Sunday, 14th January, 2024

[Day 1399]

Today we drop into our normal Sunday morning routine. As the weather is threatening to be quite cold for most of this week, I thought I would start us off with a big bowl of porridge – I have quite a good supply of oats available in my store cupboard for when the cold weather strikes. We got ourselves plonked in front of the Lorna Kuennsberg show and, apart from an interview with David Cameron the Foreign Secretary, I immediately fell into a doze. This is not an unfamiliar pattern for me each Sunday morning but when the show was over, we got ourselves ready for our weekly visit to Waitrose where we were due to meet with our University of Birmingham friend. We both arrived promptly on cue and we had our customary chat which is going to have serve us well for the best part of a fortnight as next weekend he plans to be away in Yorkshire. Our friend is growing a beard and it is at the stubbly stage so far but perhaps when we see him again he will be sporting something somewhat bushier. We did a little bit of shopping whilst in the store and then came home to cook the Sunday dinner. We had a piece of unsmoked gammon chugging away in our slow cooker but once cooked, we tend to cut it into two equal portions and one portion, once cooled, goes into the freezer for consumption in the weeks ahead. I made a good onion gravy and we had the gammon with baked potato, primo cabbage and tomato. Although I had probably cooked too much for Meg she ate it all up and commented how delicious it all was (with which opinion I concur). Whilst on food related items, I realised that I had about three bags of 4 baking potatoes in stock, all bought from Aldi, and I needed to use them up in the correct order. Aldi are deploying a policy, in common with other supermarkets, of removing ‘Best Before’ or ‘Use By’ dates from their fresh fruit and veg. The argument of the supermarkets are that this reduces waste and shoppers should be discouraged from buying (and wasting) too much. The general advice given out there is that the consumer should trust their own judgement whether or not food is ‘fresh’ or not and, besides, some type of fruit mature at different times and have differing keeping qualities. So I went onto the web and discovered that the codes that Aldi is for their stock rotation and takes the form ‘xxyy’ where ‘xx’ is the week number and ‘yy’ is the day number of that week. I am sure that many Aldi customers will know this already but I am sure that there is a goodly number who do not, so at least I have discovered something for myself that will prove useful.

The forthcoming week should be an interesting one for those interested in the political process. The government will be attempting to make progress with its bill to force asylum seekers onto planes with the destination of Rwanda. The published bill goes as far as the centre and left of the Conservative party will tolerate but the right wing of the party has published a lost of amendments, the effect of which if pushed into law, would force the government to disregard the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights. It is probably slightly less than a 50:50 chance that the amendments will be accepted but what I have discovered on the web is the following: Under international law, states cannot invoke domestic law to avoid their international obligations. Even if a power was given to disregard judgments or interim measures in national law, this would not prevent the international legal obligation from still standing. Of course, any Bill eventually passed by the Commons will never make past the current House of Lords and then a battle of ‘ping-pong’ would start with the Commons which may or may not be resolved before an election later on this year. A second item of interest next week is the fact that the Fujitsu executives may be forced to give evidence to the enquiry into the Post Office scandal and I believe that Tuesday is the day to look out for. This might well be a blood sport day for those of us who wish to see the guilty parties brought to account. On the other side of the Atlantic, the ‘caucuses’ are due to start in the Presidential elections and the first of these is in Ohio on Monday next (but because of time zone differences we would not hear anything significant until Tuesday). Democratic and Republican nominees are determined through primaries and caucuses that take place over the course of an election year. While Democratic and Republican primaries are on the same day in some states, others hold the events on separate dates. This is a novel part of the American democratic system which has no real parallel on this side of ‘the pond’ but the whole point is that candidates can very rapidly both gain (and lose) support depending on their appearances and performances in the primaries. On the Republican side, there is a small chance that an alternative to Donald Trump might appear whilst on the Democratic side, there must be hopes that almost any candidate must appear better than Jo Biden who seems to many to be too old for a second term.