Monday, 25th October, 2021

[Day 588]

Here we are at the start of another week. Our son and daughter-in-law are going to be away for a break for a day or so so we are a little bit left to our own devices. Meg and I are somewhat toddling along in second gear today after our car journey to Hampshire yesterday but still full of the glow of a wonderful shared experience seeing our friends. Today, the weather is certainly drifting down to some degrees colder and although we have had some blue skies, we have also had a few periods of an incredibly fiine drizzle – but nothing to deter us from our normal activities. We collected our newspaper and then popped into Waitrose where we met with our friendly staff who know us well. We exchanged experiences about the wine that we had both been recommended (by another staff member) and had both, by pure chance, sampled yesterday. Our shared experiences were so positive that we are are resolved to buy one or two bottles of this marvellous vintage, particularly whilst it is on special offer in Waitrose. But we did have a very pleasant surprise this morning. Meg had lost her handbag (one recently purchased and just the right size and colour which we found in a ‘hospice shop’ whilst we in Brecon recently) Thinking about where it might be, we speculated to ourselves that that she might have left it behind in the toilet within the Waitrose store as we could not think where else it might be. As it turned out, our hunch was correct so Meg and handbag are now reunited. The only question that remains is how to keep things that way. What with one thing or another, we had a very late lunch today – I think it was nearly 3.00pm in the afternoon until we eventually got round to it. In the late afternoon, I phoned my sister and brother-in-law to catch up on their news. In the past few days, they have both been in hospital – my brother-in-law as part of his recurrent condition and my sister who was worn out looking after him. Meg and I feel a little powerless in this situation as the last thing that we should do is to pay a visit to them which would only add to their problems. So we are in the situation when all we can do is to watch and pray until the situation improves sufficiently for us to make a journey to Yorkshire.

There used to be a time when Budget secrets were closely guarded and prior disclosure resulted in huge penalties (including one famous case in the 1950’s when on the golf course a budget secret was revealed as part of an imprecation to ‘tea (tee) up’). But the situation today is one where budget anouncements are being made on a daily basis before the budget is actually held on Wednesday next. So we are being fed announcements on the minimum wage, NHS capital funding, infrastructure money and God knows what else. I am pretty sure that the Speaker of the House of Commons will take a pretty dim view of budget announcements being made like this rather than to the House of Commons – I suppose the Government takes the cynical view that announcing something a day or so before hand, getting the newspapers to publish it the following day and then ‘officially’ announcing it on Budget day is a good way to let the ‘good’ news spin out (literally) over three days rather than one.

Tonight, as it was a little chilly outside, we decided to have the other half of the soup that I made in the SoupMaker some two or theee days ago. This was basically a curried parsnip soup but about a third of it was carrot and coriander from the day before. Today, it was a little thick and gloopy so I supplemented it with a third of its volume with whole milk and the result was – delicious! I am not sure if soup can actually improve having been stored for a day or so but I served it up with a rice cake (to add a bit of crunch) and some grated cheese on top. These results were so good I am going to try and replicate them in the future.

Some of the latest COVID news where I just quote the bald statistics. If you remember, Italy was the first country to feel the full force of the pandemic (particularly in the city of Bergamo) but the latest comparisons show us the degree of complacency from the present governmemnt. By the way, Italy has a population of nearly 61 million and the UK 65 million so the two countries are roughly comparable.

New cases: UK (35, 567) Italy (2,535). UK rate is 14 times the Italy rate. Deaths in the last 24 hours: UK 38 Italy 30. UK rate is 26% higher No further comment at this stage!