Saturday, 30th December, 2023

[Day 1384]

So this is the start of the weekend and we know that no carers will call until Monday or Tuesday. After quite a good night’s sleep, Meg and I get ourselves and breakfasted and then set off for the Waitrose cafeteria where we were due to meet, but only briefly, with our Saturday crowd friends. Lasy Wednesday, after we had arrived home, I discovered that Meg was wearing a pair of gloves that she had absentmindly donned before leaving the cafeteria – but these were not hers but they belonged to one of our friends. So I was determined that they be put back into the hands of their rightful owners so we secured a parking place close to the store and then ordered one cup of coffee which Meg and I drank between us. Then our friends turned up and we returned the gloves but said a quick ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’ because we were due to pop around to some of of our oldest friends along the Kidderminster Road for a morning coffee. Once we were safely esconced with our friends we had quite a lot of news to catch up on and we participated in some nice Christmas nibbles. Although the invitation was for coffee we were actually with our friends for a good two and a half hours and chatted about all kinds of issues that affect us both. Not least of these matters were some of the goings-on in our local church where we received all kinds of news, some of which did not make very pleasant listening. Nonetheless, we had spent a most delightful time in the company of our friends who we do not actually get to see as often as we would like. During the summer months, our friends were often out doing their magnificent garden and some months ago, Meg was sufficiently well for us to walk down to our local park on an almost daily basis. but now, we tend to whizz past in our car and, of course, the winter months means that we are not bobbling about in the garden to anything like the same extent and so the opportunities are not many for the casual chats that we used to have whenever we met. And, of course, we are all getting that little bit older and the ravages of time are taking their toll. Once we got home, it was too late for us to start preparing a midday meal so we have had a tin of a chunky lamb soup followed by remnants of Christmas cake and cheese. This was more than satisfying for us and then we settled down to watch ‘Mary – Queen of Scots’ during a lot of which I dozed but seemed to be summarised as a gaggle of Scottish noblemen arguing with and occasionally stabbing each other, with sometimes intervention from Queen Elizabeth I of England (this, I admit, is only a crude summary of the plot but you get the gist) Later on this evening is Paddington 2 which I do not think is as good as the first of the Paddington films but I may not be able to resist watching some of it.

In the late afternoon, we received a very welcome telephone call from our French friend who lives down the road for a little gathering of seven of us in total to celebrate January 6th. In Spain, this is called ‘Reyes’ (Kings) and used to be the time when most children received their principal Christmas presents (some token presents being given on Christmas Day as Anglo Saxon traditions come to predominate) In Spain, this feast day is celebrated with great processionns – to add a real feeling of verisimiltude, in some of the smaller coastal communities young children can actually witness the ‘Three Kings’ arriving in all of their regalia at the prow of a local fishing vessel. In some of the more southerly regions and the islands, particularly Tenerife as I remember, the Kings actually arrive on camels which again lends credence to their exotic nature. Obviously we have nothing like this in the UK but our French friend wants us to participate in a European tradition where the seven us stand around a specially baked cake and whoever is the recipent of a hidden token becomes the King or Queen of the gathering for the day. This tradition is new to me but of course Meg and I will be delighted to play our part.

The political shenanigans happenings on the other side of the Atlantic continue to provide us with a spectacle of fascinating horror as the Trump march towards what may be a second presidency seems to be almost unstoppable. But today on Sky News there was a fascinating article which was entitled ‘All you need to know about the legal labryinth facing the former president’ and I have actually run this off as a printed copy so that Meg can read it (and re-read it) at her leisure. The legal problems facing Trump seem to fall into one of three major categories, some of which overlap. The most important constitutionally is the extent to which Trump either tacitly or explicitly gave encouragement to the rioters to invade the Capitol building just after the last presidential election. To this we add civil law suits some of which relate to alleged sexual assaults and some of which are just plain financial fraud. After all, Al Capone was eventually convicted of income tax evasion.