Friday, 15th July, 2022

[Day 851]

Last night, I received a very welcome voicemail from our Irish friends down the road. They had been trying to bump into us (and us into them) for some days now but we got an invitation to pop in for coffee at 11.00am this morning. This we did because we had got the accumulation of lots of bits of family and other news that we wished to relay to them. We glanced at the weather before we walked down this morning but I had already made a journey by car to pick up our copy of the Times and the sky seemed to have a few clouds to keep the temperature down a smidgeon so we pleased to walk down. On the way, we paused to have a chat with our Italian friend who was bobbling about in her front garden and we keep on promising ourselves that we must make time for a longer chat rather than just a chance meeting in the street. With our Irish friends, we had a wonderful selection of sandwiches and some cake and were persuaded, as we were not motoring back, to have some refreshing alcoholic beverages as well. One of the things we wanted to do was to see if we could set up something for our 55th wedding anniversary which is going to be in early September. Although we are now six weeks before the anticipated date, we are conscious of the fact that bookings are best made some time in advance. Our friends have their own favourite restaurant in which we can eat midday so without further ado, our friend made a note of our agreed date and is going to make a booking for the four of us whilst we still have plenty of time. There were some church related matters that we were pleased to chat over with other and then we caught up with bits and pieces about which we had wanted to chat for a long time. We spent a couple of very happy hours in the company of our friends and then walked slowly home. The sky was quite cloudy and it did not look as though rain was really threatening so it was a pleasant walk home. Having said that, the Met Office had today issues a red warning about the extreme heat which is going to hit us on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday where it is anticipated that the temperature may well exceed 40 degrees somewhere in the UK. So if Meg and I make any venture out in the days ahead, we will take every precaution because red warnings from the Met Office are very rare and are presumably meant to be taken very seriously. When Meg and I got home, we cookd ourselves a couple of fillets of seabass served on a bed of lettuce – this meal has the advantage of being nutritious,non-fattening but exceptionally quick to prepare.

Once we had had our post-prandial rest, I texted my sister in Yorkshire and some friends who now live in Scarborough. I am trying to arange a window of time in which I can take my sister out for a celebratory meal of some sort as she will be 80 years old this year. In the same visit up to Yorkshire, we are hoping that we can coincide with our friends living in Scarborough and the plan, if it comes off, is to each take the train to York and then find a restaurant for a long midday meal and catchup. We are planning this for some time in late August and are hoping that the really good deal which we got on the hotel in central Harrogate we can manage to repeat on the dates that we want. This evening is going to be the opening night of The Proms and there is a going to be a performance of Verdi’s Requiem to open this season’s concerts. When I worked down in London in the mid-1960’s, I quite often went to concerts in the Royal Albert Hall. This is because they often sold tickets at some heavily discounted prices which even as an inpecunious civil servant could afford. I cannot quite remember how I got the tickets now but I think that an allocation went to the London Hostels Association which was a non profit making body which provided accommodation to young civil servants, as otherwise they could not afford to take up a position in London. We did lots of things that were cheap and cost no money such as organising a series of quizzes across the various hostels. Eventually, I became very friendly with the Sports and Social organiser for the LHA and helped him to put together the little booklet which we produced once per month and sold to the hostel residents. This is when I think I acquired a sort of taste for journalism which has stayed with me (for better or worse) throughout life.