Tuesday, 19th December, 2023

[Day 1373]

Today has not been a good day at the time of this starting this blog but there is always room for improvement. For a start, it was raining quite heavily when we awoke this morning and all of the indications are that the rain will persist for much of the day. Meg took longer to get up, washed and dressed than usual but we were all in place for about 9.00 where we tend to catch up on the overnight news stories by watching Sky News. We knew that today we were going to fit quite a lot in but we made our way to Waitrose for coffee and to see our friends. Neither of these materialised – the coffee dispenser in the cafeteria had broken down so all we could be dispensed with us was tea. To make matters worse for us, none of our friends turned up and whether they were just deterred by the bad weather or whether other misfortune had befallen all of them, who can say? Last night, after I had got Meg to bed, I started to bottle some of my home-made damson gin as I knew that I needed some for the following day. Bottling is a bit of a messy business as the gin has to be strained through ideally a muslin cloth. I tend to compromise a little and do it with actually pristine dish cloths but after one or do bouts of decanting, the fibres of the cloth get all clogged up and it is best to jetison the cloth and to use a fresh one. But I got six bottles all done, then labelled up (with actually a date of 2022, the damsons being picked in 2021 so we are talking about two year old liquor). Then some Christmas paper has to be liberated and the bottles wrapped up but I do this rapidly and with no degree of finesse. Last night, after a bit of a search and some good fortune, I found my Santa Claus outfit and so I was all prepared for later on this Tuesday. In theory, the care assistant who sits with Meg whilst I am off doing Pilates should have turned up at 12.30 but by the time it was 12.55 and still a no-show, we decided to adopt Plan B. I put on my flannelette Santa Claus trousers and the Santa Claus top taking the outer clothing and the red woollen hat with me. Then I went down to the Asda carpark, got Meg into the wheelchair and then made my way to the Pilates studio bundled up with a Santa Claus sack (into which to put clothing), my Pilates gear and by bottle bag of gin. Once in the studio, I left Meg in the communal area whilst I crept into an empty corridor and took off my track suit bottoms and shirt to reveal my Santa Claus gear underneath and then put on my outer jacket and hat and went into the studio. Here was my teacher and only one of my Pilates class mates, the other two not having turned up. So I gave Christmas cards to my teacher and one classmate, leaving behind further supplies for my teacher to distribute to my class mates when she next she sees them. Then Meg and I made for home and in the absence of fishcakes – our normal fare on a Tuesday – I made a sort of concoction of onions, tomatoes and a tin of tuna enhanced by 1000 Island dressing which we then served on a bed of microwaved rice for Meg and cream crackers for myself. This was a little tastier than might have been expected and Meg and I finished all of our meal. We were not too displeased with the way that things worked out because it was quite possible that Meg might have become agitated with the care worker with whom she would have to have spent two hours if things had worked out as they should have done.

This afternoon, I have been engaged in a certain amount of furniture rearrangement. The reason is that although our new Music Lounge was technically full, I did feel the need for a little two seater settee for Meg and myself for some therapeutic reasons upon which I will not elaborate. After trying one or two locations for the settee, I eventually fixed upon a location with which I am more than happy because our standard lamp is adjacent should one wish to read, my IBM portable workstation is on the other side and, evidently, the sound from the YouTube concerts fills the whole of the room in any case. As there was no evident ‘gap’, I had to rearrange and relocate some of our existing furniture but I am happy with the overall result and I think that Meg enjoys it as well. She can sit on the settee and chat with me whilst I can blog and we can both listen to the music playing in the background (at this very much I am pretty sure it is some passages from Haydn’s ‘Creation’). I am convinced that this sounds better in the original German rather than the original rather poor, English translation because there seems to a natural symmetry of the words and the cadences of the music. In case this sound very pretentious, I see to remember the chorister friend who is one of our Tuesday crowd is of the same opinion. At this time of year, I still like to listen to renditions of ‘The Messiah‘ when they are broadcast and/or available and, of course, in some cities of the country, there are mass events where one can turn up and sing it with a choir of thousands. Tonight, Meg and I are gearing ourselves up for the Christmas carol concert in our local church. Although this might make a later night for us then we would have liked, we have no pressing commitments tomorrow and can always indulge in a little lie-in if need be.