Tuesday, 7th February, 2023

[Day 1058]

Today seemed to be a day a little like yesterday except that the temperature might have drifted a degree or so lower. But Tuesday is the day when we looking forward to having some chats with acquaintances and friends in the Waitrose cafe. As soon as we got in, we noticed a couple with whom we used to be in regular contact both before the pandemic and also during it via FaceTime. We had heard via a mutual friend that they had moved from one flat to another and their most recent abode seems to meet their needs somewhat better as the husband is a wheelchair user and therefore things like ease of access is very important if not crucial for them. The move seems to have gone fairly smoothly but they did have to spend a week or so in a hotel in the transition from their former flat to their present one and the conveyancing firm that they used seems to have been problematic for them as well. We quickly brought each other up-to-date with our various bits of news but they could not stop for a longer chat as they had other things to do. We saw another of our friends that we regularly see on a Tuesday morning, but this too proved to be a ‘hello and goodbye’ affair. On the way home, we called in to see one of our Kidderminster Road friends as there was a church related issue that we needed to discuss. Again, we conducted our business on the doorstep because on a Tuesday, I always need a fairly quick turn around as it is my Pilates day. I had a pleasant walk down into town followed by a period of slight frustration when an item of clothing that I wanted to purchase for Meg did not seem to be in stock where we had bought it previously – thus was it ever so but it is surprising how often the shelves are filled with lots of things that you do not want but empty of the things you are actually looking for. My Pilates class which is small (there are four of us regulars in this particular class) ran true to form and then I return home for a somewhat delayed lunch of fishcakes and microwaved vegetables.

The Turkey-Syria earthquake continues to appall as the images fill our TV screens today. There are always some heart-warming stories of children being pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building but these will evidently lessen as the days roll on. One aspect of this particular earthquake is particularly distressing both for the participants and also for us viewers. It seems to be the case that relatives, standing besides the remains of a collapsed building, can often hear the cries of people from inside the ruins crying out for help but the scale of the destruction is so enormous that there are no resources to help to locate them and to dig them out of the rubble. Evidently, people do what they can with their bare hands but I imagine that knowing a family member is calling out for you but is unrescuable must surely only intensify their grief. The latest estimate of the deathtoll is about 7,000 but some estimates are that the eventual toll may be 20,000. One particular dramatic story was the rescue of a baby born in the collapsed ruins and still attached by the umbilical cord to its dead mother. Hopefully there will be other ‘miracle’ chidrn extracted from the rubble and chunks of concrete. Here at home the media is still reporting the desperate search for the woman who disappeared when walking her dog besides a river in Lancashire. The most sophisticated underwater sonar is now being deployed and it is being said that such technology can identify even sticks and stones on the river bed. The specialised firm who are deploying this technology think that if there is a body of the woman within the river, they should be able to locate it after about three days of searching. So far, no clues of any kind have emerged and the police say that they are acting on 500 separate pieces of information but there is nothing that as yet is worthy of note. Properties bordering the river have apparently been searched and the police are tring to keep an open mind but so far, they seem to have precious lttle to go on.

It seems that most of the nation, including ourselves, were gripped and engrossed in the concluding, and final, instalment of ‘Happy Valley’ based upon the life and work of a police sergeant in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. The concluding episode did resolve several of the outstanding, intertwined story lines in an interesting and unpredictable fashion but I will say no more at this point. But the point has been made that perhaps the police themelves could do well to study the series and the way that policing was deployed to see if there are any elements of good practice from which they could learn. This may be a tall order but the writer of the series, Sally Wainwright, did a magnificent job in making her story lines both credible and absorbing.