Thursday, 26th May, 2022

[Day 801]

Today was always going to be a different kind of day because I had a clinic appointment at 9.10 which rather set the running order for the day. So I set off by foot and collected our daily newspaper before making for the clinic appointment. Things are somewhat different now as last time I was anyway near the building, there were burley security guards, masked up, making sure that nobody could get in unless they had absolutely firm appointments. I remember having quite an argument at the height of the pandemic as I was trying to make a doctors appointment and was not allowed into the building to do it. Instead, one had to hang onto the end of a telephone and wait for 20-30 minutes to get an appointment in 2-3 weeks time. However, today was routine monitoring, neglected over the last two years and I received two pleasant surprises. The first one was that my blood pressure measurements, when taken with ‘proper’ equipment, showed that I was only about 10% above normal rather than the 40% which my home monitoring equipment was showing. I am now thinking that the unit I have at home is too cheap and not sufficiently clinically accurate so I think I had better pay somewhat more money and get something that approximates to clinical accuracy. The second pleasant surprise was that I asked the Health Care assistant who was taking some of my readings and asked if she could do a really accurate height measurement for me. This she did and it was good to read off the result, clearly indicated in a little magnified ‘window’, that showed my true height differs by about 0.004m from the attempts we made at home to measure my height accurately. I need to point out that this really is a two person job – measuring your own height lying down is easy but inaccurate as you are ‘longer’ when lying down because you do not experience the compression effect on the vertebrae when you are standing up. After I got home, Meg and I decided to have a little trip out to Droitwich to give us a change of scene. We went to our usual coffee shop where we indulge in cappucino and a huge toasted teacake shared between us. Then it was a quick whizz around the adjacent charity shop, then Wilko which is pretty close by to get some cosmetic and cleaning products and finally into Waitrose to collect some things that we know we can only buy there. Then it was home for a quickly prepared lunch of quiche and some accompanying vegetables.

After lunch even though the weather was a little gloomy and windy, I thought it would be a good opportuniy to plant out the two Clematis plants which I bought a few days ago to replace the venerable old clematis at the corner of the house. I made a little ‘pit’ into which I sunk a ceramic pot and then planted out the two clematis plants using a combination of the existing soil and a bag of topsoil which I had already standing by. The new plants had some bonemeal at their base which is very slow acting but I also incorporated some chicken manure pellets I had in stock so that should give a boost of nitrogen to get them growing awy quickly. Then I turned my attention to a little trellis work we have at the back of the house and planted a perpetual sweet pea in it. This, too, had been waiting for an opporunity to get it planted so another good job done. I had wanted to make a start on applying some Danish oil to my new outside broom to weatherproof it so this will have to wait another day.

Today, the Chancellor has announced a £15bn package of measures designed to assist all members of the population, and particularly the poorest, to cope with the crisis caused by an inflation rate of 10% and fuel bills that may well triple by the autumn. The most significant part of this package is that one third of it will be funded by a ‘levy’ on the additional profits of the energy companies – in other words a ‘windfall’ tax. Most commentators are of the view that this package of measures upon which the Treasury have been working frantically have been timed to appear the day after the Sue Gray report into partygate. In this way, No. 10 wants the country to ‘move on’ and not concentrate on the continuing fallout from the report. Three or four additional Tory MPs have now announced that they have no confidence in Boris Johnson but the total number who have done this falls a long way short of the 54 letters that are needed. If an abortive attempt is made to attempt to unseat the PM and it fails, then no further attempt can be made for at least a year. Hence many unhappy MPs are ‘staying their hands’ until there is a strong tide running in their favour (unlikely at the moment) and an evident successor appears on the horizon.