Tuesday, 12th December, 2023

[Day 1366]

Today, we break with our usual pattern of seeing our friends in Waitrose because we were scheduled to have an important meeting with our social worker, accompanied by some other health professionals at 10.00am this morning. Naturally, we were all sitting in place at the appointed time with our best bib and tucker until our two visitors arrived. The meeting was somewhat inconclusive but our social worker had suggested a few extra episodes of care for Meg which we are going to trial for a couple of weeks to see if they achieve the desired objective. After our visitors had left, Meg and I decided that we would treat ourselves to a little trip to Waitrose where we knew that we were too late to meet with our regulars but we always interact well with the staff in any case. When we arrived, there was a very old lady whose daughter brings her quite regularly to the cafe but who had experienced quite a severe nosebleed. One of the staff was acting as a quasi-nurse to the old lady holding her nostrils together to staunch the flow of blood with a degree of success. In the meantime, the daughter and other staff members were trying to summon other medical assistance from I know not where. When things had calmed down a little, I asked the staff member (who I know well) if she could give the same assiduous attention she had shown to the elderly lady to a small cut on my finger but was given very short shrift. As Meg and I were having our coffee, our Irish friend who we had seen yesterday popped by – she must have been doing some shopping in the store and espied us. So we had a quick ‘debrief’ upon the outcome of theis morning’s proceedings this was a welcome little chat. As we were leaving, we were offered a crusty loaf which would have gone out of date and would have been thrown away – this sometimes happens in Waitrose as I suspect that the staff, like ourselves, do not like to see completely good produce thrown away. When we got back home, we had our (normal for us) fishcakes and microwaved vegetables and settled down for a quiet afternoon.

Our plans for the afternoon were a little disrupted for a variety of reasons. Meg needed some medication after experiencing some anxiety which is, unforunately, is not an uncommon pattern these days. But then we received a phone call from the specialist nurse who looks after Meg and who was scheduled to call around tomorrow afternoon. It looked at one point as though this scheduled visit was to be replaced by a telephone conversation but I was delighted to know that the specialist nurse and the other health professional who works in an adjacent office could both call again at midday. We are always delighted to see these two and I think they are really doing their best to provide a little joined up care. The trouble is that little care is actually joined up these days and the professionals have their work cut out to ensure that things do not escape their attention where one service interacts with another. I spent a certain amount of time writing to our social worker to provide her with some background information which might explain to explain the ‘rugged individualism’ that we exhibited before the social worker. Although it sounds hard to believe, Meg used to make independent journeys to France as a young teenager. As for myself, I attended a boarding unit of a grammar school in Bolton, Lancs. This involved the catching of four trains in a sequence followed by a bus journey and then a walk of about a mile. After being shown the journey once, I undertook this same trip every half term from the ages of 11-14. I wonder, today, how many parents would feel complacent about letting their 11 year old undertake a journey of four inter-connecting trains followed by a bus journey and then a longish walk? Following this theme of ‘rugged individualism’ I also pointed out that I had experienced an episode of cancer in my teens with no emotional or social support of any kind (my mother not even visitng me when I was resident in a hospital undertaking radiotherapy treatment). I then studied for my ‘A’ levels completely independently, receiving no tuition of any kind. The same pattern was to repeat itself for my PhD gained at the age of 52 but researched and written in a record part-time mode of 1-2 years. So I was reflecting to the social worker that in both of our lives, we had done everything for ourselves and generally received good results which might explain explain a few things nowadays.

Politically, all eyes are turned to the outcome of the vote on the Rwanda legislation to be taken at 7.00pm tonight following a day’s debate in the House of Commons.There are no less than four groupings of MPs on the far right of the Conservative party and the indications are that they are in no mood for compromise, wanting the legislation to be tougher. In the meanwhile, the more ‘centrist’ Tory MPs belong to a group called the ‘One Nation’ group and they will only support the bill if no compromises are made to the Tory rebels. So the outome of tonight’s vote and of the premiership of Rishi Sunak absolutely hang in the balance tonight. I have a feeling that several of the rebellious right wingers may decide to abstain or to vote through the bill through gritted teeth thinking that they may be in a better position to force amendments at the Committee stage of the proceedings. The right wingers are rather full of their own self-importance and were scheduled to hold their own news conference after a breakfast meeting with the PM, leading one Sky News commentator to observe, perhaps in an unguarded moment. ‘Who on earth do they think they are?’ So interesting viewing tonight.