Sunday, 7th March, 2021

[Day 356]

The weeks roll by and yet another Sunday morning has dawned. I get up half an hour earlier on a Sunday morning and this gives me time to get up, showered, dressed and breakfast prepared before I trot down to get our supply of Sunday newspapers. I generally enjoy these trips down into town because I give myself a little concert on my trusty old iPhone – in this case a good dose of J.S.Bach’s ‘Brandenburg Concertos’ (full of early 18th century ‘joie de vivre‘) After our customary viewing of the Andrew Marr (politics) programme, Meg and got ready to wander down into the park and see who we might meet. As it is ‘back to school day’ tomorrow, we anticipated that the park would be less populated by young children – perhaps the coolness of the weather has something to do with it. We met a couple of park friends and enjoyed a scintillating conversation on the subject of computer ‘heat sinks’ before we struck for home. We had a largish ham joint cooking away slowly in our slow cooker but the Sunday lunch traditionally takes a little longer to prepare as there is onion gravy to prepare amongst other things.

This afternoon proved to be a typical Sunday afternoon for us. We spent a lot of the afternoon reading the print off the Sunday newspapers with a David Attenborough wildlife program on the television by way of passing interest. When we looked out of the window, it seemed to be a glorious Sunday afternoon – very inviting for a walk if we hadn’t already got our exercise done for the day. We treat ourselves to a re-run of Thursday night’s ‘Question Time‘ which is broadcast on the Parliament Channel at 6.00pm each Sunday. Tonight, we are going to treat ourselves to a roam through YouTube and hope to be able to get a viewing of an opera – tonight, hopefully, we will try and find and play Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro‘ That ought to set us up for the week (if only because the arias keep running through your head for a day or so after the viewing)

The political story that is running on and on (which we thought it would) is the 1% pay deal offered to the nurses – after they had been promised at least 2.1% a year or so back and this had been built into both government spending projections and even legislation. What must give the government pause for thought is that according to an opinion poll in the Observer, some 72% of the population think the nurses should be offered more than 1% (i.e. what would actually be a pay-cut in real terms once inflation, council tax rises and the like are taken into account). A clear majority of Conservative voters/supporters feel that the offer of 1% is too low so surely there must be a screeching ‘U-turn’ on the cards, particularly as there are local elections coming up on Thursday, 6th May which is not too far off once we get Easter taken into account. But I read tonight that the organiser of a protest over the proposed 1% pay rise for NHS workers has been handed a £10,000 fine by police. This is because about 40 people had gathered in contravention of current lockdown legislation but even so, this works out at about £250 a head! Perhaps the organiser ‘had form’ and had already been warned by the police but a fine of £10,000 for a first offence (if it were) seems to me to be unduly harsh. There is always the possibility that the organiser could appeal and have this fine adumbrated or massively reduced but we shall have to wait and see.

As we enter March, we start to think of birthdays and the like as our son’s birthday and that of our daughter-in-law are fast coming into view – and what to do for celebration in these days of (just about) lockdown? Evidently, we can’t go out for a meal so we decided to treat ourselves to a communal fish-and-chip supper on a date that bisects the two birthdays. I also have an eye on the end of the month because March 25th is the day that I traditionally like to think of as the start of the mowing season which involves getting new supplies of petrol, engine oil and so on. Once you start the mowing process, you have to carry on at approximately weekly intervals not least because of the act of mowing releases a hormone in the grasses which stimulate them to keep on growing. The first cut of the season is always a bit off a pig anyway as the grass is so tufty and I have to do it on a high setting to get the job done. But we have a bit more bad weather to face yet as there seems to be a horrendous Atlantic storm heading our way which is going to hit us with high winds and plenty of rain about next Wednesday.