Tuesday, 26th April, 2022

[Day 771]

Today turned out to be an interesting day. As Tuesday is my ‘Pilates’ day, we know that we have to time manage things quite carefully. Accordingly, we went down to collect the newspaper by car and then visited Waitrose to treat ourselves in their coffee bar. Whilst there, we bumped into one of the old ‘regulars’ that we have scarcely seen since the onset of the pandemic. We had a certain amount of news to catch up, particularly as her husband’s health had deteriorated somewhat and this was impacting upon our friend’s health (who also has problems of her own) Then another of the Waitrose regulars walked in but we have often seen that particular friend in the park over the months so we had less catching up to do. I was eager to see this latter friend because in the green fields quite near to where she lives, a whole swathe of what must be (or has been) green belt is to be developed for some 505 new houses. All of the locals are very strongly opposed and not just on the ‘nimby’ principal (‘Not in My Back Yard‘) The principal problem is that some minor tinkering of the local roads is planned but this is by no means adequate for the traffic that an extra 500 cars will generate. If you were to say that each house would generate 2 extra cars (Mum, Dad and at least one teenage child) then 500 cars would constitute 2¼ miles of traffic (all the way into Bromsgrove and back again) and the consequence is that no one would actually go anywhere as it could be that we end up as the first town in the country to be absolutely and utterly gridlocked. This is by no meand a ridiculous scenario. About four years ago, way before the pandemic, I had an appointment at the local doctors at about 8.20 in the morning and I found that I could get to the end of the Kidderminster Road faster by walking than going by car (the main road was practically gridlocked then). But the point of this story is that we had noticed some bulldozers excavating strips of land in the field designated for the new housing and we assumed that the new housing build had started. However, our friend who lives quite close by was able to give me the relatively good news that the bulldozers were there to dig out strips for a local archeological survey as there is a possibility of some Roman remains – none were found however. So the new build has not started yet but when and if built, then the possibility of a Western Relief Road (which the town desperately needs) will be lost for ever. Our friend informed us that our University of Birmingham friend had enquired after us in the park as were not situated in our usual bench. So we shot off in the car to see if we could make contact with him but in the event, we missed. We did bump into our Seasoned World Traveller friend who has having a coffee in the park’s own coffee shop but we had to have a really snatched conversation as we needed to get home to change into my Pilates track suit bottoms and then make my walk down into town.

After my Pilates session, I came back via town in order to pay a visit to the Salvation Army charity shop where there was an item upon which I had my eye. Needless to say, although I had seen what I wanted on Sunday it had been sold on Tuesday. But when I was in the shop I did see a pair of workman’s shoes (buffalo hide, steel toecaps etc) which were being sold as a brand new pair for £5.99 As my old gardening shoes are absolutely on their last legs, I knew that they needed replacing shortly so I snapped these up and will bring them into use once I have given them a good conditioning probably with some dubbin if I can still locate it to givethem an addional degree of waterproofing.

Yesterday a new TV channel hit the airways ‘TalkTV‘ with Piers Morgan as one of the lead presenters. As I write at the moment, an interview is just being broadcast between Piers Morgan and Donald Trump. This program is called Piers Morgan Uncensored and contains some amazing moments (such as when Trump claims to have saved ‘millions of lives’ by advocating the use of a COVID vaccine). But this is the interview that does not end well as, by all accounts, when Piers Morgan put it to Trump that he had lost the last Presidential election, he called Piers a ‘fool’ for believing the outcome was a fair and free result and then says ‘you haven’t studied it’ before storming off the show. I must say that the Trumpian view of the world has to be heard to be believed. It is early days yet but it will be interesting to see how the program pans out over time.