Wednesday, 23rd November, 2022

[Day 982]

Today was a blustery type of day but we did not hasten to get down into town because it was the day when our domestic help calls around and there are always a few things for us to chat over. One of the things that we needed to do was to check over the ‘systems’ for our small guest bedroom in anticipation of tomorrow when our frind is coming to visit us from Hampshire and is having an overnight stay with us. Once we were good and ready, we collected our newspaper and then went to Waitrose primarily to provision ourselves with some wine and beer in anticipation of tomorrow. As we were in Waitrose, Meg and I availed ourselves of the ‘free coffee’ facility that is starting again for its own customers (but was withdrawn for the duration of the pandemc for understandable reasons). In the late morning, a package arrived courtesy of the Post Office which was a Panasonic mini hifi system which I bought from a seller on eBay. I had previously bought a Pure DAB radio replacement for one of my defunct ones from this same seller on eBay and hence had every confidence in him as a seller. After lunch, it was quite an easy job to wire up the speakers and I soon got the CD and the Bluetooth functions working as they should. The sound quality is excellent for my ears and although several reviews of the system (and even the seller himself) said the volume was not particularly loud, it was certainly loud enough for us where the system is located on one of kitchen work suraces tucked away neatly into a corner. The one slight disappointment was that I could not get the radio functions (FM + DAB) to work because it evidently needed an aerial/antenna which was not supplied with the system. This is ‘nice to have’ but not essential to me as I shall be using the CD or Bluetooth 90% of the time, if not more, but I dropped a quick note to the vendor to see if the aerial had been omitted by mistake. It turned out that it had not as this was how the system was supplied when he acquired it during the pandemic so I shall pop down to our local radio/TV store to get a working aerial. At the same time, the vendor had inadvertently left a copy of a ‘Dire Straits’ CD in the tray and thinking this might be precious to him (it as!) I promised to get it back to him in the post. This afternoon, as you might imagine, Meg and I have listening to opur new ‘toy’ and having treated ourselves to some masses/motets by Byrd and Tallis, we then followed it up with some renditions of the Mozart Piano Concertos Nos. 20 and 21 which was needed to fill a slight ‘hole’ in our collection and which arrived this morning.

I will not go into the minutiae of what is happening upon the Parliamentary front except to make the following observation. The public as a whole, if they think of what happens in Parliament, think of the ‘Yah-Boo’ of politics which is exhibited in Prime Minister’s Question Time and other occasions when business is discussed ‘on the floor of the house’ But much more significant are the Select Committees which have a membership proportional to the voting strength of the political parties in Parliament but with Chairs some of which are drawn from the Opposition parties. When MPs are working in committee, they are capable of questionning ministers in much more forensic detail than is possible in the whole House and Ministers and civil servants often squirm under the impact of detailed questionning, much of it coming from their ‘own’ side. Today both the Chancellor of the Exchequeur and the Home Secretary have have to endure sustained and detailed questionning at the hands of select committes and neither,by all accounts, acquitted themselves particularly well. Suella Braverman, for example, could not explain how ‘safe and legal routes’ are actually working.

Giant-slaying is back in vogue in the football World Cup as Japan have beaten West Germany 2-1. There are enormous parallels, which must surely be just coincidences, between Argentina’s defeat at the hands of Saudi Arabia and Germany’s defeat by Japan. Both Argentina and Germany scored first and through a penalty in both cases. Then, in another coincidence, their oppenents scored two goals in quick succeession only to hang onto their lead with desperate efforts until the full-time whistle was blown. Every match seems to have extended way beyond its allotted time as officials have added on extra minutes not just for injuries but for red and yellow cards, substitutions, excessive goal celebrations, VAR interventions and so on. In fact, the England game against Iran went for almost 30 minutes beyond the normal 90 minutes. Evidently, FIFA has made some policy decisions but it does not look as though the effects of this have not been properly modelled. Rugby League has a hooter that sounds on the dot which seems eminently sensible.