Friday, 8th December, 2023

[Day 1362]

When I caught up with the texts that had been left for me on my iPhone, I discovered that Worcester-Bosch, the manufacturers of our central heating boiler, believe that they have found a slot for our boiler to be repaired some time tomorrow, Saturday. This was confirmed by two live calls this morning, the first to confirm the contents of last night’s text and the second to take some payment before the engineer calls around. Friday morning is when our domestic help calls around and I was delighted to show her our newly acquired classic leather armchair which got delivered to us during the week. I had given the leather, already in good condition, a treatment with our ‘Leather Silk’ spray and was delighted with the result. Our domestic help agreed with us that the chair fits nicely into our our overall scheme and seemed to think it was our best bargain acquisition yet, with which judgement I am inclined to agree. Meg showed off her injured eye and received a hug for her efforts. After that we had breakfast and then contemplated where we were to go this morning. As we often do on a Friday, we set off to Droitwich calling ‘en route’ into a garage en route where we were fortunate enough to pick up the last remaining copy of ‘The Times‘ Then we were fortunate to find a parking space relatively close to our cafe of choice which was quite a lot more quiet than of late. The staff, who we know well, made a bit of a fuss of Meg when they could see she had experienced a fall and had required some patching up – the bruise around her eye which developed in intensity a day after the event is now starting to fade but is still evidence of her past misfortune. The Catholic lady who we know well was off on her way to do some childminding of grandchildren in Spain for a week but gave us some very useful advice how to cope with Meg’s developing care needs and said that she would speak to us further on this subject when she returns in about a week’s time. Meg and I indulged in our normal treat of a teapot full of tea and one bacon butty shared between the two of us. I informed the staff that we had forgotten to pay the last time we called in so we needed to make sure that we paid all of our debts before we left this morning. We were running a little late this morning so we did not tarry or be tempted to visit charity or other shops which is our wont but made straight for home, not least because we needed to have a few words of ‘debrief’ with our domestic help before she had to dash away to do her major job today. Meg and I did not feel like our normal full scale meal this lunchtime so we treated ourselves to a couple of boiled eggs and ‘soldiers’ of toast which was certainly meal enough for us on top of the bacon butty. Our consumption of boiled eggs reminds me of a funny incident that occurred in the B&B dining room in which we used to stay when we visited Harrogate. The owner has become a personal friend and wrote a book about his personal experiences as a B&B owner in Harrogate. He offered Meg some boiled eggs for breakfast, accompanied by toast ‘soldiers’ and after Meg had consumed this, enquired whether or not they were to Meg’s liking. Meg replied, in what happened to be a lull in the normal burble of conversation in a dining room that ‘It is a very long time since I have enjoyed so many soldiers at breakfast time’ This created a moment of extreme merriment in the assembled guests and the anecdote has found its way into the proprietor’s book to be memorialised for all time.

This afternoon, in the absence of any central heating until tomorrow at the earliest, we needed to keep warm so kept ourselves in front of a gas fire in our lounge. Sky News was showing the funeral service for the Irish lead singer of ‘The Pogues’, Shane MacGowan, which had all kinds of interesting elements to it. The most extraordinary thing was when a collection of objects associated with the life of the singer was held up for the congregation to observe and to reflect upon. I do not know if this is a common practice in funerals in Ireland or just an innovation in this case but the whole ceremony seemed almost like a quasi-state funeral, attended as it was by the President of Eire itself. Afterwards, we caught up on the Thursday night transmission of ‘Question Time‘ which I had largely seen last night but which Meg had slept through.

A shocking image has emerged from the Israel/Gaza conflict of scores of Palestinian men, stripped to the waist, shackled and blindfolded. This image showing the extreme humilation of those captured is sending shockwaves around the Arab world. But military commentators in this country have observed that that is what the military do and the British would have done the same under similar circumstances. If left in this condition without clothing for an extended period of time, this would constitute a war crime but so far the Israeli Defence Force has not denied the veracity of the images but not made any comment on it either, so far.