Thursday, 11th January, 2024

[Day 1396]

Today was one of those days with quite a lot packed in. We got up reasonably early so that I could get my shopping done on time. This went reasonably well apart from the fact that one of the local access roads was closed so the queue of traffic down the Kidderminster Road was two thirds of a mile long just before 8.00am this morning. When I got back, I eventually got some of the shopping unpacked and a carer for Meg turned up but an hour earlier than was scheduled. She was a pleasant lass who seemed to have had a hard life so far with lots of family illness with which to contend. Nonetheless, she was quite intrigued by the book of ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse‘ and I left Meg and her discussing it whilst I busied myself with putting the rest of the shopping away. Then we knew we were going to have a race around because we need to fit in a dentist’s appointment (one for Meg and one for myself) before fitting in a doctor’s appointment for a review visit. I seemed to be in plenty of time for the dentist only to discover when I arrived at our parking spot that I had forgotten the wheelchair, removed from the boot to make way for the shopping bags. So I dashed home at breakneck speed, recovered the wheelchair and made it to the dentists only one minute late. I was somewhat dismayed when we arrived that there was a huge step insurmountable by the wheelchair but when we got the door open, one of the patients located a nearby ramp which we used to gain access. I explained to the dentist that we were on a tight timetable and she was very, very good and turned Meg around and I in record time. Meg’s teeth were fine which is par for the course and I had a decaying filling replaced which the dentist managed to do in two minutes flat, explaining nicely that it was on the NHS and would only cost me £70! Then we got down to the doctor who phoned me when I was in the carpark getting the wheelchair out of the boot and I explained I would be along in a minute. The doctor, who knows Meg’s history reasonably well, had a student sitting in with her and gave us quite a good consultation. She listened with a synmpathetic ear to the things that seemed to be working well as the things not working so well. The upshot of all of this is to remove two items of medication from the pills Meg has been taking for some time, working on the theory tht the more pills you take, the more likely it is to add to disruption of brain chemistry precipitating falls which may (or may not) be accurate. Anyway, supreme pragmatism rules and the doctor and I decided to discontinue the two items of medication assuming that they were not having much effect. Then we went to our local garage to pick up a copy of the daily newspaper and we returned home, quite late by now, for lunch. Lunch took a time to prepare because I seared off the remaining chicken thighs and then added the meat to a pot pourri of vegetables conisting of onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, petit pois and supplementd by an apple, sultanas and a smidgeon of brown sugar. All of this made a dinner larger than I intended and far too much for the two of us so quite a lot of it saved for a future occasion when we may need to prepare and consume a meal in a hurry.

Meg and I intended to watch some of the evidence being given to the Post Office scandal enquiry by a Post Office investigator who turned out denying that he had any technical knowledge of any defects in the system before accusing sub postmasters of theft. Occasionally, there appeared to be a type of plea bargain in which the threat of prosecutuon was removed if the ‘deficits’ were repaid. A question that I have asked myself is whether, if these bugs and errors were random, whether any sub postmasters found themselves with credits i.e. more money in their account than they should have done. In the most minor of ways, though, I have an inkling of how large corporations work. When working as a barman for Tiffanys in Manchester, one of the Mecca group, we had the old fashioned tills that had a kind of clockwork operated totalising function which the management, and only the management, had to manipulate on each till at the end of the night. The Mecca system at the time was that any credits (i.e. more money than there should have been) were retained by Mecca whereas any deficits had to be put in out of one’s own pocket. This could mean that if, for example, you had mistakenly given the change from a £1 note instead of a 10 shilling note, then the whole of one’s tips for the evening could be wiped out and this did happen to me once or twice. But Meg and I got rather diverted onto a concert and thought that we could probably catch up with the Post Office enquiry proceedings at a later time. Next Tuesday and Wednesday may well be fascinating days because Fujitsu themselves are due to give evidence and one can only wonder to what lies, obfuscations, denials and evasions we will eventually be subject. As opposed to Parliamentarians, the members of large corporations are not used to such a degree of public scrutiny and, no doubt, they will be flanked by an army of lawyers and may well have had ‘rehearsal’ sessions before the hearings to establish what their line is going to be. Nonetheless, it is a bit of a spectator sport to watch some of these personnel squirm when put under the spotlight of a public enquiry.