Monday, 22nd January, 2024

[Day 1407]

This morning we were expecting our normal couple of carers just after 8.00am but only one turned up and the other, probably delayed by horrendous traffic jams, we did not see at all. So I got Meg ready practically single handed and then we went to have breakfast. We knew that we had a few things to sort out on the Bromsgrove High Street, the principal of which was to hand in a bundle of clothes for which Meg no longer has a use and was going to find its way into the Cancer Research charity shop. We popped into a few of the charity shops that are adjacent to each other at that end of the High Street and finished off buying some cushions, a pair of which are almost an exact match for the new leather armchair I had acquired just before Christmas and were too good to miss. As we popped into and out of various shops with Meg in her wheelchair, we found that people were incredibly friendly and accommodating, holding doors open for us and generally being as helpful as they could be. I reflected upon the ‘kindness of strangers’ upon which I do not rely but always fully appreciate when it occurs. I also bought a couple of little brass owls which, after a Brasso treatment, now sit alongside the brass owl which sit on our front shelf and could almost be her chicks – the styles happen to be incredibly similar. We are always pleased to get back in time to watch the ‘Politics Today‘ program on BBC2 at midday and were interested in seeing a journalist, I think from ‘the I (newspaper)‘, absolutely making mincemeat of his opponents. I cooked a dinner in which I was augmenting some sprouts (laced with a little syrup in the cooking water to reduce/eliminate a sprouty smell around the kitchen) with some packet chestnuts I happened to see in the supermarket the other day which went with yesterday’s mince and onions and a baked potato. Meg often says that I make her portions too large, which I probably do, but then she promptly eats it all up which must be a good thing. Last night, I made Meg and I a Spanish omelette with onions, peppers and a little garlic served on slices of butttered toast and it was delicious. It was a dish simple enough to prepare but I have not done it for quite some time and I might try it as a main course midday meal sometime, served with a baked potato and perhaps a little salad.

This afternoon, we finished off watching the final part of ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles‘ which was poignant, but also a little disappointing. This is because the film ended rather abruptly with the arrest of Tess at Stonehenge and did not include some of the final scenes which I remember well from the novel I read a few years ago. We had just about got ourselves ready, after our afternoon cup of tea and biscuits, to watch a D H Lawrence film on Prime video when our chiropodist called around, as planned. Although I had got the appointment on our planning board, I had momentarily forgotten she was due to call around this afternoon but, of course, she is always welome. This week we have hardly any appointments on our weekly schedule so nothing to disturb our equilibrium. Last night, though, we could hear the winds and the storms raging over most of the country and the winds actually reached 99mph in a Scottish location. Although there are no power cuts in our part of the world, I am sure that falling trees and garage roofs that are blown away may well be resenting all kinds of hazard in various parts of the county. No sooner do we get over the aftermath of one of these storms but another seems to be hard on its heels, all propelled across the Atlantic by a jet stream in the high atmosphere which seems to be the source of these succession of storms.

After Donald Trump’s success in Iowa,many political pundits are trying to understand his appeal, despite the numerous potential convictions hanging over him. Much of the analysis revolves around the nation that ‘Trump is a businessman who puts America first and will make America ‘great again’ So the belief in a ‘strong man’ is not too far away from the motivations that lead people to adore fascist leadets such as Hitler and Mussolini and makes one wonder whether the roots of democracy in the US are exceptionally shallow. Many liberals are of the view that having got the Supreme Court packed with his own nominees, a newly elected President Trump may bypass Congress and rule by presidential order (or ‘presidential decree’). All of this is going to prove extremely problematic for democratic leaders in Europe of whatever political party. One cannot ignore the fact that Trump may well have been re-elected but there are a host of practical problems, not least in the operation of Nato and the war in Ukraine which is going to make complete cooperation with the US very difficult. But those with long political memories may recall that Harold Wilson maintained reasonable relationships with the Americans whilst not getting involved in any show of support for the Vietnam war, which proved to be a quagmire for the Americans in the long run. And there are some analysts that are saying that ‘sensible’ Americans will still collaborate in matters such as security and intelligence sharing whatever the inclinations of the actual president in office.