Saturday, 7th January, 2023

[Day 1027]

Today was a fairly typical Saturday apart from the fact that it was wet and blustery most of the day with only the occasional intermission. We got ourselves off to town eventually having breakfasted and then picked up the (voluminous) Saturday newspapers. As you might expect, many of the newspapers are full of health related issues at the start of the New Year when,no doubt, a lot of the population have over-indulged themselves on a surfeit of carbohydates and are full of good intentions about exercise and fitness regimes. But there was a very interesting article by an eminent neurosurgeon on the subject of how to improve your memory and brain at any age. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has argued in a recent book that the brain ‘is the most enigmatic three and a half pounds of flesh in the known universe’ The Times has published an easy guide to the 12 easy steps to achieve your brain functioning and this advice seems to be well-rooted in the science so I might be tempted to go ahead and buy (and intensively read and absorb) the whole book. Some of the advice is sort of intuitive (such as not only avoiding sugar but also artifical sweeteners) but other advice less so, such as the importance of brushing and flossing teeth daily or even twice daily. We made for the Waitrose café because we had arranged to meet up with our University of Birmingham friend and we also encountered one of our park friends that we have not seen since before Christmas. I suspect that there is a universal sigh of relief that we have Christmas and the New Year behind us so that we can get on with our more conventional daily and weekly routines. Having said that, we were delighted to get a telephone call from some of friends down the road who are inviting neighbours in for a drink and nibbles next Monday evening so we are looking forward to this as it may be the last of this round of Christmas get togethers.

We returned home to have a lunch of some chicken, ham and leek pies which I decided to sample when I bought them and then froze them before Christmas. These turned out to be pretty tasty and I just served them up with white cabbage and some tomatoes. This afternoon, apart from a good read of the newspapers, I spent some time getting my accounts up-to-date. I entertained myself whilst I was engaged in this task playing a CD on a little portable CD/DVD player I had bought several years when I was seeking to illustrate both the music and our original wedding photos using the USB port when we were putting on some little demonstrations on the occasion of our 50th anniversary (now wih another six years further on). This is a very useful bit of kit but because I have not used it a great deal, I need to keep consulting the manual online to find out how to utilise certain functions.

As of yesterday, it looked as though the Republican party would never elect a new party leader/Speaker of the House of Representatives but it took a total of 15 votes to do it. However, this is only the start of what is going to be a very ddisruptive period in American politics. It is being said that Kevin McCarthy had so make so many concessions that perhaps he has to feel whether he still possesses two kidneys. Donald Trump himself was telephoning some of the ultra conservatives to get them to support Kevin McCarthy. The latter had offered so many concessions to the small cohort of ultra-conservative Republicans who had blocked him for days as he had promised them plum, hugely influential committee positions, and promised to change the rules governing his stability. A certain amount of manhandling og some Republican congressmen could also be seen. So it looks as though the whole of the american machine is in the hands of these ultra conservatives, may of whom supported the physical insurrection and rampage through the Capital building some two years ago now.

The Prince Harry saga rumbles on and on. Many quite sympathetic observers are making the point that all families can recall occasions when there might have been severe rows and disagreements at some time over the years. At the same time, the well known saying to ‘not wash ones dirty linen in public’ comes to mind and the commitment and the slagging of the members of one’s own intimate family is hardly the way to effect a reconcilation. Certainly, all of the outpourings does have all of the indications of a very troubled mind. But polls for American news organisations have indicated there is more sympathy for Harry and Meghan’s plight with the US public than the UK. However, this sympathy may be shortlived as one headline has dubbed Prince Harry as the ‘Prince of Wails’ which might be hardhitting but accurate. Personally I think that too much attention has been paid to this saga and a dignified silence on the part of Buckingham Palace is probably the best response.