Thursday, 25th November, 2021

[Day 619]

Thursdays are my early morning shopping days which means that I leap out of bed, have a fairly quick wash, throw some clothes on and start off for Waitrose in Droitwich at about 7.35 Then I should be all prepared to enter the store the minute it opens. Today, I realised a little too late that I forgotten to take with me my trusted collection of Waitrose hessian shopping bags, so I knew I would have to see what Waitrose had on offer when i got there. As it happened, I purchased four of their more recyclable bags but they were only 50p each and their purchase was financed by staying my hand on one or two purchases, plus some vouchers that Waitrose send me from time to time. I managed to get everything that was ‘in my head’ that we needed to purchase and it is always quite a good feeling to get home and unpack knowing that you have not forgotten anything. We had quite a big washing load this morning, as I wanted to wash the five pairs of socks that I had purchased from M&S yesterday, together with some underwear ordered over the internet. I had been sent a text, telling me that the delivery of my ordered Christmas tree from Wilkinsons would be delivered by carrier not tomorrow as first indicated by today – between the hours of 11.00am and 1.00pm. Thinking that a signature might be required, Meg and I stayed in this morning, only to discover a small package had been left outside our front door, so we did not need to stay in at all. The small package was the extension cable and the Christmas tree lights that I had ordered at the same time – so I can only assume that the Christmas tree itself will arrive tomorrow, as originally intimated. So I popped into town by car to collect the newspaper and Meg and I had elevenses at home, rather than sitting on a park bench which would have been pretty cold in any case. In the late morning, I collected our dustbins from where they were left for emptying by borough council Refuse department and ran across Miggles, the cat who has adopted us, sunning himself in a sunny spot at the front of the house. I suspect that there is a bit of reflected heat from our metallic garage door which creates a bit of a micro warm spot suitable for cats. Anyway, true to form Miggles trotted around to the back of the house and availed himself of some Waitrose special tit-bits to which he is particularly partial. Today, when shopping, I noticed some diced sweet potato so I bought that with a view to making a sweet potato and leek soup which will be another ‘first time’ for the soupmaker. When it came to it, I didn’t have any spare leeks but I did have some celery which I used instead – and half of my sweet potato mix. The result was really good – perhaps it’s the addition of an onion lightly fried and about a quarter of a tin of coconut milk that makes all the difference. This is good enough to repeat during the week, without getting bored by it.

Late on this afternoon, my sister phoned from Yorkshire with not very good news. My brother-in-law is in hospital again, this time with a bout of cellulitis and he seems to be getting a bit weaker day by day. My sister sounded very worried and pessimistic about her husband’s prospects and I tried to make what soothing noises I could. Although my sister seems to think that her husband might stay in hospital for quite some time yet, on the other hand hospitals are well known to empty themselves considerably just before Christmastime, no doubt because staffing difficulties over the Christmas period must be extreme. We can only hope that with a bit of timely intervention, by brother-in-law might receive enough amelioration to be home in time for Christmas.

The tragedy of some 27 lives lost in the Channel yesterday has dominated the airwaves and the media throughout the day. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, is under massive pressure from the Tory constituencies to ‘do something’ about immigration, not to mention her own vociferous right wing. It looks as though the UK has offered a lot of joint working of the UK police with French police and perhaps, behind the scenes, they are trying to do something about the supply chains stretching back across the continent. I understand that many of these ‘dinghy’ type boats are manufactured in Germany but they have to get to the northern French coast somehow. Having thrown brik-bats at each other for days and weeks now, I think both the French and the UK governments now appreciate that massive collaboration with each other is called for and is really the only viable route forward.