Sunday, 17th December, 2023

[Day 1371]

So I got up this morning well pleased with myself (but perhaps celebrating a little too soon) This is because last night, after Meg had been safely put to bed, I managed to completely update my master Christmas card list file and then got all of the labels printed off. I also printed out a little label which gave the current position on Meg’s health and intimating that despite everything, we managed to go out six if not seven, days a week and then have coffee in our three regular venues and often with friends and acquaintances thrown into boot. Also, I typically include one of my pre-printed sticky labels with our contact details on. However, these days, this is not really sufficient if you want to convey some additional information such as the web addresses of my blog, my web home page and including details of my mobile as well. So these two additional sets of labels needed printing out as well. So all in all, when I eventually got to bed, I was thinking that my task on the following day would prove easy as I had now ready to utilise a set of ‘normal’ labels, a set describing Meg’s condition, another with my blog addresses and finally a ‘master’ list on plain paper so that I could tick things off label by label to make sure that I had not missed anybody out. This morning, I realised that one of our oldest friends in Spain was missing from the list but a quick search in an old diary rectified this. I am also having to be careful that I do not address a card to ‘Mr. and Mrs …’ when one half of the couple has died in the past year.

After we had breakfasted, we had a plan to take the car into our local hand car wash run by a group of Kurds which is completely adjacent to the Waitrose store so I figured that the car could be washed whilst we having coffee and this was a good way to kill two birds with one stone. The car was pretty dirty from traversing narrow, muddy Oxfordshire lanes and byways from our trip during the week and so badly needed a wash. But the best laid plans of mice and men! We met with our University of Birmingham friend for an hour and then went to collect the car but they had not get round to doing it just yet. Undeterred, Meg and I made our way to our friendly newsagent shop expecting it to be shut which, indeed it was. But the little curio shop next door was open so I popped in to see if they had any news about the newsagent next door. The proprietor and I know each other by sight so we welcomed the opportunity to see if either of us had any more news than the other. She had no more news than we ourselves had but we promised to let each other know as and when we had any information to impart. But as the newsagent must be approaching the age of 80, may well be terminally ill and the business has been closed for about three weeks now, the prognostications do not bode well. We both suspect that the whole business may well have to be sold or taken over by other family members. Once we had made this little venture along the street, Meg was feeling the cold somewhat so we decided to pop back into the Waitrose store where we out of the cold and I bought one or two things that we would probably need in the next few days, if not immediately. Then we returned to pick up the car but it was still not ready. So I bundled Meg inside the car until the car cleaner had finished his job. As the car was still being finished off, we had the bizarre situation of Meg inside the car whilst I was outside the car in not very clement weather discussing the plight of the Kurds divided as they are between so many nations – Irak, Turkey, Syria to name but three and there may be more. They are one of the most institial of non-states that I know – their position not very dissimilar to the Basques split between France and Spain. The next result of all of this is that both Meg and I have developed sniffles being in the cold (and wet) longer than we would have anticipated.

When we got in, I decided to make the most instant of lunches which was a tin of chicken and noodles soup, a tin of chicken and vegetables soup served on a slice of toast. The idea was to get some hot food inside us both instantly and this was fine so we abandoned what would have been our normal full scale meal for the day. Then I started on the Christmas card list and ran into some troubles. Some of the labels has been printed on the ‘wrong side’ (it actually being quite difficult with this brand to determine one side from the other) Also, the text on the label updating people about Meg was tending to ‘miss’ the label and would chop a line out. So I decided to cut out a couple of lines to give a bit more space and then, eventually, after more misadventures printing the wrong side, got some more labels printed off. Perhaps the whole of this operation is a little complicated by now and difficult to complete unless I give it my complete and undivided attention, I have decided to leave the major part of the task until after Meg is in bed and hope to complete the task before bedtime (whenever that might be) because I really need to get this lot into the post tomorrow. We will be visiting Droitwich tomorrow but I suspect that the queue in the post office could well extend out onto the street as so many people will have left even their reduced number of Christmas cards until tomorrow.