Sunday, 5th September, 2021

[Day 538]

Today being a Sunday, I got up earlier than normal and set off for my Sunday morning walk to the newsagents, wearing my trusty old iPhone which I use on these occasions as an MP3 player. The first track I played was actually the ‘Hallelujah‘ chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Whenever, I hear this chorus, it always sets me in mind of the Huddersfield Chorus Society whose renditions of the Messiah are well known. This reminded me of our neighbour whose funeral we attended the other day as she came from Huddersfield – as I was born and bred in Yorkshire and there was only a sixteen month gap between our birthdates we felt very mcuh part of the same generation. Indeed, we seem to have many values and attitudes towards life from having been reared in similar ‘soil’ so to speak. Our neighbour and I used to chat about all kinds of things when we went down to our Pilates class each week, and so I had one of those strange feelings that you sometimes have when someone ‘s death has been recent that you cannot believe that they have actually ‘gone’ and may not suddenly reappear. In the case of ‘the Messiah‘ it used to be the case that if you were reasonably musically competent and could read a score you could go down to the Town Hall Square in front of Leeds Town Hall and you could actually sing in the chorus of the society (tenor, bass etc.) I think that this tradition is actually carried on in other northern and midland towns and cities but I haven’t heard of any performances recently. After this track, there was a track from Mozart’s opera ‘Don Giovanni’ entitled ‘Il mio Tesoro‘ which our son played on his clarinet for one of his music exams when he was aged about 10 – certainly at primary school. He carried on playing the clarinet and actually won the school music prize for playing the second slow movement of the Mozart clarinet concerto when he was about 13.(By a weird coincidence, this is actually playing on as I blog) Shortly afterwards, a combination of locomotives , photography and young women became his abiding life interest and the clarinet was abandoned. In fact, to this day, I am not even sure what happened to it. Anyway, we were extraordinarily proud of our son having won the music competition when he did but then he musical tastes changed to Marillion and the like (late 1970’s and early 1980’s)

We had a lunch of pork which had been cooking in the slow cooker all morning whilst we had been out in the park. Then it was a typical lazy Sunday afternoon whilst we slowly digested the newspapers. Then we treated ourselves to watching the progress of the English cricket team in ‘Today at the Test‘ where the Indian batsmen built up quite an impressive lead, leaving England a total of over 350 to reach in their final innings which has hardly ever been done before. However, the English batsmen managed to make a score of about 70 without loss, setting the scene for an incredibly exciting run chase tomorrow. We will resist the temptation to listen to it on the radio but will wait until we know the best (or the worst) when we tune in tomorrow.

In the early evening, I gave my sister a FaceTime call to see if there was any more news about her husband (my brother-in-law) who is currently in hospital. We know that they are going to try a shot of radiotherapy to alleviate some of his symptoms but this might take several days to organise. The only bright spot about all of this is that he is hospital in Harrogate, Yorkshire which was a very good reputation. We were FaceTiming for quite a long time with my sister because she is alone in the house and I felt that she needs as much moral support as we can give her – particularly as the immediate future is somewhat uncertain. When I get some time, I thought I would write my brother-in-law a long letter to give him some diversion. My sister informed me that they have taken away all of the TV’s normally over each patient’s bed as an infection risk. One of his sons has managed to get his a little radio upon which he may be able to follow the Test Match (as an ardent cricket fan) but he of the generation that finds even using a mobile phone phone problematic, let alone an iPad so he can FaceTime. I imagine the next few days in hospital are going to be rather a miserable time for him (particularly as he quite deaf so communication with hospital staff may be problematic).

The newspapers are full of the dilemma facing the government as they intend to make a long-delayed announcement about the funding of long term social care – a ball which had been ‘kicked into the long grass’ for about a decade now but decisions do have to be made. I gather the preferred option seems to be a rise in National Insurance contributions but large part of the Tory Party are up in arms about that (as the burden falls upon those who are younger and in work but most of the recipients are the older generation who have been quite well provided for over the years) This autumn is going to see quite a lot of fireworks politically – watch this space!