Thursday, 9th December, 2021

[Day 633]

Today seemed quite a fine day after the storms of the last week or so. As Meg and I walked down into the park, it semed almost mild and n enjoyed some pale sunshine – admittedly, it is still a little on the cold side but with the absence of icy winds blowing from the storms, it was quite a pleasant experience. On our way down this morning, one of my Irish friends had learned, through this blog, of the sad death of my brother-in-law and came out of the house to offer her condolences. Our other friends were also on their way out shopping in the car and stopped by to remind me that the wreaths they had been making for us were ready for collection. So I promised I would call by later in the car and pick them up. After we had our walk in the park including our elevenses, we set off for home. I made a curry with some leftovers and following the family tradition of hving a curry about once a week (carried over from our student days, a long long time ago).

After lunch, I knew that I needed to make a trip into town bar car. Firstly, I picked up our wreaths with which I am going to adorn our porch some time in the morning when I have plenty of light and I can see what I am doing. Then I needed to buy some bereavement cards for my sister and for each of her four children (who have just lost their father) I went to WH Smiths for the cards as I could buy stamps at the same time and managed to get five cards which did not duplicate each other. Then I popped into Poundland to buy one or two bits and bobs and then finally struck fo home. I decided that we would have some homemade soup this evening for our afternoon bit of supper so I took the 500gram bag of Soffritto (carrot,onion and celery) and weighed out a third of this. Then I parboiled these together with one half of a (huge) leek and a fried onion and got them going in the soupmaker, together with one desertspoonful of Balti cooking sauce and some vegetable stock. The result was just how I wanted it to be, even though I forgot to put in some coconut milk which I had purchased this morning.

After we had our tea, I got a call from my sister who was bearing up well after the death of her husband yesterday. She was in a position to gve me the date of my brother-in-law’s funeral and it is now planned for a week tomorrow i.e. Friday, 17th December. This is excellent in many ways as it means that we can have the funeral well before Christmas. At the same time, I can take some time to meet the Yorkshire branch of the family so I am pleased that we did not get into a situation where there delays all the place because Christmas is now so close. After the phone call, I did a quick search on the web to see what accommodation was available. The hotel we stayed in before and the B&B which used to stay in (now converted into an ApartHotel) both seemed pretty expensive but one of the big hotels in the city centre had a special offer on and we managed to book a room at this price. In particular, the advantages of hotels over B&B’s in Harrogate is the availability of carparking – the B&B’s in Harrogate have to rely on street parking which can be a nightmare. So we can now go up for the funeral the day before (i.e. on Thursday), have the funeral on the Friday and then stay one extra day on the Saturday before we head for home on Sunday. This way, we have enough time to spent a bit of time with the members of the family that we have not seen for about two years now.

The press are still having a field day with what you might call ‘Partygate’. It now seems that apart from the infamous party that took place on 18th December last year, there are two more that are also going to come into the investigation that Boris Johnson announced in the Commons yesterday. One Conservative MP when asked if he thought that there was actually a party replied that when you put together the ccounts of the food and drink that got wheeled in, the ‘secret Santa’ presents that were organised, some incredibly loud carousing that went on until about 1-2 in the morning plus the damage to a door that had occurred during the proceedings, he replied ‘Well, it sounds like a party to me’ Today it has also been announced that the Conservative party have been fined £18,000 for not properly declaring the donations from a wealthy Tory party donor in their accounts to pay for the refurbishment of the flat in No. 10 – and it looks as Boris Johnson may have lied to Lord Geidt, the independent adviser on ministers’ interests.