Wednesday, 12th July,2023

[Day 1213]

Today was the day when we had offered to help our son in getting his car serviced. His garage is in Redditch and we had an arrangement that he would drive there and drop off the car for a service and then Meg and I and our son would meet up in an adjacent Morrisons Superstore for a breakfast. All of this worked as planned and although I normally cut out breakfasts as part of my weight reduction routine, I must say that I really enjoyed the breakfast that was on offer. We then made our journey back to the house and my son participated in an online conference which had been organised for particular NHS analysts. Meg and I then made our way to Finstall where we were due to attend a monthly Age Concern meeting that we have been along to on about three occasions. If the weather was fine, there was a promise of a picnic but, in practice, we engaged in some indoor pursuits as we could not rely upon the weather. Today our numbers were slightly down as two regular attendees were experiencing bouts of illness but we had two tables with about half a dozen on each table. We played a type of bingo game but using illustrations of dogs rather than numbers and this provoked some comments from those of us who had experience of these or similar pets. Afterwards we finished our morning’s activities, we came home and had a light lunch of some soup because we were still feeling pretty full after our extended breakfast. In the middle of the afteenoon, we conveyed our son to the garage where his car was being serviced so that he could pick it up. One of the joys of modern technology is the way that garages nowadays take a little video of the underside of the car being serviced with the amount of tread remaining chalked on the tyre and then videoed back to the owner.

This afternoon, as I had mastered the basic (and very simple) theme of the Offenbach’s ‘Barcarolle‘, I have amused myself by playing the theme on a variety of instruments offered by my Casio keyboard (bought a week or so before the organ) Of course, different instruments add the right degree of colour to a piece but I have discovered what Casio call ‘Synth-Path1’ which I supposed is a type of artificial synthesiser sound. Anyway it has a floating, dreamy quality with a certain amount of resonance built in and it makes even a simple rendition of the Offenbach ‘Barcarolle‘ sound out of this world. Wikipedia tells us that a barcarolle is a traditional folk song sung by Venetian gondoliers, or a piece of music composed in that style. A barcarolle is characterized by a rhythm reminiscent of the gondolier’s stroke, almost invariably in 6/8 meter at a moderate tempo. I am sure that most people will recognise this piece when played and it gets quite a frequent airing on ClassicFM.

In all of the row over the BBC presenter which is dominating the airways, another much more significant story is being crowded out. It does seem to be a field day for the Murdoch dominated press to give the BBC a real kicking which it does whenever it has the opportunity – and to extend the row for days on end. In the meanwhile, Boris Johnson has still not provided messages stored on an old mobile phone to the Covid-19 public inquiry as it emerged on Monday, with allies of the ex-premier claiming that he was still working with technical experts on the issue. The government was given a deadline of 4pm on Monday to hand over relevant material to the inquiry, and Downing Street said ministers had passed on all the information in its possession. This story is potentially of much greater significance than the BBC row but is not gaining any press attention. But Boris Johnson’s phone – and its encrypted messages – will contain material that is absolutely damning as it relates to the very early days of the pandemic crisis when all kinds of decisions were being taken (or rather not being taken) Without this material, the COVID enquiry will have a much harder time in establishing the facts, not to mention apportioning blame, and one is left with the distinct impression both that Boris Johnson has quite a lot to hide but also that he is ‘getting away with it’ Nobody is denying that the phone exists and it must fall with the competence of the police and the security servives to ensure between them that the messages on this phone get read and presented to the enquiry.

Boris Johnson and his wife have produced a third child between them and one’s jaw has to drop as to the name that the child will bear. For whatever reason, the child is called ‘Frank’ and one has to wonder whether this name has been chosen as a huge practical joke upon the public at large given the evasion of lack of frankness that Boris Johnson has displayed over much of his political career. Perhaps it might be considered unseemly to make comment on the private life of a politician and I have not as yet seen any public comment on the name given to the latest addition to the Johnson tribe.