Wednesday, 19th April, 2023

[Day 1129]

Today was an interesting day, what with one thing or another. Last night, I went on the web to ascertain what services might be available locally to help Meg cope with her memory loss disability and I discovered a Day Centre that was relatively close by. So we decided that after breakfast, we would go in search of the centre and see what they had to offer. So having picked up our newspaper, I went in search of the facility which ominously had the number 6B as part of its address. According to Google, it is very near the Stroke Association centre in Bromsgrove and then, together with Meg, went in search of the facility. After a certain degree of roaming about, we did not find it and decided to cut our losses and come home. I did have a telephone number and did manage to phone them but given the scale of charges per hour, came to the conclusion that this was anything but a ‘not-for-profit’ foundation and, reading between the lines after the conversation that I had, I am not at all sure it will provide the type of help and support that I am seeking. I have some other ‘irons in the fire’ as well, so will see if these bear fruit. Incidentally, I have stopped some of Meg’s medication and she seems to be better off without it so it does make one wonder! When we got home, Meg and I had some elevenses watching PMQ (Prime Ministers Questions) which was the usual knockabout stuff. Why I continue to watch it, I don’t know as the ‘attack lines’ are all researched, prepared and rehearsed beforehand and hardly anything of real interest emerges. But I was conscious of the fact that I badly wanted to get the lawns cut as they were already two days overdue. This might not sound very bad but at this time of year, grass practically shoots out of the ground so I was determined to get the job done today whilst the weather was relatively fine. So, in short, I got the lawns done at the cost of just a slightly delayed lunch and was mighty pleased with myself that I had got this job fitted in as I wanted and needed.

The court case between Fox News and Dominion (voting machine manufacturer) very, very nearly cane to court. Dominion had put in a claim for $1.6bn and seemed to determined to have their day in court to salvage their reputation. Fox News, for their part, admitted to the judge that they were telling lies but relied upon the very flimsy case that they were only exercising their rights to ‘free speech’ and they were reporting a story that was widely believed (whether it was true or not) After the jurors were sworn in and Dominion were just about to produce their first prosecution witness (no less than Rupert Murdoch himself, the owner of Fox News but who himself believed that Trump was lying through his teeth). Fox has agreed to pay Dominion $787.5m (£634m) which is about one half of what was claimed. While the payout is large, it means Fox avoids what was billed by some as the defamation trial of the century. However, the network faces a second, similar lawsuit from another election technology firm, Smartmatic. The settlement means that Fox and Dominion can now put the case behind them with both firms being able to claim victory. But the analysis of why Fox settled is fascinating. It seems that Fox thouught that it would a lot of its audience to even more extreme right wing media who were even more unhinged than Fox themselves. Frightened of losing a large slice of their potential audience, Fox dispensed with ‘the facts’ (as they themselves knew them) and pandered to the prejudices of the extreme Trump supporters which is an extraordinary state of affairs for an organisation that is supposedly in the business of reporting news, not peddling propaganda. One now wonders what the impact will be when the other technology firm – Smartmatic – piles into action.

Meg and I are looking forward to our trip out on Friday to meet with offspring of cousins (are they cousins as well?) In the meanwhile, we are meant to be going to Winchester on Tuesday next week and have already bought train tickets. But the train company have already informed us that the advertised train is not now going to stop at Birmingham International and has offered us a refund. We have a bit of a dilemma which is whether to get other tickets which might be a bit of a stretch given Meg’s frail state of health. On the other hand, we might cancel the trip altogether although this would be a great shame not to see long cherished friends after a year. A third possibility is that I go on my own in the car to save time (paradoxically) as I am in control of my own arrival and departure times. I am still evaluating my options in all of this and may make up my mind tomorrow to see if Meg has improved somewhat as she seems to have done today. And just as a postscript, I received a wonderful little comment on last night’s blog from an ex-student of mine who had stumbled across this blog somehow – but remembers us drinking beer together on a student trip to Brussels about 18-20 years ago now.