Tuesday, 7th March, 2023

[Day 1086]

Today is always a day to which we look forward because it is the day when we tend to meet up with old friends in the Waitrose coffee bar. We were delighted to meet up with two of our pre-pandemic friends and, as usual, have a fair amount to chatter about. We always take the opportunity to buy some bits and pieces whilst in Waitrose and to that extent, we treat it rather like a corner shop instead of using it for our main weekly shop. After our weekly get-together, it was time for us to get home and I needed to get myself turned around for my Pilates session later on in the day. It was quite a pleasant walk down into town and I found the time to dive into a little charity shop and avail myself of a little insulated flask which I found on the shelves. The idea here is that in these cold days that when Meg and I venture out into the park we do not sit down for a prolonged rest as we have become accustomed over the months. Rather, we might have a smidgeon of tea/coffee in our little flask and then have a quick snifter of this coupled with a banana or similar whilst we have the briefest of rests but carry on walking. This way we hope we can get the fresh air and exercise but generally keep walking to keep ourselves from getting frozen.

I went down to Pilates as usual and the numbers were depleted by one today so there were only three of us. However, I do remember to turn my phone off these days which is only courtesy to my teacher and fellow class members. As I was walking home, I was surprised to see that our Italian friend had her front door open and was waiting for me to walk past. I was even more amazed to see that Meg was with her – she had apparently taken it on her own iniative to walk out of the house (with her outdoor shoes on but without a coat) and half a mile down the road where she recognised our friend’s house and presented herself at the back door. Apparently all kinds of frantic telephone calls had been made between our Italian friend and our son and my phone should have been red-hot with messages as well but I had failed to turn it on again afer my Pilates class. We stayed with our friend and her companion for about three quarters of an hour, accepting a very welcome cup of tea and biscuits before I walked Meg back to the house. When I know how unsteady Meg is on her feet these days and so prone to stumbles and trips, all I could do was to offer a silent prayer that she had not come to any harm in her venture down the road. Naturally, I gave profusive thanks to our friends and am now exercising my mind how I can keep Meg a little more safe and secure in the future. As soon as we got home, we started to think about a delayed lunch of fishcakes but suddenly realised by looking at our planning board upon which we record all our imminent engagements that our hairdresser was due round at 4.00 and it was already past that time. We realised that she is often a bit delayed and wondered if she had tried to call around when the house was empty. At 5.00pm, our hairdresser turned up to our very evident relief. One or other os us had made a mistake with the appointment which was at 5.00pm and not 4.00pm. We were evidently very pleased that we had not missed each other so we had both of our heads shorn before we cooked a somewhat delayed evening meal which was the meal that we intended to have at lunchtime.

With the events of the day, we have evidently not been following the TV news but it is the day when the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary are proudly announcing the latest measures to deter the migration in small boats from across the Englsih Channel. The new policy is to declare everybody who arrives by boat an illegal immigrant and then to deport them as swiftly as possible (and we are talking here of a week or so and not months) back to their country from whence they came or else to a ‘friendly’ third country such as Rwanda. Once here, any person so deported would be automatically denied any further attempt at immigration whether it be ‘legal’ or not. The legislation is being dated from today to ensure that a huge backlog does not build up, as has happened in the past, whilst the new legislation is being put in place. The government, when publishing the bill, admits that international law may well be tested to the limit and the Human Rights Act will in all probability be violated. The response from the opposition parties and a variety of bodies concerned with immigration is that the new proposals have not been thought through and are unworkable. Where is the accommodation to be found for those who do arrive? And the migrants cannot lawfully be detained indefinitely where there is simply no prospect of removing them. So after the specified 28 days is it suggested that they may well have to be released and then left destitute on the streets?