Monday, 22nd November, 2021

[Day 616]

Today was going to be the kind of day that the weathermen predicted – a very clear blue sky and a temperature that had dropped from about 14° to about 7°. We both felt a little tired today, perhaps after the long journey of yesterday so we were determined to take things easily and decided to go by car to collect our newpaper and to visit the park. In the park, we met with a couple of our older Irish friends who we first met and drank damson gin half-in,half-out of the garage last year in the house of mutual friends last Christmas Eve. We were observing the lockdown regulations at the time and hence we were half-in, half-out of the garage but determined to make the best of bad job. Here we are, though, nearly one year later. No sooner had we said goodbye to one set of our friends when our Intrepid Octogenerian Hiker strode into view and again, we expressed our admiration for his hiking ventures. What Meg and I had not fully appreciated was that via the app on his smart watch, he could pretend to be undertaking all kinds of exotic walks, after which he could collect a medal. He said that at the moment, he had a shelf-full full of medals which I am sure are fully deserved. Once he has completed his morning treks, he goes home for a coffee and what-have-you and then turns out again in the afternoon to do another 2km to complete his minimum of 10km for day. And all of this in an 88-year old, as well. Whilst we were in the park we got a telephone call from our central heating engineer who explained to us the problem with the delay in replacing our dripping kitchen tap. He has to get an invoice from his local suppliers and this has to be sent to the manufacturers who will then issue a replacement part – but as you can imagine, all of this will take some days yet.

Although we were going home by car, we pulled up outside the house of our Irish friends because there were a few things about which we needed to chat. He had heard via his wife who reads our daily blog of our problems concerning the new building work next door. He also had a problem with a neighbour’s building construction where gutters had threatened to intrude and so he was sympathetic to our plight as he had encountered a very similar problem in the past. In the late afternoon (and after dark), we received our new external security camera which we are going to deploy on a tree which conveniently overlooks the portion of path which we wish to protect. So this will have to get fixed tomorrow morning. In the meanwhile, I have some additional CCTV warning signs arriving in a day or so. These I can stick on some MDF and attach to the fence so that anybody who attempts to work on the fence on our side will have been well and truly warned that they are caught on camera.

Late on this afternoon, I got the communication from the bank which looks after our Resident’s Association affairs which will allow me to complete the safeguarding procedures online. This looks complicated enough – one’s code is necessary to be sent another OTP code as well as one’s own username and password (which I have forgotten) so I am going to devote an hour or so tomorrow on this and see how I get on. I am somewhat fearful that I will get so far along the procedures and then a little ‘something’ (a forgotten detail) might trip me up but ‘sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof’. Tomorrow is going to be the kind of day that has to be carefully negotiated.

This afternoon, the most extraordinary speech ever made by a British Prime Minister has hit the airwaves. He was addressing the CBI conference and the speech was even more shambolic that that of Teresa May at the Conservative party conference when all of her election slogans kept dropping off the wall. This afternoon, Johnson seemed to have total lost his place, swore and then tried to improvise. He went on a rant explaining the virtues of Peppa Pig and then compared himself with Moses coming down from the mountain with the equivalent of the 10 commandments. He is also trying to justify the government’s new approach to social care which means that ‘poor’ people might have to sell their houses to pay for their care but ‘rich’ people will manage to keep about 80% of the value of it. There may be some Tory rebels in the vote taken later on tonight but with a majority of 80, anything less than a really massive rebellion will mean that the Government will get its way. But this is yet another election promise broken and impacts worse on the newly won ‘red wall’ seats where ex-Labour voters may have cheaper houses which will have to be sold to be used up to fund their own social care.