Tuesday, 11th July, 2023

[Day 1212]

Tuesdays roll around with a pleasant predictability and today we looked forward to our weekly (or sometimes bi-weekly) chat with the regulars in the Waitrose café. One of our number was missing today, possibly deterred by the really bad weather where one was threatened with quite torrential downpours every half hour or so. Nonetheless, four of us met to exchange the gossip of the last few days and after that it was returning home for a quick turnaround and then a walk down to my weekly Pilates class. Just before I set off, I got a friendly telephone call from a community pharmacist attached to our local medical practice. This has happened before so I was not unduly alarmed as one might be if the medical practice calls you instead of the other way round. He was calling to discuss a series of blood pressure readings which I had supplied to the practice last Friday and he was putting then onto the system but at the same time, he was taking the opportunity to review the blood pressure medication I was on. I asked him to give a sneak preview of the recent results from a blood sample I gave last Friday and he was a bit surprised that the one particular reading in which they were interested they had forgotten or neglected to test for. So he booked me another test and was generally quite full of generic advice. As it happens, I always used to enjoy chatting with the pharmacists when I was in hospital five years go as they have some interesting perspectives, in that they are involved in the ‘medical’ world whilst not actually being medics and sometimes you can have a discussion better than with a doctor. I consulted the pharmacist about the relationshop between weight loss and blood pressure and whilst some American websites will claim that you lose 1 point of blood pressure reading for every 1lb lost, a more conservative and probably more accurate view is that one loses about 1 point for every 2lb (or 1kg lost) I am keeping a little booklet with my regular readings and things are moving in the right direction.

Last night, or perhaps it was in the wee small hours of the morning, I taught myself a new piece to play on our newly acquired organ. After buying the organ I invested in a series of booklets purchased through eBay which were collections of classical works simplified for beginners and often adapted so that you do not have to master the complete work but just sufficient elements of it to recognise the theme. I have always been fond of Offenbach’s ‘Barcarolle‘ which easily evokes the image of a barge gliding slowly through the water of a canal with a beautiful slow rhythm. When you hear this piece of music you realise how few notes are deployed to produce an incredible effect so I turned to a book, recently purchased, in which 100 classical pieces were sold in a booklet for which I paid only £3.39. Luckily, I found the ‘Barcarolle‘ in this and quickly taught myself the basics of at least the first half of the piece. I have to say that this work is really very simple and many of the notes are literally next to each other which makes the whole piece pretty easy to memorise. So I gave Meg a rendition of what I had just learnt after we had breakfasted first thing in the morning. Of couse, there is still a task that lies ahead as I must practice the second half of the piece and then, even more challenging, add in the left hand but at the very least I have another melody available to me if I want to give mysef a quick burst of relaxation.

I read a tweet last night which really increased my revulsion at some of the antics of the modern generation of politicians. Our immigration minister is Robert Jenrick and he has oversight of the various detention centers in which migrants arriving by boat are typically accommodated. The ‘Daily Mail’ has reported that Immigration minister defended ordering the removal of Mickey Mouse artwork at an asylum centre for unaccompanied children. Murals depicting cartoon characters were last week painted over at a Kent facility used to hold those who arrive in Britain after crossing the Channel in small boats. Mr Jenrick was reported to have felt the murals gave the impression the UK was too ‘welcoming’ to migrants arriving from France after undertaking sea journeys. The mean spiritness of this approach when the centre was designed for unaccompanied childrn really takes one’s breath away. Meanwhile, the ‘Illegal Migration’ Bill was savaged in the House of Lords once it had passed through the Commons and 20 amendments were made. The Government having received this bill back from the Lords have made or or two small concessions but are busy voting to remove each of the Lords’ amendments. After that, the bill will be returned back to the Lords who will then have to decide whether to enforce the will of the (unelected) House of Lords as against the (elected) House of Commons. One of the most vociferous critics of the bill in the Commons is no less than the ex-Prime Minister, Theresa May, who feels that the current bill will facilitate much modern slavery – and as she had oversight of the legislaion outlawing modern slavery as Home Secretary and as Prime Minister, then she feels that some key parts of her legacy are being jettisoned before her very eyes.