Wednesday, 6th March, 2024

[Day 1451]

We were looking forward to three or four things happening today, of which the first was greeting our domestic help who is now calling around each Wednesday. The carers called this morning about 15 minutes early whilst we were both still in bed having woken up and then dozed off again. So after Meg was got up and breakfasted, we started to turn our thoughts to our second little venture of the day which was to eventually get to the Methodist Centre coffee shop which is our regular routine for a Wednesday. We picked up a copy of our daily newspaper from a local garage and then went to access an ATM to get out next week’s living money. Accessing an ATM is a little problematic these days but I pop onto the Asda carpark without paying for their charges as I only intend to be there literally for a minute or so. This particular car park operated by the District Council used to have a 15 minute ‘grace’ period so that you could pick up things from the local store but I gather from talking to a car park attendant that this policy does not operate any more and one has to pay if only for a stay of a minute or so. Once we had got our money out we went to the Methodist Centre where we were quickly joined by one of our Waitrose friends and her next door neighbour who had walked down to the centre together. When we had met last Tuesday, our friend described to us how she had mislaid her front door key but her daughter-in-law had fortunately found them just outside the house. I recommended to her that she should purchase the type of chain that I deploy to make sure that I lose the keys from my back pocket which has happened before today. I suggested a local firm called ‘Bromsgrove Cobblers‘ where the proprietor always tries to be very help in helping people with the kinds of things that shoe repair shops sell these days. Our friend was delighted to have found a chain which the shop owner had carefully fitted her keys onto to make sure that she should keep them safe in the future. We had a very pleasant chat with our friend and her neighbour and then set off for home as today is Budget Day and we thought we would get home in time to see a lot of the Budget speech. For lunch, I was in and out of the kitchen whilst I was searing some chicken legs which I wanted to be well cooked before I added them to our stewpot for a lunch. I was attempting to get snatches of the Budget speech and do some cooking at the same time which proved to be a little difficult. Eventually, I got Meg to the kitchen table and we started to have our lunch.

I was about half way through our lunch when the ‘Falls’ nurse showed up as we knew that she would some time in the afternoon but we had no exact time. She was alone as the colleague who was meant to accompany her had phoned in sick today. Nonetheless, she is an incredibly helpful Falls nurse and once we had completed our lunch, we get Meg to the bottom of the stairs and I started to show how I helped to support/push/encourage Meg up the stairs which normally happens once a day only when we are preparing to get Meg to bed. I think it is fair to say that Meg is having a particularly wobbly day today and the nurse covered her hands in horror as in our efforts to get Meg up the stairs we only managed a couple of stairs. The nurse expressed complete amazement that I had been coping with getting Meg up the stairs unaided for months now and thought that a stairlift was an absolute priority. She had brought along some leaflets for me to peruse and, as it happened, I had already made a tentative internet search and discovered what may be a good, if pricey, local supplier. I have the option to buy brand new, to buy refurbished or to rent and each of thee options comes with attendant advantages and disadvantages to be considered. The Falls nurse said she would discuss Meg’s case with colleagues and would return next Tuesday (i.e. in six days time) – although this is normally my Waitrose/Pilates day, I think the appointment with the couple of physiotherapist from the ‘Falls’ team has to take complete priority over everything else, as things stand at the moment. We briefly discussed the option of a bed downstairs but the Falls team nurse explained that if we had a hospital type bed, we could not have rests fitted down the sides as disoriented sleepers might get up during the night and injure themselves. So between us, we discounted this possibility which makes the stairlift appear the only viable option. I probably need to re-activate links with the social work team (having just been ‘signed off’ by the existing social worker) so we would start again with a new social worker and, perhaps have further reviews and discussions of options.

I have not had much time, if any today, to absorb details of the Budget except to note the details of the cuts to national Insurance contributions pre-announced yesterday. There was some speculation that the Chancellor might try to pull a rabbit out of the hat i.e. spring a Budget surprise right at the end of his speech. But this Budet led one minister to remark privately that this is the Budget that could well have been produced by a Labour Chancellor. In line with speculation, the ‘non-dom’ tax status relief is to be abolished which may not please the wife of the Prime Minister very much but such is the magnitude of her wealth, she might not feel it that much.