Tuesday, 10th August, 2021

[Day 512]

Today was the day when our son and daughter-in-law were due to return from their holiday in Jersey. We knew that they would be returning today but assumed that the flight would be later on in the day and we would expect to see them in the evening. However, we got a text early on telling us that their flight from Jersey was at 9.00am this morning and therefore we should expect them home from Birmingham Airport at about 11.00am. This stimulated me into an activity I would rather have done without. I suspected that there ws a slight odour of something going ‘off’ whenever I opened the fridge door. The only thing to do was to strip bare the whole of the fridge, see if there were any offending articles (and I did find something in a bowl that I think was the source of the problem) Then, of course, you have to take out all the shelves, give them a good wash down, replace them in the right order if you can remember what that is and then replace all of the food items. This I now have done but the whole process took an hour and a half and I finished it a few seconds before 11.00am which is when my son and daughter-in-law were scheduled to return. I was glad, in a sort of way, that this had happened as you do need to do it periodically, particularly in the summer time. I am also determined to keep the fridge somewhat understocked in future so that errant items are less likely to be forgotten and I also decided to introduce a more logical order for things such that they can be located more easily. We have another little domestic drama which is causing some annoyance. One of the taps in the utility room adjoining our kitchen sprung a leak from somewhere around its base. Eventually the seepage became a drip and then a more-or-less continuously running tap and I had to report to all kinds of binding cloths to attempt to stem the flow and stop what what was rapidly becoming a type of Chinese water torture. Evidently, I had left messages for the plumber last Thursday and Friday but in the nature of the beast, a dripping tap is the very last of a plumber’s priorities when there are boilers to service. The refrain from Woodie Allen kept running through my head ‘not only is God dead but you try finding a plumber on a Sunday!‘ My son took charge of the situation and gave the tap unit as a whole a tweak which I dare not do for fear of making a bad situation worse. We have finally got a time for the plumber to call round but we will have to wait until Thursday afternoon. As we were running a bit short of time, we raced down in the car to pick up our newspapers, had the briefest of elevenses breaks in the park, raced back home again in the car and then I do a quick change before heading off for my Pilates class (routine every Tuesday) Perhaps because of all of the running around this morning, I was not feeling in top form and subsequently the Pilates session proved a bit more difficult for me than is usual. Then it was home and a lightning quick lunch which we just about finished by 3.30pm

By arrangement, I then Skyped one of my ex-colleagues from the University of Winchester. We tend to have an extended chart every fortnight or so but this time round it had been a longer gap than this and we had a lot to say to each other (and not the kinds of things to go into a blog anyway) All in all, by the time we had exchanged accounts of what had happening to us in our day-to-day lives we spent the best part of a couple of hours together which absolutely flew by. We will probably chat again in a fortnight’s time but we reminded each other go jokes, stories and reminiscences which permeates our chats with each other.

There are two news stories dominating the media this evening, one foreign (sort of) an the other domestic. The ‘foreign’ story concerns Prince Andrew where a woman claims she was sexually assaulted by him when she was 17 twice at locations in the United States and once at Maxwell’s home in Belgravia, London. Sky news incidentally have an amazing graphic dawn upon the flight logs of various aircraft in which the young woman question had been flown all over locations in the US as well as London, Paris and southern Spain as part of the Epstein sex-trafficking operations. The interesting question is actually the writ can actually be served upon Prince Andrew given his policy of non-cooperation and non-availability. Also, once entered into the legal system, the rich and powerful have tremendous options to delay and hinder a full court hearing so one imagines the this particular scenario will go on for months or even years.

The second domestic story today is that it is ‘A’level results day and the headline figure is that practically 45% of pupils entered for the examinations have achieved a grade of ‘A’or ‘A*’ Those responsible for teaching the pupils argue that the results indicate a lot of incredibly hard work from pupils whose educational progression has been far from smooth in the last couple of years given lockdowns, distance leaning and the innovations having to be shown to deliver education in the most trying of circumstances. On the other hand, are these results fair when measured across the generations (people might not have got into course/ universities of their choice last year when they would have done this year)?