Wednesday, 20th December, 2023

[Day 1374]

Last night, Meg and I attended the annual carol service which is held in our local church. When we used to attend regularly each Saturday evening, we tended to arrive half an hour before the commencement of the service in order to gain a parking slot and so today we arrived some 40 minutes before the service was due to start as we thought the church would be crowded to the rafters. In the event, we were one of the first to arrive and, indeed, had to wait for the church to be opened up. Before the service started, we got chatting to a parishioner who played the viola in local ensembles and the time flew by until 7.00pm. When the service of carols and readings was concluded, we intended to go straight home but as we the first to arrive, we discovered that we were completely blocked in the car park and it took quite a long time to clear. So we decided to avail ourselves of tea and mince pies in the adjoining parish hall and to commune with some of the regular parishioners who we had not seen for some time. People were very solicitous and concerned about Meg’s health and we certainly feel that it is was worth the effort of attending, even though that it meant that we an hour late in getting Meg to bed. This morning, I was just about to start my normal routine of getting Meg washed and dressed in the bathroom when the doorbell rang and it was a care worker (the same one who turned up 30 minutes late yesterday) who had come to offer some assistance with Meg’s personal care. In practice, the care assistant just stood there watching whilst I did everything that needed to be done (after all, I have these things off to a fine art by now) and then asked if she there was anything she could do to help. I suggested that she help to brush Meg’s hair which is something I do each morning and takes no time at all. Tomorrow, we are going to have yet another carer who is a ‘new girl’ and probably number 5 in the sequence but I am losing count by now and am certainly forgetting their names, which is not a good thing. Today’s carer had no idea who was scheduled to come on Friday but at this rate, I think I am probably past caring.

This morning, as we were up relatively bright and early, I paid a flying visit to the large Aldi’s in town to get some requisites for Meg (but they had sold out) We got to the Methodist Centre which was deserted when we got there but gradually the numbers built up and we learnt that later on that morning, there was to be a sort of carol concert. Actually, it turned out to be an extremely entertaining musical offering. The group that came in to perform went by the name of the Bromsgrove Community Choir and they were a collection of individuals who sang together for pleasure and occasionally gave little performances. Today they were augmented by a recorder group where the instruments played were several sizes larger than the little twee things that they used to dish out to school children and, in some cases, were extremely large, being over a metre in length. The program was very varied and interesting. One offering was to put several things following some of Mozart’s best known tunes and themes. Another, which was memorable, was the work of a local Gloucestershire musician whyo was both a serious recorder player as well as a jazz player. So we presented with offerings such as two carols seamlessly stiched together with some jazz overtones – all that I can say is that it worked. We also had some community participation with Good King Wenceslas sang in such a way that after a communal first verse, all the males present took the works of the King whilst all the females sang the part of the Page. All of this was quite a good idea because it made the event a much more communal event. At the end of the performance, we were approached by the viola player (whose acquaintance we had just made the night before) but who was one of the recorder group on this occasion and expressed delight that we managed to make this performance as well as last night’s. So when Meg and I left for home, we felt that we had an original and entertaining musical experience that was enriching in a sort of way.

Meg and I had sone quiche for lunch and then made a quick visit down to Waitrose by car to pick up our copy of ‘The Times‘ which we had forgotten about this morning. Half way througth the afternoon, we got a telephone call from a specialist nurse for whom there is an 18 week waiting list but who, nonetheless, is going to pay uis a visit in early January. Actually, both carers and ‘cared for’ are just going to survive the next 10 days or so because it appears that many services will be suspended over the Christmas period and will resume once New Year’s Day is over.

Just as an interesting aside, I am typing up this blog on my IBM Thinkpad which really has the most superb keyboard with clunky keys and a decent ‘travel’ on each key, just like old fashioned keyboards used to be until the more recent and (cheaper) alternatives became the norm. Quite impressionistically, I seem to make far fewer ‘typos’ on this old fashioned keyboard and I am wondering whether this experience of mine is a more general one or just an idiosyncrasy. Tomorrow is the day of the ‘big’ Christmas shop up and I am starting to steal myself for what might be a manic and somewhat fraught supermarket experience as a lot of the population will no doubt choose tomorrow as their main Christmas shop-up day.