Wednesday, 27th December, 2023

[Day 1381]

Today being a Wednesday was the day when some carers were due to call around to give me some assistance with getting Meg up, washed and dressed. Sure enough, at about 7.10 or thereabouts, the doorbell rang and it was two carers from the agency, one of whom I have seen on two previous occasions and the other new to me. The older carer is a cheery little soul and I was very pleased to see her. Between the two of them, they made light work of getting Meg sorted out with a very cheerful disposition and so I am hoping against hope that I can have at least this one carer on a more consistent basis so that we can have some much needed continuity. After we had breakfasted, we knew that today, Wednesday, was going to be this week’s Tuesday as the usual Waitrose gang had intimated their intentions to be here. Meg and I were there for about half an hour and were just on the point of departure when one of our number turned up. On the off-chance, I had taken along a small bottle of my own damson gin and 2-3 very small little glasses so I gave our friend an illegitmate little snifter to enjoy after her normal coffee – and she enjoyed it tremendously. After this, I went shopping and bought some extra milk as I think that with the big shop up of last week, I have enough provisions to keep me going for the next week. We also took the opportunity to buy some party type nibbles and cakes as we are entertaining our next door neighbours this afternoon. Lunch was a fairly simple affair as I utilised the roasted vegetables left over from last Monday and I needed to prepare was some broccoli and onion gravy. I am delighted to be able to say that this meal was as good as Monday’s meal was poor and Meg and I enjoyed it tremendously. Then, after lunch I got some things ready for our guests this afternoon and this was simply a case of opening some packets of ‘goodies’ bought from Waitrose. It also gave me the opportunity to display the party food on the good crockery set which I espied in a charity shop the other day and which made a fuller complement of this particular design whioch just about comes in the category of collectables.

Our neighbours are very good company and we started off in our Music Lounge explaining how and why we had bought the various pieces that we had and then explaining our interactions with the social care agencies. My neighbour and I shared some boyhood experiences with each other and we discovered that we shared a common past-time in our youth. This was the construction of what I think in Yorkshire we called ‘go-carts’, in Leicester were called ‘trollies’ and in South Wales had the popular name of a ‘gambo’ (I think). The basic mechanics of construction were always similar. First, and most importantly, one had to get access to a local municipal tip where one could liberate the wheels from old pram. Prising the wheels away from the main body of the pram took some brute force and native cunning, but eventually one would emerge with a prize of two sets of axles with two wheels on each. Then one needed to have access to some wood from which one constructed a platform – the back wheeles were fixed but the front axle was attached to an essentially moveable cross member to provide an element of steering. Now one had to secure quite a large hole in both the framework of the go-cart and also the cross member, sufficiently large to accept a large bolt through the two of them. In the absence of a drill the older boys in the village taught me how to make a hole – first lightly tapping a nail and then extracting it, then making a hole with a small screw, slightly enlarging it with a larger screw and finishing off with a red hot poker, taking red hot from the midst of a coal fire and plunged into the small screw hole to make a larger bolt hole. Finally, one persuaded one’s mother to liberate a bit of old carpet to decorate the surface of the go-cart, some string (generally baling twine of which there was lots in the country side) strung across the cross members to provide steerage. If you had a spare wheel, you could make a ‘real’ steering wheel whilst the final refinement was some beer crown cork tops hammered into the surrounds to add a touch of glamour. We used to run it down the hill and into the into the gap of the Methodist Chapel front yard to complete our run. This was my own experience but when my son was about 6-7, I built him a go-cart. The other local lads, or rather their dads, were not to be outdone so my son’s go-cart was soon joined by about two others and then raced down the pavement of the street where we lived (which was also on quite a steep little hill, but there were too many cars on the roads in the 1970s to repeat exactly what we used to do in the 1950’s). So – simple pleasures!