Thursday, 20th January, 2022

[Day 675]

Today is my ‘shopping’ day but I get up bright and early so that I can get to Waitrose in Droitwich before the store opens. This morning, as it had been so frosty overnight, the car required its typical watering can of warm water over it to defrost the windows. Anticipating that there may be delays in getting to the supermarket, I set off in plenty of time but, as it turned out, there were no holdups on the road so I finished up waiting for ten minutes outside the store waiting for it to open. I then had a fairly diligent shop before I returned home before having breakfast and putting the shopping away. When Meg and I started on our walk down into town, the sky was very clear but the air temperature was pretty cold. In the last few days, I had seen a special offer over the internet of ladiies fur-lined boots which I was tempted by and actually did purchase. They duly arrived this morning, a day or so before they were promised so Meg trotted down to town freshly shod as it were. On our way down into town, a near neighbour called us into the house to impart some neighbourhood news to us and whilst chatting, we were introduced to both her dog and her cat to whom she is evidently devoted. We spent several minutes chatting whilst she told us her news to us and we sympathasised with her about her husband (who we know quite well by sight) who had had endured a life threatening illness some three and half years ago and from which he is making a slow recoveryy. Once we collected our newspaper and got as far as the park, we savoured our coffee but suddenly a fairly icy blast seem to spring out of nowhere so we decided not to linger. As we were departing, we bumped into another couple of regular park walkers whose names we had been told but which we have forgotten. Pleasant though the little chat was, we were pleased to get walking again to keep us warmed up and truly ready for our lunch. Now that the month of January is more than half over, we are starting to discern how the days are lengthening about a minute or so a day and this is always heartening and we know that whilst some bouts of bad weather may still lie in front of is, at least the prospect of a beckoning spring is not too far off.

After dinner, we carried on with completing some clerical tasks that have been hanging over us for a while now. When I settled down to have a read of The Times today, I was amazed to see that the front page of ‘times2‘ was devoted to an examination of the ‘Led by Donkeys‘ spoof video in which Boris Johnson is ‘interviewed’ by members of AC-12 as in the fictional series Line of Duty. (‘Times2’ is the supplement to the The Times which contains some extended articles and media news, including TV and radio schedules) It is a tribute to the professionalism with which the video has been made that it has ‘gone viral’ and seen by 6 million views (twice as many as PMQ held just over a week ago now). The video is very clever in that Boris Johnson’s actual responses to various questions put to him are used and some of the original lines from Line of Duty. But it does appear that some of the original cast members have actually recorded some of the more specific questions and these are ‘stitched into’ the whole of the video. Sometimes, these videos can have enormous impact. I seem to remember that shortly after Spitting Image portayed Margaret Thatcher as completely mad with rolling eyes and wild gesticulations that members of the Tory party started to convince themselves that they could never win another election under Thatcher and that led to her downfall.

There is bit of interesting political news that has hit the airwaves today. This is the claim by a Tory MP, William Wragg, chair of the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, who said that a number of MPs have faced intimidation in recent days after declaring, or assumed to have declared, their desire for a vote of confidence in Mr Johnson. This claim is also backed up by Christian Wakeford, the MP who defected from the Tories to Labour yesterday. He has claimed that the whips had indicated to him (over a previous threatened rebellion) that his constituency would lose the fundings for a new school in his constituency. Of course, all whips exert a variety of pressures from the personal to the political but this story that a constituency itself might be deprived of government largesse probably goes across the line of what may be considered legitimate pressure by the whips.