Saturday, 17th February, 2024

[Day 1433]

Our two carers arrived right on cue this morning and so between the three of us we got Meg up, showered and dressed. One of the carers had started off life as a hairdresser so when we have Meg sitting in her bedroom chair, the carer supplies some of her hairdressing skills which is always much appreciated. As it a Saturday morning, we know that we have our Waitrose friends to which to look forward, so after breakfast we made sure that we got down there at the appointed time. In the car park and before we had had a chance to set foot inside the store, I ran across one of our fellow parishioners who like Meg and I used to attend the 6.00pm service in our local church on Saturday evenings. This chappie is a very chipper Irishman who is always seems full of good humour and I had a chat with him. When I enquired after his health in a casual sort of way, he informed me that he had oesophagal cancer and had only been given about three months to live. But was so remarkable was that he seemed to be cheerful and unfazed by this prospect. It is fair to say that he a very fervent and devout parishioner who often used to read out some of the epistle and lessons. I can only conclude that he really is quite pleased that he is shortly to meet with his Maker and is delighted by the prospect. I wonder whether when I approach the end of life I can meet it with such a joyous prospect but the chance meeting meeting between us was fortunate and I trust that I can bump into him many more times in the weeks and months ahead. Once we actually got inside the store, we learn that one of our friends is still poorly with a chest infection but we were delighted to meet up with another of our Tuesday/Saturday regulars. This lady is recently widowed and the crematorium service was last Wednesday so we had a rather mordant conversation about how she intended to dispose of her late husband’s ashes. Our friend was an incredibly good hill walker in her youth and probably climbed even more Lake District mountains when I did when I was younger. Knowing that she knew the Lake District well. I asked her what precautions she took whilst disposing of the dead body of (any past) husbands in the depths of England’s deepest lake which is Wastwater and is 260 feet deep. As she was a bit lost for words, I told her of the story of the dentist who had disposed of his wife in this fashion some time, I believe, in the 1930’s or 1940’s. Rowing out to what he hope to be the deepest point of the lake, he heaved his wife’s body overboard and then lived a tranquil life for the next 30 years. But it was unfortunate for him that his wife’s body ledged upon a sharp prominence of rock that extended from the lake’s bottom to a few metres below the surface of the lake. In the severe droughts of the 1970’s, the woman’s skeleton was discovered draped over the afore mentioned rock but the husband had forgotten to undertake the most elementary pf precautions which was to remove his dead wife’s wedding ring from her skeleton before disposing of it. This wedding ring was still in place on the appropriate finger and from the hallmark on this, the police were able to discover its hallmark and probable date of manufacture and from this information, it was not too difficult to connect the errant dentist with his crime with which he got away for decades. So the moral of all of this clear, namely that one should dispose of all jewellery and identifying marks before disposing of a dead spouse’s body – does this extend to gold teeth, I wonder?

Once we got home, I set about cooking some odds and ends for a pasta type meal. This turned up to be much too large for Meg although she did manfully manage most of it. Not liking to throw food away, I had cooked one onion, some mini sweet peppers, mushrooms, a cupful of petit pois and some strip of pre-cooked chicken. Then I added a dash of brown sauce, a smidgeon of onion gravy and finished off with an apple diced small, some sultanas and a modicum of brown sugar. Meg’s dinner gets served on a bed of pasta but to keep the carbohydrate count low, I serve my own on 2-3 cream crackers, broken up inso small pieces. A lot of the food could have to be thrown away if I had not cooked it today so I am always quite pleased to turn odds-and-ends like this into a nourishing meal.

The airwaves have been filled yesterday evening and today with the demise of Alexei Navalny who is undoubtedly dead and probably murdered at that, as ee have evidence that he was alive and well yesterday and captured on video whilst on a court appearance the day before. The Russians have responded to the death of this arch critic of Putin by hardly mentioning the facts in the media, arresting anyone who wants to lay flowers as a tribute and refusing, as I write, to hand over the dead body to his own mother. Of course, we in the West are well used to the murderous ways of Putin (who after all, is ex KGB and for whom life may be regarded as cheap) but for may in Russia, the sentiment is that they have lost their ‘Mandela’ as the country slides deeper and deeper into an authoritarian nationalism.