Wednesday, 6th December, 2023

[Day 1360]

The significant event of today was to be a procedure upon one of Meg’s eyes to be conducted in the local community hospital so all of our planning and activities today were focused on that appointment which is quite early in the afternoon. We breakfasted and so on at a slightly later hour, both having slept in a little which was pretty useful for both of us given that we have lost some sleep over the past few days. We got ourselves off to the Methodist coffee club where we enjoyed tea and teacakes at a very reasonable price but did not avail ourselves of sitting on the ‘Chatter and Natter’ table as there was no one around that we immediately recognised and we had to keep an eye on the time in any case. Just as we were leaving, we got a phone call from the social worker who was evidently responding to a long email that I had sent her yesterday evening in response to a prompting by the doctor. I have to say that the meeting with the social worker that has been fixed for next Tuesday may prove emotionally traumatic for both of us but we will cross that particular bridge when we come to it. Having got back from our coffee break, Meg and I were glued for a little to watching the Boris Johnson evidence to the COVID-10 enquiry – I would dearly like to have seen more of this but the lunch had to be prepared so that we could make the journey in plenty of time to the local hospital. There Meg’s eye was treated with a special laser treatment which she seem to carry off with aplomb and no visible distress. I,though, was obliged to wear a special pair of dark glasses in case of any laser rays strayed whilst in front of the machine. So we got Meg back home before dark, which was a bonus for us. I got the bins out ready for collection in the morning and we carried on watching the Johnson evidence. Meg was hurling epithets at the sight of Johnson and I am sure that these sentiments chimed with many of the bereaved families well in evidence both within and also without the enquiry centre. Later on this evening, we will no doubt get a full and edited summary of the Johnson appearance and performance, briefed as he was by some of the expensive lawyers that money can buy paid for by the Cabinet Office!. The one early point that Johnson made that had me spitting teeth was that Johnson was arguing that the BSE (‘Mad Cow’ disease) episode had greatly exaggerated the potential number of deaths, which he could very clearly remember but, very conveniently ‘could not remember’ arguing that COVID was also likely to be a gross exaggeration (which it was not).

In the late afternoon, we received a very welcome invitation to visit our friends in Oxfordshire for a pre-Christmas meal and invitations such as these are always wonderful to receive. We started off trying for Monday (routine checkup for Mike), could not make Tuesday (social worker visit), Wednesday was also fully committed (pre-planned visit from Meg’s specialist nurse) and finally settled on Thursday when we have a pre-arranged call from the doctor but can probably get this accommodated just before we set off to Oxfordshire. At this time of year, of course, we have always to have an eye on the weather not to mention the traffic conditions but the present cold snap seems to have moderated somewhat and we have a brief respite of a few days before the next adverse weather hits us. Apart from the intense media interest on the COVID-19 enquiry, the government has today published its ‘Emergency’ legislation designed to rescue its Rwanda policy of exporting asylum speakers to the African continent. The legislation is designed to overcome legal challenges e.g. by declaring in the legislation that ‘Rwanda is a safe country’ but for the life of me I cannot see how declaring something in an Act of Parliament causes it to become somehow true. The bill will pander to the Tory right wing who want to see us leave the European Court of Human Rights (nothing to do with the EU but set up after WW2 with the active involvement of Winston Churchill no less). The government is trying to steer a middle course by not withdrawing from the Court but by declaring it will not abide by some of its rulings. How this will work, I do not know but I do not see the proposed legislation getting through even our own House of Lords without significant watering down which will infuriate the right of the Tory Party even more. The extreme Brexit/erstwhile UKIP party who have now transmogrified themselves into the right wing of the Tory Party are the people that an ex-Tory PM (John Major) once described as ‘bastards’ and forced them to back down with a ‘back me or sack me’ ploy which tactic Risho Sunak would not dare to deploy because he probably realises he would be quickly toppled. Now that I have our Music Room exactly the way I want it with a complement of comfortable or restored furniture, I feel a little bereft. I no longer have the excuse of looking out for a charity shop saying that I am just looking for one thing or another. However, I will say that having got such extraordinarily good results from the ‘Leather Sik’ leather polish which I have utilised recently to such good effect that I have been tempted to supply myself with the parallel product, made by the same manufacturer, but designed for vintage wood furniture. The reviews seem to be almost universally good so I have a supply coming in a few days time which I have no doubt can be well utilised in our recently restored ‘Captains’ chair which Meg uses every day in our hall to help her don her outdoor clothing.