Friday, 24th March, 2023

[Day 1103]

Meg and I were looking forward to today for several reasons. Our domestic help was due to call around today instead of last Wednesday which was her usual day – she had swopped in order to keep a doctor’s appointment which is quite difficult to arrange these days. As I was preoccupied with a hospital visit yesterday morning, today I did my delayed weekly shopping,managing to get to the store just before the appointed opening hour of 8.00am. It was then when I studied the ‘Easter Opening Hours’ (much the same as every other day apart from being closed on Easter Day) I realised that Easter Day was only two weeks away this Sunday. Easter seems to have crept up on us somehow this year, even though it is not particularly early. We were pleased to have a chat with our domestic help but then our University of Birmingham friend phoned up to arrange a coffee date in Waitrose. As soon as we got there, we bumped into one of our pre-pandemic friend who is now in her 80’s but still going strong. She has been rehearsing, as part of a 60-70 strong choir, to sing Brahms ‘A German Requiem’ which is a particular favourite of hers as well as ours. We wished her well for the performance which is due to take place tomorrow afternoon – I wonder if the choir will have a big celebratory ‘afternoon tea’ after the weeks and week of rehearsal which they had been undertaking. We were both appalled by the fact that the BBC Singers who seem to have going since the word ‘dot’ are threatened with being disbanded as part of a BBC economy drive. We both agreed that this must be an act of cultural vandalism. The latest news this afternoon, though, is less gloomy as it appears that the BBC has paused its decision to close the BBC Singers, after ‘a number of organisations’ came forward to offer alternative funding. The group, which is the UK’s only full-time professional chamber choir, was targeted by budget cuts shortly before celebrating its 100th anniversary. We chatted awhile with our University of Birmingham friend before he, too, had to dash off for a lunch engagement in central Birmingham. As the showers were coming along as though on a conveyor belt (a phrase actually deployed by the weather forecasters) we had to judge when each of us needed to make a dash for the car to avoid being rained upon. When we got home, I realised with some dismay that I had forgotten to buy my usual fish pie for our Friday midday meal. Nonetheless, I raided the freezer and liberated some smoked haddock fillets which were delicious (when carefully wrapped in foil and then baked in the oven) and served with a baked potato and some mange-touts.

After lunch, Meg and I had a quiet read and a sort of some old newspapers which we gut for really interesting articles we wish to retain. Then as the clouds had rolled away this afternoon, we made a lightning visit into town to see if we could purchase a nice looking little corner occasional table which I had spotted in the Age Concern furniture shop the other day. Fortunately, it was unsold so we were pleased to get it into the car which was parked not a great distance away. After our, by now, well-deserved afternoon cup of tea, I set to work giving the newly acquired piece of furniture a clean and polish up. Fortunately, for us this was quite easy as it was only slightly dusty and we now have it installed in our ‘music room’ alongside the other pieces of renovated furniture.

We have by now got used to the lighter evenings which is so welcome to us in the spring. This is the weekend when the clocks go forward so we have to look forward to it being temporarily a little darker in the early evenings although this will soon not be that noticeable. In the pre-Brexit days, there was a proposal to adopt ‘double’ Summer Time in which we put our clocks forward two hours and are then in step with the rest of Continental Europe. The argument at the time was very much related to the extra trade opportunities afforded by being in step with our continental neighbours but in the present political climate, one would imagine that a similar idea would be sunk with trace within minutes. Nonetheless we are certainly into grass-mowing season by now which I will attempt the minute the weather gets just a tad warmer and less showery.

In the United States, the Manhatten District Attorney is on the brink of bringing charges against Donald Trump. He is responding with blood curdling threats and practical appeals to a violent resistance. Trump has said of his potential arrest ‘Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truely [sic] hates the USA!’ This may be an interesting test of the American concept that they are have a ‘government of laws not of men’ because what we have in prospect is the possibility that an arrest warrant is not capable of being served if the recipient is rich, powerful and an ex-President of the USA.