Saturday, 25th June, 2022

[Day 831]

After we had breakfasted on boiled eggs this morning, Meg and I spent a certain amount of time on the net thinking in the broadest of terms about what type of late summer holiday we might like to think about. Some parktime acquaintances of ours had just returned from a holiday down the Rhine and they explained to us that they loaded their suitcases onto a coach in Bromsgrove and the next time they saw them they were on board their cruise ship. So we investigated one of the best companies who specialise in this type of business (‘Shearings’) as the thought of avoiding all of the hassle of security checks in crowded airports seems quite attractive to us, not least as we would not have the trouble of hoisting suitcases all over the place. There were several options of tours of classical Spain that we thought sounded quite attractive until I realised that the tours on offer were for 2023 not this year. So we abandoned that idea temporarily. Then we started to think whether we could visit our familiar old haunts in La Coruña, Northern Spain but even here things have changed. For a start, our preferred airline that flies direct to Coruna only now seems to fly out of Gatwick and not Heathrow. Nonetheless, we could get our preferred hotel at a ‘normal’ price and the flights are more expensive than they were but not massively so, so we are still considering this as an option. I investigated getting to Gatwick by train and I think I can do this in a couple of hops if I can get to Reading and then a direct train to Gatwick. But when I thought of a train jouney with two or three changes, perhaps I just might be better just taking the car to Gatwick where I think the journey is only about 25 miles longer than Heathrow. So this is another possibility. I then went back onto the Shearings websites and there are some possibilities of touring the Pyrenees by a succession of ‘Little Trains’ this September. So we are in the position where we might assemble several of our options together and then try and choose the least stressful looking at the journey as a whole. It might well be that we go to La Coruna for the last time under our own steam this year and then rely upon coach tours (avoiding airports) for holidays from 2023 onwards.

All of this investigation delayed us somewhat so we went down to collect our newspaper by car and then took the car to the park in case we caught in a sudden downpour. Whilst in the newsagents, I saw a flyer advertising a free concert tomorrow night in the local Anglican Church and would enjoy all of the items on the programme. So if we manage to get along to this, I popped in to see our Irish friends to see if tomorrow night we could park our car on their driveway and then we only have a walk for about 200-300 years to the church. They agreed to our request so we got home and cooked ourselves a Saturday lunch of quiche. To make our vegetables a little more interesting, I had parboiled some little sticks of carrots before we went to the park and then I popped these and some petit pois into a little saucepan which I quickly tossed in oil and I added a spoonful to syrup which makes this mixture somewhat exotic. After lunch which we had taken quite early, I thought that I would seize the opportunity to get the lawns cut today. This was quite a bonus as I imagined that after the showers orf rain we had had today then the lawns may have been too wet. But I did manage to get the lawns cut with only a little smatter of rain two thirds of the way through to impede my progress. Then in the late afternoon we went to church as we always do on a Saturday and returned home to watch a summary of the cricket Test Match whilst we ate a ‘nursery tea’ of rhubarb, yogurt and Neapolitan icecream. No sooner had we finished this but our next door nigbour knocked at the door with two little bowls of stewed fruit and cream which were absolutely delicious. Our neighbour does this for us on quite a regular basis and we are always delighted to receive her offerings which are always welcome.

The sequelae of the reversal of Roe v. Wade (legalising abortion in the USA) are still playing out today. The Supreme Court was thought of as a body helping to keep other arms of government in check or balance with each other but in recent times it has become massively politicised. The Republican controlled Senate refused to conduct any hearings into Supreme Court nominees made by Barak Obama if these were of a ‘liberal’ disposition. This paved the way for Donald Trump to propose and have accepted three conservative justices and the Supreme Court is now acting as practically another agency of government. Having overturned Roe v Wade, they now have their sights on abolishing free advice on contraception, single sex marriages and gay rights in their desire to turn the clock back some 50 years. Nedless to say, the whole of American society is deeply polarised by these culture wars that could go on for decades.