Saturday, 13th November, 2021

[Day 607]

We didn’t make a particularly early start this morning as we had a few domestic jobs done and then sauntered down to the park, where we knew already that we would meet up with some of our park ‘buddies’. We were not disappointed, either, because we met up with our University of Birmingham friend, Seasoned World Traveller and Intrepid Octogenarian Hiker. Our conversation often turns to the subject of politics and today we were asking the question for how long the UK will continue to vote, and to think, Conservative as the sleazes multiply and deepen. Having said that, there was one opinion poll (possibly a ‘rogue poll’) which indicated that the Tories having been 3 points ahead of Labour were now six points behind – and that all within a week (according to ‘The Sun‘) As always, the Sunday newspapers may well give a deep analysis to this week’s events but it does appear that the Tories are deeply divided between those representing affluent southern seats and the so-called ‘red wall’ Tories who won seats from the Labour party in the (industrial) areas of the Midland and the North. The latter group of MP’s being younger and having attracted ex-Labour voters are extremely critical of the ‘Toff’ tendency in the Tory party where MPs sit on large majorities and often ‘feather their own nest’ by taking on lucrative second jobs (for which they often tout in the first place) We have used over the years to seeing great splits in the Labour party between the leftwingers and the more moderate factions but this is now mirrored in the Tory party. Well, it is going to make for some interesting politics in the next few days. There was one contribution on ‘Question Time’ which really attracted the media’s attention. This was the observation by Alastair Cambell, the ex-Labour party press spokesmen. He has argued 'He breaks the rules on the Ministerial Code relentlessly…If the Prime Minister consistently, regularly, breaks the Ministerial Code why shouldn’t other ministers think they can do exactly the same and get away with it?… We’ve just got to face up to the fact we – sadly, in my view – have elected a prime minister who has no moral compass whatsoever.'The interesting thing about this very personal attack on the Primne Minister is that it has already attracted quite a degree of support and so far, as far as I know, no Tory MP has come to Johnson’s defence.

The weather in the park today was decidely autumnal. Many of the trees had lost their leaves and those that had not displayed some wonderful russet colours. We especially noticed as well that the fallen leaves, in many places, had been dessicated by early morning coolness and a variety of animals (young children, dogs, squirrels) were enjoying a romp throughout the leaves where they had aggregated into clumps. The temperature, though, is not especially cold and so we must say that we have had a pleasant autumn so far. Can the frosts, snow and ice be far behind?

Today was the day when at Church we had a pre-Christmas craft fair. Various worthies in our parish community turn their attention to producing jams, sweets, christmassy decorations and a whole variety of knick-knacks. We did our best to support the local efforts by buying a selection of foodstuffs and Christmas decorations – if I had thought about it, I could have donated some bottles of damson gin to help the proceedings along. We met with two of our close friends who had made some of the things on display and were manning a stall – but of course it was a little cold and dark and not the best time to loiter outside the church.

When we got home, we decided that we would have the other half of the spiced vegetable soup that I made with such success the other day. We had parboiled the vegetables and upon our return from church, all we had to do was to make up some stock and get the SoupMaker started. The results, though, were an abject failure – and the worst soup I have made to date. I think the problem was that ‘the perfect is the enemy of the good’ – I was trying to improve on my previous efforts by avoiding the calorie rich Korma sauce and tried putting in a level teasponful of the recently acquired spice ‘Beharat’ (which just the Arabic for ‘spices’) The result was a soup which was incredibly hot so that it almost burnt our throats and the whole eating experience was terrible. We had to abandon our soups, even though we put in extra dollops of yogurt to compensate and consoled ourselves with some choc-ice bars (which were not only delicious but cooled our mouths down). I do not know if I got the quantities all wrong (or may have got a bad batch) but next time, I will try about a quarter or a third of the level teaspoon to see if I can get the amount of seasoning about right.