Wednesday, 26th April, 2023

[Day 1136]

Today was evidently the ‘day afer the day before’ so Meg and I resolved to have a fairly quiet day after the long drive of yesterday. This morning, we picked up our newspaper, popped into Waitrose for a few items and then made a journey into the park which we have not visited for a few days. In our trip towards the bench upon which we normally sit, we were greeted by two separate couples who had enquired about our whereabouts. During the height of the pandemic, of course, we tended to come to the park every single day come rain or shine but with the onset of inclement winter weather and the call of acquaintances from Waitrose, we have tended to congregate there several times a week to have our coffee. The two couples who greeted us in the park today were used to seeing us, if only from a distance, on a daily basis but as we have not made our presence felt quite so much in the park of late, they hoped that nothing had befallen us. It is really quite heartwarming that others that you scarcely know should look out for you but we were at pains to reassure them that apart from the ravages of time that slows all of us up, no particular misfortune had befallen us. Then we met with a very interesting chap who observing Meg’s mobility difficulties showed us a very special type of elbow crutch which he was using obtained from Amazon. This chap had been a very keen walker as the local leading light of the Ramblers Association but had suffered some health problems which involved a lot of pain walking as his sciatic nerve was badly affected. But he argued that this particular piece of apparatus had made a dramatic difference to him and he could now walk pain-free for much longer distances. I have found the particular unit to which he was referring on Amazon and it was not inordinately expensive and as it had received such a glowing endorsement, I will have a dicsussion with Meg about it. We anticipate having an in-house visit from a physiotherapist so we can have a discussion about this particular piece of equipment once he has observed Meg in action, as it were.

We had a fishcake lunch and by the time that lunch was over, the cloudy skies had cleared and we started to get some much more evident springtime sunshine.So this was a heavan sent opportunity to get the lawns cut so I seized the moment. Miggles, the local tabby cat, who has adopted us made his presence felt and as we have not seen him for a couple of days I gave him a little treat. The cat tolerated the mowing and then trotted round the back asking for more which is a bit like Oliver Twist personified. The weather is still quite cool for late April but the weather forecasters tell us that a blast of Saharan air is due over the next few days. I am just getting my head around the fact that we are to have three Bank Holidays in May: Early May bank holiday on 1 May, Bank holiday for the coronation of King Charles III on 8 May, Spring bank holiday on 29 May. I find that Bank Holidays tend to play havoc with one’s prescriptions and the like so this year, I shall try to make sure that I am well organised.

There are enormous rows going in Parliament this evening. The immediate sources of conflict are the final stages of the Illegal Migration Bill which will pass through the Commons this evening but in all probability will receive the rockiest of rides in its passage through the House of Lords. Today, in an interview with Sky News this morning, Suella Braverman said there was no good reason for someone to leave Sudan and claim asylum in the UK after travelling on a small boat across the Channel. She said the UNHCR was operating in the region and ‘they are the right mechanism by which people should apply if they do want to seek asylum in the United Kingdom’. The UNHCR has immiately hit back and has issued a statement about claims that refugees can apply for asylum in the UK through the UNHCR. The agency said it ‘wishes to clarify that there is no mechanism through which refugees can approach UNHCR with the intention of seeking asylum in the UK.’ So there is a direct conflict of evidence here. Meanwhile, in the debate itself figures such as Teresa May and Ian Duncan-Smith have given Suella Braverman what is claimed to be a ‘torrid time’ on the floor of the house. The most immediate concern is that Suella Braverman is absolutely ruling out a ‘safe and legal route’ out of Sudan (and just a reminder that the UK was an ex-colonial power in this area) This means that any child or victim of modern slavery who manages to escape from the conflict in Sudan will be deported to Rwanda if not immediately then the minute they are judged to be 18 years old. Although Rishi Sunak is said to have made a series of compromises to help to buy some of the rebels, the stark fact is that refugees from the Sudan face a most unwelcome time if they attempt to enter the UK.