Saturday, 16th December, 2023

[Day 1370]

Today we slept in a little late as we both had a bit of a disturbed night last night. Notwithstanding this, we got ourselves up and breakfasted and then set off for Waitrose so that we could be there by about 10.30 although we were a few minutes later than this. Once there, one of our regular friends was there and we spent quite some time discussing the various interactions we have had with a variety of health service professionals over the years. Normally, if our other friends had been present, we would not have bothered to be quite so self-indulgent but today we felt no such self restraint. We did learn, though, that jelly babies were stocked by the store and that my friend had a similar weakness of locating the black ones and then eating them by biting the head of first. At the end of our stay, no less a personage than Santa Claus turned up and I accused him of being an imposter and stealing my job but he was having none of it. He did take the opportunity of being photographed with the youngest and the prettiest of the Saturday staff which I suppose is his privilege. On the occasions when I have played Santa (and I may well again this Tuesday if plans work out) we searched for an outfit for Meg as ‘Miss Christmas’ but on the web these turned out to be the skimpiest and most revealing of outfits and therefure did not fit our purpose at the time. At the end of our coffee break, I did a tour of the store to pick up some things that were needed in the absence of a main shop this week. Last night, when Meg was safely tucked up in bed, I did a search for my Christmas card list materials and, after a bit of searching managed to locate my master list of a few years back which badly needs some updating, a little diary with what I hope are relevant amendments, and some of the appopriate size of labels. I did locate a supply of these but managed to order some more from Amazon Prime and was absolutely delighted to receive my new supplies late on tbis afternoon. Tonight, my task will be to update the master list with unfortunately a certain number of deletions as people have died during the last year, which number at least three significant people in our lives and there are always the changes of address as well.

After a fairly conventional lunch, we settled down to see what offerings might be available in this afternoon’s TV. We discovererd that ‘Swallows and Amazons‘ was being filmed and, of course, it has some great shots of the Lake District. I have an idea that some of it might well have filmed on Derwentwater becuase it has a large island situated on it but I am not sure Windermere has a similar island. We knew it was Derwentwater, south of Keswick, because of the familiar and unmistakeable view of Cap Bells which is a lowish height but wonderful little mountain with stunning views over Derwentwater as you ascend it. We actually have a print of a painting of this in our living room to remind us of times past. I had not realised that the film was so exciting and full of little twists and turns – a little bit like the genre of ‘The 39 steps‘ and we really enjoyed it. This version of the film was made in the fairly recent past and I believe that they had to rename one of the children ‘Tatty’ rather than ‘Titty’ to accord with modern day sensibilities. After this was concluded, we had a little pleasant task to complete between the two of us. About a month or so, I had bought a complete ‘Crib set’ (the Spanish call them ‘Belen’ (Bethlehem) which is a lot more self explanatory) This was being sold in the Worcestershire Association of Carer’s shop for £3 and after a cursory examination to ensure that none of the critical figues were missing, I had put it away until the time had come (like today) when it was to be unpacked and displayed. Altogether there were somje 11 pieces- Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus,a shepherd, an angel, three kings and the complement of three animals, namely an ox, an ass and a sheep. Evidently, these could be displayed in any way that we wanted but space was a little limited so we went for a degree of historical accuracy by putting the three kings on the peripathy (as they were late comers after all), whilst the shepherd and angel were nearer to the centre of the action. We finished off the whole with a little fragrance candle in front of the scene.

There have been two items of news that I have found particularly shocking. The first of these is that some ‘Hamas fighters’ (actually Israeli hostages), waving a white flag were shot dead by the Israeli Defence Force. One can only speculate whether if the victims had actually been Palestinians would the story have received the prominence that it did. The IDF have confessed, though, to a terrible mistake having been made. The second is a local story of an operative working on a jammed industrial shredder which enorged him and cut him into so many minute peices there were was no body left for the widow to view or to mourn. The funeral had to be held with an empty coffin. The firm itself, since prosecuted and fined, quickly got rid of its shreddings into a landfill site in what appears to be suspiciously short period of time, after the accident. Evidently, gruesome industrial accidents do occur and many limbs and some lives are lost each year but to leave no trace of the actual operative/victim whatsoever I found to be poignant in the extreme.