Wednesday, 24th August, 2022

[Day 891]

So the day of travelling has arrived but I never sleep at all well if I know that I have a long journey the following day. We had an alarm set for 6.15 so we got up, had a cup of tea and then got going with the final bits of packing, a few items of food for the hotel bedroom and some bits and pieces that make life in a hotel bedroom a little less like indoor camping. We managed to set off at just a few minutes after 900 am and then hit our morotorway service station which is almost exactly half way at just before the projected time. Then it was off for Wetherby at which we hoped to arrive at just about midday. We were slightly thwarted in our efforts because having travelled 150 miles trouble free we then ran into a massive traffic jam just north of Leeds. There is a place called Bramham tht was having a ‘horsy’ kind of event, I think, and there were a lot of temporary traffic signs routing the traffic for the Leeds International Musical festival and I think that this might have added to the overall slowdown. We eventually got to Wetherby just after 12.00pm and after a little bit of lurking managed to get a convenient parking spot Then it was inside the ‘Wetherby Whaler’ for our senior’s three course meal which, as always, was delicious and satisfying. After lunch, we sought out a florist that we had spotted when we were here about one month ago and bought something that we had our eye upon. Just round the crner was a coffee and cake shop, independently owned, where we had a cappuchio and a mocha of the highest quality. We got into conversation with a couple from outside Lancaster who were treating themselves to a little visit to Yorkshire. In the past, they had taken some of their dogs along to dog shows, including Crufts on one or two occasions, so we exchanged notes about what we know about dog breeding (which is practically zilch), but since my sister and my mother had both shown dogs in the past, we could make some sort of connection. To be honest, we spent more time talking about how we had coped with the pandemic in our various ways rather than dog breeding as such.

Then we struck off for Harrogate to the hotel in which we were booked. True to their word, they had reserved a space for us (which we had requested in advance) and we were pleased to have this at our disposal. The only downside to our room is that although on the last two occasions the internet connected instantly and flawlessly, this was not true today. I followed the instructions but got an obscure message to the effect that I had joined the network but the network could not access the internet. After several fruitless efforts in which I tried everything I could think off, eventually I started to ‘hotspot’ using my iPhone and this seems to work OK so I will put up with that during the length of our stay. Most of the afternoon was involved in unpacking and getting out little ‘hotel systems’ in place which we deploy to make life more comfortable.

The political news today is almost predicatble. As the Ukraine is trying not to over-celebrate fify years of independence from Russia, Boris Johnson could not resist anoher ‘surprise’ visit to the Ukraine where (surprise! surprise!) he was given an award by the Ukrainian leader. The Tory election campaign is now in its last two year and, enboldened by a thirty point lead over her rival, is now uttering warnings of the type of Prime Minister she is likely to be. In the past few days, she has indicated that she would not appoint an ethics advisor, has indicated that the Environment agency wastes money, that OFWAT over-regulates and so she tacitly suppots the dumping of untreated sewage straight in the seas around the UK and that NKS doctors are overpaid. Of course this is Daily Mail pandering to the right and the extreme right of the conservative party. It is no forgotten that the Conservative party effectively swallowed up UKIP and followed their policies and has become a de facto ‘English National’ party. But there are now indications that a new Truss cabinet will be exclusively drawn from the right of the party whereas, with the exception of Boris Johnson, post war prime ministers, both Labour and Conservative, have tried to ensure that a cabinet does reflect the various ‘wings’ within the party. With an extreme right wing cabinet, the stage is set for confrontations or at least a rumbling war in the majority of the conservative party who did not vote for Liz Truss (the critical figure being that only 32% MPs voted for Truss in the last round of voting by MPs). So upon election, Liz Truss will be faced with the dilemma of instant policy ‘U’-turns or grumbling resentment from the two thirds of the party that did not vote for her.