Wednesday, 13th April, 2022

[Day 758]

Today was a day slightly out of the ordinary. In the middle of the morning, Meg and I had a chiropody appointment which had had to be rearranged from a week or so ago and this all worked out as planned. Our chiropodist told us that in a few week’s time, she was due to make an attempt on the Three Peaks (Scafell Pike in England, Snowden in Wales and Ben Nevis in Scotland) and I think she was very brave to attempt such a feat. I think she was going to do one or two preparatory walks and then the logistics of the assault on the Three Peaks was handled by a company who transported people from place to place. I suppose that being a chiropodist she will know how to handle to prevent and/or treat any blisters that might ensue. She assured me that she had a good pair of boots which I suppose is a prerequisite – you do not want to be in a position to be breaking in a new pair of boots before a mammoth walk. After our appointment, I went down and collected the newspaper and we then had our elevenses at home but watching all of the shenanigans following the fining of Boris Johnson for breaking COVID regulations. We have recently received one or two Easter cards and this prompted me to think of the Easter cards which we intended to send this year. I quickly rustled up the addresses of most of the people to whom we send Easter cards, ready for posting later in the day. Towards midday, we drove to our favourite hotel/restaurant near Kidderminster where we were booked in for a family meal with our son and daughter-in-law. There we had a pleasant meal and on our way home, I presented our daughter-in-law with a little present of some patio roses in an attractive little container which they were selling off in our local Waitrose a few days ago. Then I popped out to the post to get our Easter cards well into the system and hoping that they get by Saturday at the latest. All post boxes have a little metal tag which should be changed daily so that you can can whether you have just caught or missed the post for the day – in our local pillar box, though, the little metal tag was missing which always leaves you with some uncertainty whether you have caught the post or not.

The seqelae of the ‘partygate’ affair rumble on today. One justice minister who is a member of the House of Lords has resigned today and one MP has broken ranks to call for the resignation of the PM. However, one has to say that the resounding silence of practically every Tory MP speaks volumes – by their silence, are they condoning the fact that the first Prime Minister ever to have been convicted of a non-trivial offence is considered still fit to be their leader? We are not at the end of this saga by a long way. For a start, the Met police have not finished processing all of the potential ‘partygate’ transgressions so it is possible that Boris may be fined over and over again for subsequent offences. Then the Grey report will take over once the Met investigations and issuing Fixed Penalty Notices has run its course. And hanging over everything of course is the act that the local elections to be held on 5th May will be the first opportunity for the electorate as a whole to express its opinion of partygate.

The Ukrainian news tonight is that the crucial city of Mariupol may well fall in hours to the Russians.If the Russians succeed in capturing this city, which now looks overwhelmingly likely, the the Russians will link the swathes of territories in the east with those in the south, including Crimea. This may well be the ‘victory’ that Putin craves in order to declare a triumph in the big military ceremony that the Russians hold each 12th May. Assuming that the Russians do manage to ‘capture’ this territory, there will be the possibilities of ethnic conflict and ethnic tensions for decades ahead.

There is an opinion poll tonight that indicates that people in general are more worried about the cost of living crisis which is engulfing us than catching COVID-19. As the inflation rate has hit 7% today, there is even worse economic news to come as the inflation rate has hit 8% and over. The same survey reveals that some 49% said they felt in control of their mental health, compared with 54% six months ago, with the number of people reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression at its highest level for 11 months. This probably indicates that we will have a chronic mental health crisis hanging over us and, as we know, the mental health services have always been the ‘Cinderella’ services (ie underfunded) of the NHS.