Saturday, 16th July, 2022

[Day 852]

First thing this morning, my package arrived from BT which contains a router and four new specialist phones. Our new service becomes ‘live’ some time on Monday and, in theory, all one has to do is to plug in various leads and off you go. I am sure it is not going to be as simple as this but our son is going to come over in the cool of the evening on Monday night to help us in this venture. Today, we are counting down towards the really horrendous heatwave which is heading our way, moving northwards from the rest of Europe. On Monday and Tuesday next, it appears almost certain that somewhere in the country, a spot will reach 40 degrees celsius. The previous record was 38.7 and this was set in Cambridgeshire. The Met Office have issued a red warning (danger of loss of life)for a great plume of heat hitting Central, Eastern and Southern England. All kinds of warnings are being given, not only to damage to individuals from excessive heat but also to the nation’s infrastucture. Tar seems to be bubbling up from roads, railway lines are in danger of buckling, utility pipes are in danger of cracking and so on. The warnings are so severe on this occasion that I think most of the country will almost ‘de facto’ shut down on Monday and Tuesday. So I think that many people are moderating their behaviour, for example by taking their exercise, including dogs, very early in the morning and then keeping to the coolest place in their houses or gardens during the heat of the day on Monday and Tuesday.

Today was Carnival day in Bromsgrove. We picked up our newspaper by car and could not then get near to our local park because it was let over to Carnival type activities. The normal car parks were out of bounds but, fortunately, we managed to knock on the front door of our Irish friends and to park our car on their drive. From here, we managed to get into the park via a side entrance, only to find the park full of fun-fair rides, fast food stalls, temporary toilets everywhere and all of the other things that accompany a carnival. We managed to get to our usual bench and were soon joined by Seasoned World Traveller who came and spent a few minutes with us. We exchanged messages of support to each other to keep ourselves safe for the next few days and we may not even venture out of the house. On our way out of the park, we witnessed the carnival ‘floats’ going past on a series of large low loaders and flat bed trucks and there seemed to be lots of young people dancing away and enjoying themselves as the floats moved at a snail’s pace up the road. We got back to our car through people thronging the main road to witness the carnival parade and then made a circuitous journey back to our house, as some of the more immediate ways home were closed or blocked off to allow for the carnival parade. When we got home, we made a quick lunch of quiche and some salad type things which were quick and easy to prepare. This was just as well because it was going to be the ‘Bite Sized Classics‘ concert in our local church. We set off at 2.30 in order to get to the concert in plenty of time for a 3.00pm start and sat in our usual pew. The concert was provided by a prodigiously talented local musician who was accompanied on a keyboard by her father. The repetoire contained some some stunning classical ways by Handel and by Mozart that we had not heard before as well as some film classics such as ‘Ladies in Lavander‘ and ‘Schindler’s List‘ which are probably familiar to everyone. The concert which was only an hour long but contained about 8-9 items was most enjoyable and, after that, many of us piled into the Parish Hall for some tea, biscuits and cake. At the end of the performance, people seemed to give freely and generously to the collecction plates soliciting donations that were destined eventually for the Ukraine.

When the ‘bun fest’ was over, some of us were in a dilemma because we had an hour to spare before our ‘normal’ Church service started on Saturday evening. We decided to stay behind and chat with one of my fellow Parochial Church Council committee members who know us anyway from chatting to us in the park. We did exchange a few ‘medical’ stories as we are both of the age when we have required surgery in the last few years but it was pleasant to get to know one of our fellow parishioners through a more extended chat than is possible when arriving or leaving church on a normal Saturday evening.