Saturday, 9th December, 2023

[Day 1363]

After I had got Meg to bed yesterday evening, I wrote a fairly long and candid email to one of my Hampshire friends – we are in constant contact with each to give each other emotional and practical support as both of of our wifes are absorbing a lot of our attention these days. My friend gave me a call late in the evening which I am always pleased to accept following the email I had written to him earlier in the evening but then Meg woke up and I needed to get her settled back in bed again (which I did, successfully) Having made a cup of tea this morning, I thought I briefly heard the sound of our front door bell coming vaguely through the ether. I was not mistaken and it was actually the Worcester-Bosch engineer who had made us his first port of call. I needed to open the back gate to let him in and,evidently, I was delighted to see him. He was with us about an hour, replacing the upper air vent, the pump, some seals and the drooping front lower door as well as giving the whole boiler a service. I texted the good news to our son, on his way to see his wife’s mother and also my friends down the road who knew that we had been without heating and had offered whatever help was needed. Our son opined that I probably had the equivalent of a new or at least reconditioned boiler with which judgement I agree. Meg and I treated ourselves to a steaming bowl of porridge this morning and then put both the hot water and the central heating onto a ‘continuous’ setting for the next few hours to heat the house up and to encourage the system to replenish itself. Then we ensured that we were down at Waitrose promptly at 10.30 in the morning where we met up with two of our friends (both of whom are coping with ill husbands) so we had a bit of a ‘moanfest’ to each other and shared with each other the various traumas of the week. We had to inform them that next Tuesday we were going to have to miss our regular get-together because we have a meeting arranged with the social worker which we did not want to rearrange and is going to be quite an important meeting anyway. We got back home at 11.30 just in time to coincide with the Eucharistic minister who visits us from our local church and, as is usual, have a few minutes of spiritual uplifting as well as a general chat which is always a source of enjoyment. After she had left, it was time for us to start to think about and to prepare the lunch which was the haddock pie not consumed yesterday but which we accompanied by a melange of onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and some petit pois.

After lunch, we caught up on a bit of Sky News and there was a particular ‘Saturday’ style slot which we really enjoyed. The presenter of the ‘Politics Hub’ on Sky News at 7.00 each evening, Sophie Ridge, was putting on a programme featuring political cartoons of the year. The programme featured three guests and they ranged over ‘political cartoon of the year’ as well as ‘political cartoonist of the year’. Each year, Peter Brookes, the political cartoonist of ‘The Times‘ publishes a series of his favourite cartoons, taking one for each month of the year. Peter Brookes’ cartoons are savagely and brilliantly funny and he has a technique of tying two current political events or stories together into a single cartoon. In ‘The Times‘ supplement published towards the end of December each year, Brookes adds a brief paragraph of explanation, detailing the context of the paticular cartoon and this is incredibly informative in case one had either inadvertently not seen that particular cartoon or, even more to the point, failed to grasp the complete sigificance of the two intertwined stories. I must confess I often have the image in my mind of what might be an interesting political cartoon but a complete inability to draw means that this is another career ambition which has had to be abandoned.

This afternoon, Meg and I resumed our viewing of the film ‘Passage to India‘ which we can view by courtesy of Amazon Prime video. Although I may well have seen this serialised some decades ago, I could not remember the plot lines. But we were gripped by the second half of the film and our enjoyment was enhanced both by a stellar cast and also the quality of the cinematography. In fact, I think the defintion and the colour rendition makes this cut-price Toshiba the best of the TVs that we have in the house that I am almost tempted to junk or present TV in the bedroom (probably about 7-8 years old and showing its age by now) and substitute another Toshiba. However, I am sure that we have other priorities at the moment. Next week, we are going to have a particularly busy week culminating with seeing our friends in Oxfordshire towards the end of the week and with engagements every day of the week so a quiet day getting ready for this might be called for. At the moment, Meg and I are just basking in the glow and warmth of our recently restored central heating system after enduring some privations in the last couple of days.