Saturday, 10th September, 2022

[Day 908]

So today is very much the day after the day before – inevitably, it will seem as a bit of an anticlimax after the very enjoyable night out that we had with our friends when we had a communal wedding anniversary celebratory meal in our favourite restaurant near Kidderminster. This morning, as it was the first time it had ever been broadcast, we saw the ‘Accessions Council’ which is when the Privy Council formally declares Charles III to be king. There is some debate as to what the new era may be called – ‘Eizabethan’ era is easily derived from ‘Elizabeth’ but in the case of King Charles III we may have to go back to a Latin root for the name. It may well be that the term ‘Carolean’ comes into vogue but it might be a case of seeing whether a consensus is arrived at amongst the modern historians. Meg and I made our way to the park again today when we met with our two park regulars – our University of Birmingham friend and Seasoned World Traveller. As you might expect, we were swopping stories about what had engaged our interest in this transition period. We now know that the the funeral of the Queen has been fixed for a week on Monday. In the meanwhile, the airwaves are filled with ‘filler’ type programmes but this afternoon there is a programme on life in the 1950’s when the Queen ascended to the throne. I certainly can remember the music of the era, pre-rock and roll with recording artists like Dean Martin and Perry Como and where at school children were regularly hit with a jam spoon not necessarily for being naughty but for giving the wrong answers in our recitation of arithmetic tables. Being born in 1945, I was just at the start of what was known as ‘the bulge’ which typically occurs when there is a rapid increase in the birthrate after any major war. In the case of the UK, the peak of this bulge was in 1948 and of course the bulge hit the primary schools in 1953, the secondary schools in 1959, the universities in 1966, the housing market in about 1973 and then, of course, the retirement at the end of working life in about 2008. At university, we studied some demography as part of a course in ‘Social Statistics’ and I was always fascinated by the way in which demography affects our social lives as a kind of unseen force, a little like gravity. Having said that, I found my ‘Social Statistics’ one of the most informative and interesting parts of my university education.

At the moment, there seems to be wall-to-wall coverage of various aspects of the succession – and I have to tell myself that we are only two days into these events, the Queen having died on Thursday. I am not sure how more of this I can take, given that it is days yet even before the funeral and wherever one looks, there is blanket coverage of one aspect or another of the succession of the new King. These programmes are all very interesting and admittedly, events like this have not been seen for seventy years but I wonder whether the public should be given a little respite from it all. Today, the TV Guide to our copy of The Times seems to have missed out, so we are relying upon the EPG (Electronic programme Guide) to have a quick quide to some alternative viewing. Saturday is the day when we attend our weekly church service and after that, Meg and I feel the need for a little diversion. Although many sporting events have been cancelled, the cricket Test Match between England and South Africa have had one day off but I think are playing again today. It is being left to each sport whether fixtures are cancelled or not and in the case of football, some comments have been made that football matches have been cancelled as a mark of respect, but perhaps the opportunity could have been taken for a mass singing of the ‘revised’ national anthem and this might have filled some emotional needs. It might be stating the obvious but who is ‘looking after the shop’ whilst all of this ourpouring of grief is going on. We have to remember that we have not had any ‘normal’ politics all during the summer and were desperately looking forward to a new government, albeit shaped by the new Prime Minister but now ‘normal’ politics has been suspended for another two weeks or at least until the funeral has been held and the official period of mourning come to an end. Whilst it is important that the succession of the monarch is handled correctly, government has to go on as there are no doubt critical decisions that are still be taken concerning the way that our fuel bills are gong to be alleviated. After the Liz Truss statement on Tuesday last, there were still quite a lot of unanswered questions, not least an estimate of the total cost and these questions have not gone away.