Tuesday, 23rd January, 2024

[Day 1408]

Today being a Tuesday, it is my Pilates day if everything works out all right. So Meg and I got upselves up, washed, and breakfasted catching up with some of the news on the Sky News channel. We left in plenty of time for our Waitrose visit but first made a trip to an ATM to get out some weekly cash. Visits to an ATM are a bit more problematic these days because there is no free parking immediately adjacent to one unless we make a trip to the Morrison’s supermarket on the far side of the town. But we collected our money and then treated ourselves to coffee and a snack in the Waitrose cafeteria, meeting one of our usual number who has recently been bereaved. We swapped stories about the sequelae that follows the death of a near relative such as getting multiple copies of a death certificate and then engaging with the various agencies such as banks, building societies and government ministries to get everything regularised. I can remember on the death of Meg’s father, I went along to register the death and got into the office of the local registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths. Having run off a death certificate, she asked me if I would like more some more and I blithely replied about six which the registrar than ran these off at a touch of a button and asked for for £7.00 for each one. I gather the death certificate is a lot more than this now but it seemed to be a very easy way for the registrar to make some money for a cash-strapped local authority. My only other details of a dealing with a registrar was when Meg and I were Census enumerators for the 1971 census. As social science students, we had knowledge of the census as well as research methods and we were briefed by Manchester’s chief registrar. We asked him if he had ever recognised anybody coming before him as having been married before. He was certain he had recognised the person in front of him on a few occasions but in the absence of any definite proof of bigamy, he just had to go ahead with the proceedings with the people in front of him. The 1971 Census was interesting to administer because in my patch, I got both the retired professor of surgery who had performed a minor operation on my neck in 1967 (but missed the lump he should have been taking out by at least an inch and told me to ignore it for the rest of my life – which I did.) I also enumerated a mosque which tad taken over an old Anglican church and I didn’t know that the inhabitants were there then until the last moment and then they invited me in for a meal. I also had in my patch a hippie commune who were very reluctant to put down all of these ‘Head of Household’ nonsense (as they saw it) but instead I successfully negotiated with them that the members of the commune all put themselves on the census form describing each other as ‘co-spouse’ of each other. What the census coding authorities made of all of this, I will never know but in our briefing, it was acknowledged that at times we would run into tricky situations and under these circumstances, we were enjoined to get as much useful data as we possibly could on the grounds that some information from an address would be better than none at all. Meg and I quite enjoyed our period as Census enumerators and with the proceeds bought a souped up Ford Anglia, painted in BRG (British racing green) and with wide wheels/types. This vehicle cost us £150.00 and after we had successfully house hunted in Leicester (at quite a distance from Manchester), we sold it about six to nine months later for £125.00. It really was the most enjoyable little car and Meg and I have very fond memories of it.

My Pilates session session went OK and I left Meg in the care of a Peruvian care assistant whilst I attended my session. Upon my return, we made our normal Tuesday lunch of fish cakes and microwaved vegetables and then settled down to watch a D H Lawrence film of ‘The Virgin and the Gypsy‘ This moved at the most glacial pace and had themes that can be found in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Women in Love and Sons and Mothers. We broke off before seeing the film to its conclusion to have out afternoon repast and whether she shall resume it tomorrow or not is an open question.

The Post Office scandal investigation rumbles on. Today, there was further examination of the investigators who were charged with examining the deficits that appeared in the sub postmaster’s account with the Post Office. It looked as though at least some of these investigators looked in various parts of the house to try to find the ‘missng’ money and, needless to say, in no case were they successful. One investigator was a witness today and when asked whether or not they had found any of the money would not answer the question. Several of the sub postmasters have died with the presumption of guilt still hanging over them. The general response of the investigators is that they were just ‘following orders’ but one has to ask why the middle managers in the Post Office never asked their investigators to track down what had happened to the so-called stolen money.