Wednesday, 8th June, 2022

[Day 814]

We knew that today was going to be a messed around day as we had a telephone consultation scheduled with the doctor for this morning and we had been told to hold ourselves in readiness for the call some time between 8.30 and 12.30 which is a long time slot. We were actually phoned up at about 9.30am and altogether, the consultation lasted the best part of half-an-hour, which I suppose is an improvement over the more general 10 minutes and we felt that we had a fairly satisfactory session. Knowing that doctors typically take your blood pressure if attending face-to-face, we thought it would be a good idea for Meg to have some up-to-date readings before we chatted with the GP. We had recently bought a new blood pressure monitor for ourselves as we suspected that the one we have had for years may be becoming unreliable. So I took two sets of blood pressure readings, one with the old machine and one with the new before our consultation with the doctor. The upshot of all of this is that out doctor in a telephone consultation wanted us to take a week full of observations and then get them into the clinic so that one of the doctors can decide whether any medication is called for or not.

By the time we had done all of this and greeted our domestic help who was here for her weekly session, we then set off for the park as it was quite a beautiful fine day. On our way down to the park, we were pleased to run across our Italian friend who was busy poring over the innards of her car. But all she was doing was adding some oil to her trusty Toyota Corolla. She and her neighbour who we we know well by sight were marvelling how clean and orderly the engine appeared even though the car was approximately 17 years old so we went on our way to the park. There we were joined by our University of Birmingham friend who had been busy in a community ‘repair’ shop where anybody who wants can bring along a household appliance that just requires a bit of attention to get it functioning again. This sounded like an excellent idea but the only trouble is that there were more volunteers offering their time and skills to repair household items than there were clients bringing along objects for them to repair. It all sounded like a sound idea but its long term future does not seem assured.

This afternoon we were expecting a visit from a gentleman who for some years now was doing some of the ‘heavier’ gardening for us (such as shaping and trimming bushes and the like) We knew that he had been incredibly ill having collapsed in a garden whilst he was working and consequently had spent several weeks in hospital receiving multiple blood transfusions. When he got home, he had had a whole series of domestic misfortunes and when our domestic help had run across him by accident in the High Street in Bromsgrove, it seemed as though a cup of tea and biscuits and a shoulder to cry on might prove timely. So our gardener called around and we spent a certain amount of time inside the house talking over the issues that had affected him. Eventually, the clouds rolled away and there was a burst of sunshine where we all sat outside and our friend could admire our patio which of course he had seen countless times as he worked in our garden but he, like us, were amazed at the variety and appearance of the patio once we had engaged in a radical clean up of the paving stones two or three weeks ago. As our gardener has been a horticulturist nearly all of his life, I took the opportunity of rescuing a shrub that was being grown in a large pot in the recesses of Mog’s den. He identified it for us as a hazel shrub/tree – now all we have to do, is to find a nice location for it. I cannot remember how I came by it except to say that I often rescue viable little shrubs and trees without always knowing what they are. We finished off our afternoon exchanging contact details so that we can keep in touch on a regular basis.

Sky News is reporting today severe disquiet at the way that the new ‘deportation to Rwanda’ policy is working out. A Home Officer worker has reported they feel ashamed to work for the government because of its plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. They told us there is ‘disbelief’ at the policy within their department – likening it to a form of human trafficking. The worker – who we have agreed to give anonymity to – has been in the asylum department for a number of years and spoke to us exclusively just days before the first flight is due to leave. They told us: ‘We should offer sanctuary and provide safe haven for those who need it but it feels like we are taking part in human trafficking – transporting people against their will and paying another country to take them‘.