Monday, 1st May, 2023

[Day 1141]

Today being the 1st of the month, I chanted the mantra ‘White rabbits!’ three times over to my wife but it had little effect so I got up, resolved to put into effect a few health hints I thought I would commence from the start of the month. I weighed myself for the first time in a week or so and was slightly relieved that I was a quarter of a pound lighter than the last time I weighed myself. Although this is well within the margin of error, it is at least on the right side of the line and I hope to keep my weight drifting slowly downwards as the weeks roll by. But a Danish study conducted at the start of the millenium showed that in the period 2003-13, there was no difference between the death rates of people with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 (healthy) and those with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 (overweight), which were 4 per 1,000 per year for both groups. The same study indicated that a BMI of 27 was associated with the lowest death rate – yet this figure is regarded as overweight. Medical researchers and statisticians recognise that the BMI is an incredibly blunt measuring tool and for men the ratio of waist size to hip size is much more important. This is because excess fat in males is likely to accumulate around the midriff and this is not only hard to shift but is the ‘wrong’ type of fat which I will not go into here. After we had breakfasted, I knew that we needed to get to the paper shop before it closed at 11.00am being a Bank Holiday. This we did and then set off for Droitwich where I had an idea for a little trip out for a change. My idea was to explore the path alongside the canal and the River Salwarpe which run parallel to each other at the edge of the town. But today the river and canal banks were teeming with a local fair that had evidently been organised for some time to coincide, no doubt, with the Bank Holday this week and the one following the coronation next Saturday. So we made a circular tour of the kinds of stalls one expects – quite a lot of junky food and a huge bouncy castle-cum-slide for the younger children. The modern exemplars of this have a series of steps up one side and then a long slow slide down the other and it seemed very popular with children aged about 4. So having seen all that we wanted to see, Meg and I made for home where we enjoyed some coffee and elevenses in the comfort of our own home. Then it was time to cook lunch which was a further tranche of our spatch-cocked chicken cooked yesterday but served with a different accompaniment of vegetables today.

Although I do not normally comment upn the TV programmes we have watched, the build up to the coronation next Saturday is providing some opportunities for the programme makers to exhibit their wares. The first of these was a serious programme on King Charles told in his own words and with a lot of unseen footage, mainly from handheld cameras that the Royal Family seem to have used quite extensively to record their family activities in the past. But the second programme in the evening was entitled ‘The Windsor’s Coronation Special’ and was savagely both biting and funny throughout. Two particular moments stand out. One was a reconcilation between Harry and Meghan on the one hand and Will and Kate on the other. This ‘reconcilation’ attempted on about two or three occasions was well rehearsed and was put on only for the benefit of Netflix photographers, conveniently hidden behind adjacent sofas, who needed some footage for the next series they intended to show. I also rather liked the fact that is was decided to scale back the whole of the coronation on economy grounds and to stage the whole event in a Holiday Inn Express in Slough (or was it an empty office block in Basingsoke that was mentioned on one occasion) Camilla was portrayed as so incensed that she was to be denied an ermine robe but was offered a Marks and Spencer utility woollen suit that she had the Corgis slaughtered in order to provide her with some real (and not fake)fur. Meanwhile the two sisters of Beatrix and Eugenie had charge of the dogs whilst they were alive but thought they should be sustained on a diet of sushi. Naturally, this was a Channel 4 production an one could only imagine that the BBC would have lost its license fee method of financing had they even thought about putting anything quite so scurrilous. More is promised tonight on Channel 4 with an examination of the life and times of Prince Andrew.

The Sudan situation is reaching a grisley climax. At one stage it was said that there were 4,000 passport holders waiting to be evacuated. But by today, some 2,122 people have been evacuated on 23 flights from the Wadi Saeedna airfield near the capital Khartoum but more than 1,000 British passport holders may remain. So the 4,000 figure of a few days has mysteriously diminished although I suppose some might have made their way cross country, if possible, to be evacuated from Port Sudan. Denis Healey, the veteran Labour politician who never made it to PM used to say that ‘in war, the first casualty is truth’ which is all too true.