Friday, 8th October, 2021

[Day 571]

Today seemed a strange kind of Friday for a variety of reasons. Our domestic help turned up late which was very unusual and we feaed that she had another life-threatening episode with her beloved Jack Russell dog which looked as though it had suffered a heart attack last week and caused our friend a fair degree of trauma. This condition is now being treated with pills taken at particular intervals and seem to be working. So we feared the worst but our domestic help had overslept (not that we minded) – by the time she turned up and we exchanged all of our various bits of news mainly about family related matters, time had marched on somewhat so we were a little late undertaking our trip to the park. But we did meet up with our University of Birmingham friend as we had indicated to each other that we would meet up on Friday. Needless to say, we were also the object of attention from several of the local dogs (sitting on a bench maximises the chance in thir eyes that you are going to give them a titbit) After a pleasant chat we made for home and then cooked our Friday lunchtime treat. I had gone shopping to Waitrose in Droitwich a day later than usual but made sure I was there at about 1 minute past 8.00am in order to ensure a good, stress-free shopping environment. One thing to which I treat ourselves is some fresh sea-bass and I have now found the almost perfect way to cook it. Having dried the fish and with the minimum of oil, I then cook it for two to three minutes in a covered casserole dish, the skin-side down to make it fairly crispy and then I add some capers and a bit of butter before cooking the other side. I then serve it on a bed of salad leaves – I found that the richness of the fish and a good bowl of salad leaves (which the fish heats up) proves a very satisfying meal without bothering with other green veg – although i would cook tenderstem broccoli if I felt the meal needed it.

This afternoon was a sort of ‘tiding up’ afternoon. Actually, I was hoping to find two things that I had temporarily mislaid (sounds better than ‘lost’) but which my mind would be easier once they were located. The first was little wallet arrangement in which I carry some notes when I go shopping. I always try to make sure that this little wallet gets popped in a pocket which is zip-protected so that it doesn’t pop out inadvertently. Anyway this turned up in a ‘zipped’ anorak pocket where it was quite secure but not where I usually keep it. The second item was my front door key which had also been mislaid because on my Pilates day it has to go in a different location to a pocket in my track suit bottoms which I do not trust. Anyway, this too turned up moreorless in a location where I often keep it so I had a more relaxed afternoon knowing that I located both wallet and front door key. In the early evening, I FaceTimed an ex-colleagues and friend from my University of Winchester days. We tend to have a chat for about half an hour each week or more if the spirit takes us (as it did today) and we discuss what had happened to us in the past week before,almost inevitably, we discuss the latest political shenanigans.

A friend sent me a cartoon which is ostensibly quite funny but also can be interepreted more seriously. The cartoon depicts a dinghy overloaded with asylum seekers and the like in the middle of the English Channel and they are being hailed by a loudhailer from a UK coastal protection vessel with the question ‘Do any of you drive a lorry?' The serious side to this joke is that many of the migrants into British society may well seek to establish a toehold in UK society by taking the jobs that the indigenous British find not to their liking. As well as the fruit, vegetable and flower pickers, we also have the examples of lorry drivers, abattoir workers and numerous other onerous and low paid jobs.The fact that so many of the erstwhile workers in these industries have now been officially encouraged to ‘go home’ and have abandoned the UK means that of course, we now know that we need what they had to offer. To all of those who voted Brexit, I feel like shouting from the rooftops: ‘Well, this is what you wanted and what you voted for!‘ However, since Brexit we had had the pandemic, of course, and to Tory MP’s this is like manna from heavan because all kinds of things can be blamed on the pandemic alone. The truth is probably that labour shortages are a complex mixture of Brexit, pandemic related issues and local demographic factors – but it is interesting to note that Brexit as a root cause is scarcely mentioned or only in passing.