Monday, 18th December, 2023

[Day 1372]

Last night, after my wife was safely tucked up in bed, I had set myself the task of getting our Christmas cards completed because I very much wanted to get the whole lot into the system by a fairly early post this morning. I worked solidly from 8.15 until nearly 10.00pm and got all 38 of them completed. Each, as well as an indivualised message, needed a little label so that recipients would know how Meg was progressing alongside some of my blog details and a normal address label. Needless to say, I was delighted to get this job done with just two held over whilst I try to acquire some up-to-date address details so I know where they are to be sent. Then I started to watch the news but promptly fell asleep but did crawl into bed before midnight. The task for this morning was quite simple and that was to stick one of our address labels on the back with the attribution of ‘From:’ in the case of mis-delivery. This morning Meg and I got ourselves up and going in plenty of time and then set off for Droitwich, some 8 miles distant. En route, I managed to stop off at a store that sells newspapers and acquired their last copy of ‘The Times‘ and then arrived in Droitwich where we were fortunate enough to secure a parking place just across the road from the bank which was fine as I managed to speed across the road and relieve the ATM of some of its cash, which I knew I was going to need for a multitude of stamps, presents and the like. Then Meg and I made our way (Meg in her wheelchair) towards the fairly adjacent post office and were fairly dismayed to see a series of insurmountable steps – however, there was a disabled access to the side and so I breathed a sigh of relief and wheeled Meg inside. In my imagination, I thought the post office would be absolutely teeming this morning – I am sure that the one in Bromsgrove would have been and on similar occasions when we had a ‘proper’ post office in Bromsgrove (i.e. not a counter in a W H Smiths), I have known people queue all the way inside the shop and finish off on the pavement outside. I was sure this was going to happen today but I was mistaken. The queue mercifully was short and we were seen within a minute or so, the post office having two counter staff on duty. Having posted off the four items for Spain, I then got a block of stamps and all I needed to do was to affix them. The post office had fortunately provided a little desk and a chair so this task was made very easy for me. I discovered in the course of my stamp- fixing duties that I was about to send two copies of a card to the same person so I quickly jettisoned one of them and then handed the complete bundle to the counter staff as they asked me to. In the past, though, I have known the red post boxes to be so full that it would have been possible to stick your hand inside and grap a collection of the already posted mail. So I felt very pleased with my morning’s work and Meg and I made it across the road to our favourite cafe where we treated ourselves to a pot of tea and a bacon butty on thick granary bread. For some reason, the bacon tasted particularly delicious this morning. Then Meg and I returned home and Meg watched a bit of the Politics programme starting at 12.15 which I would dearly would have liked to have done but I did have to crack on and get our lunch prepared.

This afternoon, Meg and I have been experiencing some wonderful pieces of music, courtesy of YouTube (to which we have taken out a subscription and it is really proving its worth to us) We tend to start off in the same way with a bit of Fauré which we both find relaxing. Thereafter, some of the pieces that YouTube ‘select’ for us according to its algorithms are pieces that we already know and like whilst others are a selection of new material. I think this afternonn’s are some choral gems from the Deutsche Gramaphonen collection which is, of course, of the most superb quality. Earlier, we have received both a telephone call and a text message indicating more or less the same thing i.e. that there is going to be the annual carol service in our local church and did we intend to go tomorrow (Tuesday)? Although this will make a somewhat later night than we had intended, we think that the atmosphere and the ability to see again some of the regular members of the congregation whom we have come to know over the years probably makes us feel inclined to make the effort and to go along. We may not take a final decision until later on tomorrow but these special occasions are nearly always worth the effort.

Quite a lot of the political comment today has centred upon the Baroness Mone who was enobled by the Tories and having enriched herself as a manufacturer of bras was elevated to a seat in the Lords. She and her husband have now come clean about the obscene amount of money that they have made by being ‘fast tracked’ to win a contract for the supply of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) at the height of the pandemic. She has now admitted lying repeatedly to the press and to the House of Lords and is arguing that ‘it is not a crime’ to lie to the press to protect one’s family. I suspect that the stench of corruption is so great that she will be ejected from the House of Lords with great haste (and I am sure many people will cheer that decison and event when it happens)