cinema was starting to make its presence felt (was it called Todd-AO or something similar?) but many cinemas had to cope with chopping off a bit of the left hand side and the right hand side of the transmission. So, chopping off the first and the last letters of some well known Christmas carols we have things like ‘Way in a mange’ and also ‘hen shepherds watched their flocks by nigh’ and so on and so forth. This has become a little of a family joke over the years as we sing ‘Way in a mange’ when called for.

After we had lunched, we enter our normal TV routine. It looks as though as ‘Outnumbered‘ has now run its course so Meg and I watched an old episode of ‘BlackAdder‘ which I must say neither of us found particularly funny. But after this, we tuned in to some of the COVID-19 investigations being broadcast live and this afternoon were treated to Matt Hancock, who as Health Secretary was a crucial player at the start of the pandemic. Various accusations of ‘lying’ have been thrown backwards and forwards with nothing definitive being as yet proved. The leading counsel for the enquiry keeps issuing what in boxing terms might be a probing ‘jab’ but so so far has failed to deliver anything like a knock out blow. The enquiry as a whole, though, is meant to learn the lessons for the future and a discovery that politicians may be lying to each other as well as to the public is hardly a revelation. In fact, I have often wondered about politician’s relationships with ‘the truth’ – as they have dissembled for years and years and will never give anything other than an evasive answer to any question, then perhaps none of these revelations in the enquiry will come as a great surprise.

Tomorrow will thankfully be 1st December and I shall be glad to have got the month of November out of the way (I feel the same about February) I am always happy to get 21st December out of the way because at the very least it should then start to get lighter by 1-2 minutes a day. I find that once we get into the run up to Christmas, all of the glitter and trash associated with Christmas not particularly heartwarming. There was a campaign in the 1950’s as I remember to ‘put Christ back into Christmas’ which rather ignores the fact that early Christianity actually appropriated Christmas for their own purposes. But of course, apart from Christian traditions there are similar mid-winter festivals (Hannukah, Eid, Divali and so on) and most of them have the theme of light fighting against the darkness. Yuletide and similar mid-winter festivals all pre-date Christianity and I always marvel at the ways in which our earliest ancestors managed to get the timing of their mid-winter festivities as accurate as they are. There may have been ‘naturally occurring’ clocks such as the sun appearing in the centre of two erected stones but I am sure archeologists and pre-historians have a much more sophisticated explanation.