Friday, 28th January, 2022

[Day 683]

So another week is drawing to a close and, with it, the month of January is nearly over as well. After our normal catching up on the week’s news with our domestic help, Meg and I made our way, somewhat belatedly, down to the park. The weather was bright but a little on the chilly side but we reached our normal bench without much ado. No sooner had we finished supping our coffee but our University of Birmingham friend spotted us from afar and came to join us, cup of coffee in his hand. As we didn’t see him (much) last weekend, we had quite a lot to catch up on and after we had chatted for a bit, I made my rapidly to the newsagent to pick up our daily ration and then on to Waitrose which is almost like a corner shop for us now. Then I made my way back to the park and we carried on with our chat. But by now, it was getting a little on the cool side so our friend very kindly gave us both a lift back which was especially welcome as it saved us some time and we needed to cook some lunch for Meg and I and our domestic help who was joining us. Lunch today was going to be some pollock, made a bit more flavoursome with a sweet chilli and garlic sauce which I had seen on a YouTube video was a good way to enhance this fish which,whilst being nutritious, is somewhat bland in flavour. I approached my cooking venture with a degree of trepidation as I cooking with some fish that was not completely thawed so I had to pre-cook a little before applying the marinade. However, all worked well and I served the fish on a bed of lettuce and a glass of really dry white South African wine. I am pleased to say that all of these ingredients blended really well with each other and feel quite confident about repeating this on further Fridays. On my son’s advice, I was pretty sparing in the use of the sauce/marinade so as not to overdo the amount of salt to which I might otherwise be exposed but it is always good to prepare a meal which is nutritious as well as being low in calories, salt and the ubiquitous sugar.

There is quite some turmoil going on behind the scenes which seems to delay the publication of the Sue Gray report – originally thought to be last Wednesday/Thursday. It looks as though the Metropolitan police have asked that the Gray report not reveal any information which might prejudice their own enquiry – which itself might take weeks or even months. The Met’s request indicates Ms Gray will either have to make significant changes to her report before publication or delay it until after the force’s inquiry. This places a tremendous burden upon Sue Gray. She has the option of delaying her report until the police investigation is complete (which may be months) or publishing an incomplete/severely redacted version in the next few days which has all of the appearance of a ‘cover up’. Indeed, some lawyers are even now starting to wonder out loud whether the police have the legal right to request that the internal Gray report be amended or delayed. In the meanwhile, Boris Johnson must be laughing his socks off as with each day that passes, he has the ability through the power of delay to minimise its impact. It is already being said that various ‘trade-offs’ are being negotiated as I write to the effect that backbencher support might be sought for the proce of delaying the much disliked National Insurance rate increases due shortly. In practice, Boris Johnson through the delay and whilst playing for time may emerge not badly damaged from all of this but only time will tell. Some late breaking news on Sky is to the effect that the Met are denying that they are delaying the report and Commander Catherine Roper (in charge of the investigation) has indicated that ‘We have not delayed this report and the timing of its release is a matter for the Cabinet Office inquiry team.

In the early evening, a friend of mine from down the road phoned me to see if I could help with her energy supplier. The energy supplier he was with had just gone bust in common with many others of the new, small entrants to the market and the Regulator had allocated him to British Gas. They, in turn were proving very difficult to contact so my friend was in a certain amount of turmoil because the existing company had gone bust and therefore couldn’t be contacted and the new one (British Gas) was not keen to talk to customers. As I had just changed to a new supplier which I will not now name but have had excellent service at a reasonable price, I managed to dig out a telephone number to see if they could be of any assistance.