Thursday, 9th February, 2023

[Day 1060]

Today dawned bright and clear and I got up early in order to get my weekly shopping done whilst Meg stays in bed until I return. Typically, I pick up my newspaper afterwards but today my newsagent had not received their copies of ‘The Times‘ so this necessitated a further trip to Waitrose in order to avail myself of it. Then it was a case of getting home and getting the breakfast cooked, the washing up done and the shopping unpacked. After all of this, we readied ourselves to pay a visit to one of our favoutite little market towns which is Alcester. We made a booking in our favourite restaurant in one of the hotels which is centrally located and where they put on a special pensioner’s lunch during the week. As it was such a beautiful day, every man and his dog had evidently decided to visit the town and parking was at an absolute premium. Nonetheless, we managed to park fairly centrally for an hour which was time enough for us to have a coffee nd cake in our favourite coffee establishment before we sampled some of the excellent charity shops along the High Street. But first, we visited one of those hardware shops that seems to sell ‘everything’ including things you never know that you needed. We departed the shop once we had a thorough look round and availed ourselves some black duct tape which I always seem to need for a variety of purposes. For example, if there is a manual that I wish to keep I will run it off on the printer, staple it, flatten the staples with some heavy duty pliers, pop the booklet in between some transparencies to form a cover and finally finish off the whole thing with some black tape that covers the staples and makes the whole thing look more professional. I am endebted to the Reprographic manager at De Montfort University who had to deploy this procedure when multiple copies of degree submissions were required for an imminent reapproval. I have used these techniques to professionally produce copies of any paper that I have published and I am eternally grateful to Anne for instructing me how to do it. In the charity shops we were not tempted by any items of clothing but we did avail ourselves of a couple of useful looking Denby ware dishes that looked as though they were really intended for the making of a steak and kidney pudding but which we shall deploy to give a final oven roasting to vegetables when required. And so it was on to lunch a few minutes before our allotted time but we enjoyed a beef lasgne and a roated vegetable lasagne, both with salad which we shared with each other when we were two thirds of the way through our respective dishes. After that, it was a pleasant drive home through some glorious sunshine and we prepared to have a quiet and restful afternoon.

An extraordinary polical story has just broken this aftrnoon but I wonder whether it will see much light of day in MSM (Main Street Media) The story is that the UK has paid £2.3 billion having lost a trade dispute with the EU. It was claimed the UK had failed to prevent the undervaluing of these goods imported from China, letting criminals evade customs duties by making false claims about the clothes and shoes. In March last year, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) found against the UK ‘on most liability points’, according to John Glen, the chief secretary to the Treasury. On the face of it, it looks as though he UK government is not unhappy about criminal trade activity so long as it keeps the cost of living down. There is another story in a similar vein which I read about recently and which my blood run cold. After the BSE crisis a few years ago, you would have thought that we had learnt the lesson of not maintaining the highest of standards in the way in which our meat is processed and then traded. But in the bonfire of (EU) regulations that we are promised, it will become an adulterer’s charter for all kinds of contaminants to be added to meat products with practically no checks or regulation. This means that as a society, we may be laying ourselves open to the most horrendous of food scandals several years down the line and all in exchange for a lighter regulatory regime. The inspectors of the meat products entering the UK are privately very worried but it looks as though a governent hell bent on de-regulation will stop at nothing.

The story of the missing Lanashire dog walker is still not producing any definitive results. But the focus of the investigtions now seem to be shifting towards seeing if a body might have drifted out to sea so coastal patrols are intensifying in the search. It may well be that a body will never be found or the mystery of her disappearance solved so one can only imagine how difficult it is to have any normal sort of grieving process under these circumstances. At some point as well, the police will have to scale down their search activities which must be a profound moral dilemma for them as well.