Monday, 15th May, 2023

[Day 1155]

We always knew that today was going to be dominated by a hospital appointment this afternoon and so it proved. As we knew that Meg’s appointment was scheduled for 2.00pm, we organised it so that we would have to have lunch and the washing up done in plenty of time so we devoted the early part of the morning to the exciting jobs of collecting our newspaper and making a trip to the garage to fill up with fuel. As it turned out this was quie a wise choice because the cheap petrol station on the way to Kidderminster that we might have relied upon had was temporarily closed when we made our outwood trip. So we got to the hospital about 5-10 minutes before our appointment time but the omens were not good as thr car park was full to overflowing. We managed to find a parking space but evidently many other people had not and there were cars illegally parked all over the place so we suspected that the clinics were going to be very busy. We used to go to a specialist Eye Clinic in Worcester Royal and this had its own specialised building and a pleasant atmosphere. I think this is because in the past there was a specialised Eye hospital which decades ago got incorporated into the main Worcester Royal Hospital. But now in the Kidderminster Treatment centre (as the ‘hospital’ is known), things were very different. We waited practically an hour before we were seen and Meg needed to have a series of tests. I must say that the staff were very caring and solicitous but Meg had to have drops in her eyes, followed by another fairly long wait before a more specialised scan (photographs of the back of the eye) Then we had another fairly long wait before we were eventually seen by a doctor who was as brusque and curt as the nurses beforehand had been sympathetic. The whole visit had taken two and a half hours and although cursory apologies were made for the long wait, Meg was not at her best during the tests after waits of this length. We suspect that we may need another one in about a month- as this particular appointment was catching up after COVID delays, we think it was probably the first monitoring of Meg’s eyes for several years.

As I was perusing The Times for the Radio and TV schedules for tonight’s viewing, I kept on noticing that after several programs, the letters [AD] appeared in brackets. I had no idea what this meant but did a quick Google search and found this this stands for Audio Description and it is a feature built into many modern TVs. It is evidently a facility primarily used those with a hearing handicap but perhaps the facility might be useful to the rest of us when the occasion demands. So I found the option in the Settings section of our Panasonic TV and chose the ‘Auto’ option so no doubt it will appear on some occasions but not others. When I observe this little system in action, I may find it a pleasant addition to my normal viewing or a complete distraction – but at least having found out how to turn it on I can always turn if off again. Whilst on the subject of scanning the schedules, I was delighted to see that on Sky Arts this evening they are having an hour and a half devoted to Pavarotti’s most famous duets. I have just got the TV tuned to this and feel that Meg deserves something after the stresses and strains of the afternoon.

Our near neighbours have re-appeared after a magnificent river cruise which took them to Vienna as well as other places. They had had a wonderful time and pressed a little gift ino our hands being a CD of the concert in Vienna. We did not not have much time to chat but said that we would catch up with each other later, to which we will look forward. We have had an intimation that we will be invited for an authentic Indian curry as soon as they get themselves turned around. For my part, I think I need to revive one of my own culinary favourites which is a fish pie with at least four different kinds of fish (a white fish such as cod, a yellow fish such as haddock, a ‘pink fish such as salmon and some prawns). All of this takes a certain amount of planning and preparation but I tend to make a huge quantity of it and then parcel it up into several portions to keep ourselves and friends around us supplied for a few weeks.

There have been at least a couple of conferences organised by Tory right wingers in the last day or so, one of them funded not by the Conservatives themselves but by an American ‘think tank’ The conference today was extraordinary as Suella Braverman, the home secretary, delved into her own backstory and the philosophy of conservatism – topics more commonly addressed in the race to be leader, rather than by a loyal cabinet minister. But Braverman was interrupted in her speech, as was William Rees-Mogg by Extinction Rebellion or a similar protest group who had somehow infiltrated the audience.