Monday, 4th March, 2024

[Day 1449]

After yesterday, I thought that today might be a much better day and so it has proved so far. The carers turned up around ten minutes late but there were horrendous traffic jams right through the centre of Bromsgrove so I was sympathetic to their plight. I know from an early doctor’s appointment that I had some years ago that at 8.00am it is possible to walk down the Kidderminster Road faster than the line of slow moving traffic. After breakfast, we contemplated our shopping and itinerary for the day. We started off at the Aldi supermarket to buy a toilet requisite that they stock and nobody else does so we were fortunate that they had some of this particular item in stock. Aldi sells it for about the price of other supermarkets and so that people in the know tend to snap it up whenever it appears on the shelves so you are never sure whether the shelves are to be bulging or completely bare. After this little venture, we picked up a newspaper and motored to Droitwich where we parked fairly easily. Then we had our usual fare of a pot of tea and a bacon butty in our favourite cafe which was fairly quiet this morning. Droitwich used to be the home of my favourite hardware store, Wilko, which went ‘belly up’ a month or so back. The store space has now been overtaken by Poundland who I suspect have inherited a lot of Wilko’s stock and supply lines. In short, it does not feel like a Poundland store as things are displayed at their normal discounted prices but with I suspect about two thirds of the lines that Wilko used to have. So Meg and I had a very useful trip around the store picking up those bits and bobs that you know you are going to find useful. I was also delighted to find that they stocked a range of mens’ underpants which I was on the point of buying online, anyway. I think the price I paid probably beat the online price anyway and I was delighted to see one of those little folding step-stools that are so useful for reaching into high cupboards so that went into my shopping basket as well. So after our successful little shopping trip, we called in at a Cancer Relief charity shop that we now well and usually carries a good range of items. I bought myself a Marks and Spencer shirt in the size, colour and style that I would buy if I were in a M&S store and some Easter cards of which we only send a very few these days. But I espied a wall clock in a classic pine hexagonal style design which was being sold for a song. I suspect that the price may have been discounted even further than normal because the label on the back informed one that you required a battery. But it was a standard AA battery of which I have a copious supply at home. I have wasted no time in getting the clock mounted in such a position that it can easily be seen when sitting in our little two seater settee – and it just so happens to match the surrounding furniture perfectly so that meant a piece of good fortune for us. Whilst we were paying for our purchases in the charity shop, I enquired of one of the assistants whether they had dominoe sets available – I have hunted for some dominoes for what appears to be months amidst the myriad of jigsaws but to date have been unsuccessful. But the assistant went into the back of the shop and appeared with a traditional box of dominoes which I was more than happy to acquire for a small sum. I am hopeful that Meg and I might be able to play this simple game at some suitable point in the afternoons if there is nothing to grab our attention on the TV and/or YouTube. Meg is getting into the habit of having a little doze after lunch and I am convinced that this helps her to cope with the rest of the day more easily.

This afternoon, just after Meg had rested, I made a FaceTime contact with my sister who lives in Yorkshire and who I have not seen for quite a long time now. Whilst being conscious of the fact that we are trying to organise something to see Meg’s cousin in Derby, I have also turned my thoughts to seeing my own family in Yorkshire. A year or so back we would have stayed in a hotel in Harrogate without a moment’s hesitation, but these days I have to think a little more carefully about the logistics involved. I am playing with the idea of staying overnight with one of the family overnight if this at all feasible but otherwise it might be logistically better just to one long extended day when we make the journey by car. The journeys would be principally by motorway but there are rush hours, traffic congestion and roadworks to take into account so what might seem to be a simple journey might prove to be a little more arduous than one would have thought.

Some of the breaking news late this afternoon is that the Government have been dealt a ‘spanking defeat’ in the House of Lords over the Rwanda bill. An amendment has been passed by a majority of 102 to the effect that if the bill comes into operation, it must comply fully with our obligations under both national and international law. As it is the intention of the Rwanda bill to try to avoid UK litigation this is a tremendous spanner in the works of the passage of the bill. Eventually, of course, the bill will emerge heavily amended by the Lords and then a game of ‘ping pong’ might emerge in which the Commons will have to try to reverse the amendments made in the Lords.