Sunday, 25th June, 2023

[Day 1196]

Today proved to be an interesting day. As is the norm for a Sunday morning, Meg and I got ourselves and breakfasted and then settled down to watch the Politics programs on a Sunday morning. We have grown to appreciate the Sky News more than the BBC contribution over the months but generally government ministers flit from one channel to the next. The talking point today was a Government Treasury minister who would not now commit himself to honouring the findings of the pay review boards for public sector workers.It is being put about that many of these pay review Boards are suggesting a pay increase of about 6% (when past inflation has headed north of 10%) and in the past, ministers have always replied that we should wait until we get the report from the Pay Review Boards but now that they are recommending answers that they do not like, they are trying to wriggle out of the implications. This seems to be a recipe for more discontent over the months ahead and one wonders if some disputes will be settled before the next election takes place. Meg and I went for a brief walk in the park but it was even too hot and sticky for some dog owners. Instead, the park seemed to be filled with pre-school kids on their scooters and joggers. On the subject of children’s scooters, there is a very simple design that seems to be popular with children aged about 3-4 years old. Basically, it is a two wheeled bicycle but with no particular pedals or means of propulsion as such. I decided to go on the web to see how these are described and I now find that they are called ‘Balance Bikes’ They did not exist in my day but I think they are a great way for very young children to get used to the feel of a bike. Basically, one sits on the seat and propels the bike using your own feet. Nonetheless, the children that we have seen seem to be very proficient and I would imagine that it makes the transition to a normal ‘pedalled’ bike so much easier. I suppose the bike is then handed on to the next in the family or one’s extended family. As a day, though, it was not particularly conducive to too much sitting in the hot sun so Meg and I made our way home because we were expecting some visitors just after midday. When I got home, I got the ingredients for a salad all organised such that we could get quickly get our lunch together when needed. Our visitors duly arrived and we were delighted that they had brought along a little present for us – or rather quite a big present. These were people whose acquaintance we have just made and I had told them the story of how they I was learning simple tunes on the keyboard that I had just acquired. Our visitors very kindly donated a whole series of what you might call ‘piano tune books’ with a whole range of popular tunes and some classical pieces as well.These booklets are evidently designed to help youngsters (and the not so young like myself) acquire some simple keyboard skills in which just the tunes (i.e. right hand only) are supplied in suitable little fragments such that they fit easily onto a double sided page and are of the order of only a few bars long. But for the likes of myself, these are fantastic learning aids and we were absolutely delighted to be made a gift of these piano tune books by our acquaintances who were evidently having a clearout and wanted them to go to a good home. All in all, we were made a gift of some seventeen of these booklets and we were both delighted and very grateful to receive them. We gave our visitors refreshments of tea and biscuits which is all they wanted before they were on their way. So Meg and I had a little delayed lunch after which, after all of the excitement, Meg needed to go to bed for a couple of hours which probably did her some good. We have resorted today to drinking lots of cold drinks, opening windows where necessary and generally trying to keep both hydrated and comfortable. It may well be that we have a thunderstorm soon which will help to clear the air. In anticipation of this, I tied up our ‘Lavatera’ (also known as ‘Mallow’) so that it does not get battered down by a heavy rain storm which is quite likely in the days ahead.

I got a little absorbed in the early evening by a Channel 4 film basically tracking down the documentary evidence that shows that the Duke of Windsor (the last Queen’s uncle who abdicated) was at least a Nazi sympathiser and perhaps even worse. Some evidence has been found in the archives in the form of a letter which found its way into Nazi hands that the Duke of Windsor thought that a bombing campaign was the best way to subjugate the English. There is quite an evidence trail that were the Nazis to have been successful, then Duke of Windsor would be installed as a ‘puppet king’ and this was his secret desire.