Saturday, 4th March, 2023

[Day 1083]

Today we had to think what we were going to do as a late morning activity because now that the weather has turned a little more wintry again, neither of us particularly fancied the icy blasts afforded to us in the local park. I spent a certain amount of time messing about with my audio to get it absolutely the way I want and then Meg and I had a delayed breakfast. We then jointly decided that it would be a good idea to visit Droitwich again but the bottom end of town instead of the top end so that we could access some charity shops and do a quick whizz around the branch of Waitrose. I needed to fill up with petrol which I did on the way to Droitwich and then we parked outside Waitrose and hit the charity shops. I bought a new shirt in one and a couple of oven-proof vegetable dishes in one of the others before we set for home and had delayed elevenses as soon as we got in. Then I started cooking a curry meal for us as we have not made one for some time. It was a mix of the usual ingredients – onion, pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms supplemented by a diced apple, some sultanas and a modicum of brown sugar. I dish up Meg’s before my own because I only put the curry into the mixture afterwards and then Meg gets hers served on some white rice whilst to keep the carboydrate count down, I utilise a rice cake and a couple of cream crackers in place of the rice. We always add a dollop of plain yogurt to the top of the mixture to finish off the meal.

This afternon, I had an unexpected burst of pleasure. Whilst doing the delayed washing up, I turned on ClassicFM and when I tuned in, the transmission was half way though the first movement of the Mozart clainet concerto. To my delight, the broadcast carried on playing both the second (slow) movement followed by the third movement. Whether ClassicFM do this quite regularly (ie. play the whole of a work instead of just a movement from it) or whether it was just a one off, I cannot say. The combination of the DAB mode in the kitchem hifi and the wonderful reverberations in the kitchen (as there are no soft furnishings to absorb the sound) made the perfomance particularly enjoyable. This particular piece has quite a lot of significance for me. I first heard it when my art/music teacher who had a cubicle in the dormitory (as all the dormitaries had in those days) smuggled in a record of the concerto and played it on a little portable record player which he had acquired from somewhere. As it happened, about two or three of us in the small attic dormitory were in bed because it was the height of the Asian flu epidemic in 1957 and, as I remember it, as many as two thirds of the class could be absent when the epidemic was at its height. The second and slow movement of the clarinet concerto is particularly memorable because our son won the school music competition for his renditon of it when he was aged about 14. The adjudicator, who was a Professor of Music at York University, awarded the prize to our son because of the degree of expressivity and feeling for the music of Mozart – our hearts swelled with pride upon hearing the news. But after that a combination of enthusiasms of Deltic locomotives, photography and young women (in which order I cannot say) meant that the clarinet playing became a thing of the past. But then Meg and I were on a brief half-term break with our son in the city of Bath- and as we passing the small Georgian theatre in the town, we noticed that the famous clarinetist Jack Brymer was to be playing the Mozart clarinet concerto and also on the bill was Marisa Robles, the world famous harpist. We enjoyed the concert enormously and even managed a few words with Jack Brymer after the performance. More recently, a local orchestral player of real talent played the concerto in our local church which acts as a venue for concert performances for the Bromsgrove festival held in the summer months.

Although the news broke yesterday, the media is today taking the Committee of Privileges report into Boris Johnson’s possible misleading of Parliament as very serious news. But allies of the Prime Mnister are trying to minimise the impact of the interim report from the Privileges Committee. Mr Johnson has also said it was ‘surreal’ the committee proposes to rely on evidence ‘culled and orchestrated’ by Sue Gray, who was a highly regarded top civil servant. The committee has defended its probe insisting it is ‘not based on the Sue Gray report’, which last year detailed lockdown-breaking, booze-fuelled parties in Downing Street during Mr Johnson’s leadership and played a role in his downfall. As always on a Saturday evening, one awaits the full in-depth analysis provided by the Sunday papers and whether Johnson receives any support (or fails to gain support) from the trawl around the TV studios on a Sunday morning. Evidently, the oral evidence that Johnson will give to the committee may well prove interesting viewing as the Committee have already decided that Johnson probably misled the House of Commons on about four occasions.