Wednesday, 10th November, 2021

[Day 604]

The day started off today at about 2.00am in the morning when I was awoken by loud screeches coming from the garden. I assumed it was a fox-emitted noise and after a quick search on the internet, I managed to ascertain that the sound I heard was indeed a fox. Apparently, these sounds are likely to be heard in the dead of night in the middle of winter because it is the fox’s mating season and the sounds travel much further when there is an absence of trees on the leaves. So having got out of bed I read a few emails and consulted a few websites before making off to bed again. Today was one of those intermittently showery types of days so after a little deliberation, Meg and I decided to make the best of a bad job and we went into our ‘bad weather’ routine. We went in the car to collect the newspaper and then proceeded to the park where we parked up and made a little trip to the bandstand – our refuge when the weather is poor. We drank our coffee and ate our biscuits in complete isolation as the park was practically deserted. We knew that we were to have a fairly busy afternoon and no sooner had we sat down and were enjoying a cup of tea, then our hairdresser turned up. We knew from our ‘planning board’ that our hairdresser was due today but were a little unsure of the time. So we had a delayed lunch after Meg had had per perm and I was shorn of my usual locks. No sooner had we despatched our hairdresser then our chiropodist arrived – again by appointment but it is still unusual for us to have two appointments like this on the same day. After the chiropodist had departed we were paid a visit by the Treasurer of our residents association who had brought us some unwelcome news. The bank that looks after our accounts had decided to close our account, afer some thirteen years. Even though we have been in a relationship with our bank for the past thirteen years, the bank is saying that we cannot prove who we say we are and despite several telephone calls from both the Treasurer and myself to the head office (but nothing can be handled in branch these days) the bank had decided that we did not meet their safeguarding procedures (or what-have-you) and premptively closed our account without notice. So tomorrow morning, I will need to go and argue with our original bank (which may prove fruitless) and after that, we may need to go and hassle with another bank for a ‘community’ account which will no doubt take a tremendous amount of bureaucracy to set up. Our chiropodist sympthathised with us and told us that the same bank (which I shall not name) had done something similar to her and was generally ‘bad news’ The trouble is that the number of staff in the branch can be numbered as one or two individuals and then they are not empowered to take any decisions on their own. Then one has to hang onto a telephone for about 3/4 hour to be able to talk to a ‘real person’ who then has to refer you to a colleagues with a similar wait of hours. I look forward to tomorrow with a certain amount of dread, having been through their validation procedures once before and thinking that everything had been sorted out.

Tonight is the night when we have to drag our bins out from our individual driveways and put them into an accessible position at the kerbside, ready for the refuse delivery vehicles will call very early on Thursday morning. This is somewhat more than a trivial task as have to drag the bin for about 200 yards – and then I do the same for my two neighbours (one deceased, but the family visits the house occasionally to dispose of rubbish) and the other for our next daoor neighbour who can sometimes forget if he has been out at work all day long. This task always seems to be so much more irksome when you do it in the hours of darkness and one is manipulating a torch alongside two bins (one in each hand).

The latest sleaze crisis rumbles on and on. It has since emerged that former Attorney General, Sir Geoffrey Cox, earned more than £800,000 while working as a barrister for law firm Withers, which is representing the British Virgin Islands (BVI) government in a corruption case brought by the BVI government. The particular offence seems to be that he was doing this from his Westminster office (i.e. within the Houses of Parliament) which would be a clear breach of the rules. In the meanwhile, No. 10 Downing Street seems to be losing patience particularly as Geoffrey Cox may have earned £800,000 working as a barrister on behalf of the government of the British Veirgin islands (in what may be, paradoxically, a corruption case!) Boris Johnson has said MPs who break parliamentary rules on second jobs ‘must be investigated and should be punished’. We shall see… but we have been here before and do not hold your breath.