Thursday, 7th December, 2023

[Day 1361]

Today has been quite a day so far. We got up somewhat earlier after Meg in particular had had a good night’s sleep for which we were both duly grateful. I then departed to do the shopping, first calling at an ATM to collect some weekly money and then filling up our car with petrol (which happened to be its first time it has been refuelled) One little feature that I particularly like about the display in our new car is the very clear petrol guage which is a straight line of 10 little indicators – as the fuel tank is 40 litres then each divison is 4 litres which is about 0.8 gallon. After completing the food shopping, I make a sweep by our regular newsagent which has been closed for over a week now so I am rather fearful about what is happening to our newsagent and no real way of finding out. I got home at 9.00am amd then proceeded to give Meg her breakfast before getting her washed and dressed and ready to face the world. One hour later, a care assistant turned up, according to the schedule, who is the first person that we had of a succession of carers and this gave me a little bit of space to get the shopping unpacked and put away and then I got ready to hit the road again again to visit another supermarket which will supply me with the items that are not stocked by my supermarket of choice or things that I had forgotten this morning. One thing that struck me in particular is that one item that I buy regularly for Meg each week was £4.00 in Aldi but exactly double that in Morrisons so this is a bit of a shock to the system when normal supplies are not on the shelves.

The rest of the day has turned out to be a little more traumatic that we would have wished. We noticed that our central heating boiler was both empty of the water which needs to be at a particular level and was also dripping some water. We sent a couple of urgent messages to two different phone numbers with our regular central heating engineer who lives (and whose business) is only about 1km away from us.To our dismay, we got a message back to say that they were incredibly busy but they would try and call around next Tuesday. But perhaps in response to our second message and in view of our proximity to the firm, the doorbell rang and it was one of the sons who are employed by the business. This firm had installed our Worcester-Bosch boiler about six years ago now and we have always regarded this product as super reliable, But we were to receive some bad news that there was a serious fault with the boiler and water had sprayed all over its internal parts – the only solution was to make a phone call to Worcester-Bosch themselves to have the boiler repaired under warranty. But this is when the bad news started. A call to Worcester-Bosch indicated that the waiting times on the phone would be in excess of an hour and I think the call eventually got answered in just under an hour. Then the really bad news is that no engineer could be sent around until next Tuesday which from today means five days without central heating or hot water. I indicated in the strongest possible terms that my wife was a vulnerable person in her late 70’s and with a range of health conditions and a wait of this magnitude was unacceptable. The contact at the other end tried to be emollient and after words with his supervisor is trying to see if they could give us any degree of priority but, as he explained, it is a ‘first come, first served’ basis and this time of year with cold weather and just before Christmas is one of unprecedented demand. So we are left as a fall back that we have an appointment scheduled for next Tuesday but that some efforts would be made to see if we could possibly be accommodated before that date. So we may well have to wait until Tuesday so it is a case of ‘hoping for the best but preparing for the worst’ Looking on the slightly brighter side, we have a house well stocked with food, a lounge that can be heated with a gas fire, a bed which has the benefit of an electric blanket and we will have to do whatever washing up needs to be done with the benefit of water boiled in a kettle.

Today, Meg and I have been watching the Boris Johnson 2nd day of evidence and he has faced a variety of questionning – some of which managed to find their mark. On some issues, Johnson issues a half apology along the lines of ‘With hindsight we would have done x or y differently’ but on what we now know as Partygate, Johnson comes out swinging. His evidence to the enquiry was that ‘the version of events that has entered the popular consciousness about what is supposed to have happened in Downing Street is a million miles from the reality of what actually happened’ which is a jaw-dropping inability to acknowledge what so many photographs and personal testimonies to the Sue Gray enquiry have revealed. This absence of contrition may well come back to bite him. But the major talking point of the day has been the turmoil in the Tory party given the resignation of the Immigration Minister, Robery Jenwick. He and Suella Braverman only need 29 MPs to rebel and the PM’s Rwanda plan falls. Meanwhile, the sight of the factional infighting within the Tory party on the subject of immigration has been described by one commentator as a ‘death spiral’ which may well prove prophetic.