Friday, 19th November, 2021

[Day 613]

Today started off as a typical Friday as it is the day when our domestic help arrives to do her stuff. We always stop what we are doing for a chat but today we had a slightly different routine as our help typically gives Meg’s hair a bit of a ‘titivate’ as it now some days since our hairdresser called to give Meg a perm. As we happen to look out of the window I espied our especially friendly cat who as adopted us (Miggles) and whom I presumed dead as I had not seen him/her for about 10-12 days. I espied Miggles two gardens away running along the top of a garden fence (an adept skill) so I raced downstairs and prepared a little bowl of titbits which I do keep in store. Upon rattling her bowl on our ourside metal table, the cat appeared within seconds and devoured the titbits (which is about normal) After a lot of stroking and exclaiming ‘Miggles – where have you been?’ all I received was a brief ‘Miaow‘ which did not tell me a great deal. The cat has definitely fattened up a bit so I suspect that there may be another household on his/her extensive rounds who rewards the cat with copious amounts of food. I did supply a bowl of water some of which was lapped up so I suspect that the animal may have been both hungry and thirsty. I now wonder whether we will receive regular daily visits again or whether the visits may becomee a lot more sporadic. I realise now that the semi-grieving through which I went was probably misplaced. I have just read that basic instincts govern felines, so your house cat may go missing for hours or even days at a time. Usually, a cat wandering off is due to curiosity, hunting, or territorial instincts. Cats like to explore their terrain, which could keep them away from home for a while.

We made a telephone call to our University of Brmingham friend and we arranged to meet in our local Waitrose. When we got there, we formed a foursome with Seasoned World Traveller and enjoyed a coffee and cakes together (although I avoid cakes in favour of a slice of brown bread toast, served with Marmite. When I did our weekly shopping, I bought a four-portion of sea-bass which we often eat on a Friday. I persuaded our domestic help and our University of Birmingham friend to share the sea-bass with us. I was delighted when they both accepted my invitation because the sea bass is incredibly quick both to cook and to serve (on a bed of sweet salad) and we treated ourselves to some half glasses of white wine for our guests and a smidgeon of La Gitana (the Gypsy girl) which is a particular form of Manzanilla – a type of dryish fino sherry. So we had an impromptu little luncheon party and our domestic help realised that she had bumped into our University of Birmingham friend once before as they were buying a coffee in the pavilion down in the park. So all of that helped to brighten up a dull but not particularly cold November midday.

We had a lazy afternoon, with a good sustained read of the Times. But as I was preparing a simple supper for us, I heard on the news on the radio that the veteran broadcaster, Andrew Marr, was to leave the BBC after a career of some 16 years. Apparently, in a training video for the BBC he is reported to have said ‘When you join the BBC, all of your critical organs are cut off and preserved in a jar of formaldehyde. Then you pick them up again on the day that you leave the BBC‘ Although not the most penetrating or pugnacious of interviewers (unlike Andrew Neil), one has to admire his ferocious work rate. As well as the Sunday morning Politics show, he is also a prolific author – and I notice that I have an (unread) copy of his ‘A History of the World‘ sitting on my bookshelves and I am sure I have others such as ‘The Making of Modern Britain’. According to a quick search on Google he is the author of some 60 books in total. He also chairs the programme on Radio 4 programme ‘Start the Week‘ on Monday mornings. He is to join LBC and I think he is also scheduled to present a programme on ClassicFM where he will be interviewing guests from politics and the arts.

Days after Austria imposed a lockdown on the unvaccinated, it has been announced that a full national Covid-19 lockdown starts on Monday. This would last a maximum of 20 days and there would be a legal requirement to get vaccinated from 1 February 2021 and is a response to record case numbers and one of the lowest vaccination levels in Western Europe.