Sunday, 10th March, 2024

[Day 1455]

Today started off with the carer for Meg arriving 15 minutes before her allotted slot when we were still rubbing the sleep out of eyes. But we got Meg up, washed and dressed acting as a duo and therefore we were in plenty of time to settle down in front of the Lorna Kuenssbery show on Sunday mornings. This had the Chancellor-in-waiting, Rachel Reeves, acting as the very model of financial proprietary by promising that every Labour commitment would be costed and be affordable before it was put into effect. In other words, an incoming Labour government would not borrow to finance current expenditure but would only borrow for longer term capital projects. Rachel Reeves worked for the Bank of England and as a civil servant and is evidently part of the push to reassure voters that a Labour Party would be the model of financial rectitude. After what Liz Truss did to the economy this is not surprising but does make the Labour Party seem like a paler version of the Tory Party. The Lorna Kuenssberg show was enlivened by a wonderful clash between the food campaigner, High Fearnley-Whittingstall and Victoria Adams, a Tory Health Minister. Hugh Fearnleigh-Whittingstall was allowed to put a question directly to the minister which he did to devastating effect. He briefly recounted the enormous costs to the health service (and to the nation as a whole) of the effects of obesity, much of exacerbated by the junk food to which the country as a whole seems addicted. He asked Adams why in her period of office amongst the many levers that she could pull to try to combat the obesity crisis, she had pulled none of them i.e. basically done nothing. Her reply was so lame and ran along the lines of (a) I have only been in post for a short time and I have not had time to do anything about it (b) I intend to do something about it once I get round to it eventually. This was so lame a defence as to be unbelievable. But Victoria Adams is married to the Chief Executive of ABF Sugar, one of the biggest sugar producers in the country and sugar, by common medical consent, is a major contributor to obesity being added unnecessarily to soups, confectionaries and all manner of foodstuffs.

Meg and I had thought that we might go to the park this moment but we survived a moment of panic when it looked as though our house alarm was playing up. An unusual light was sounding and the keys sounded extra loud when pressed but this problem was solved with the aid of a magnifying class so that I could discern which of the buttons on the alarm’s control panel was the reset button after which order was restored. We collected our Sunday newspaper and then made for the park but it was one of those kinds of days where the mist/rain just seemed to hang in the air. Once we got ourselves installed on what used to be our ‘usual’ park bench we were soon surrounded by diverse dogs, some yapping and others being a bit more sensible. We got into conversation with one person who we used to see quite regularly when we visited the park practically every day at the height of the COVID pandemic. One particularly yappy little dog did not enamour itself to me by putting its muddy paws on my lap, thinking that some food might be in the offing. After this group had moved on, we met another dog owner who owns quite a good looking labradoodle and we spent some time catching up on his news. His partner seemed to be pretty poorly with a lung condition that the GP and various specialists could not identify – the latest line of thinking was that it might be something that was a remnant of COVID caught in the past. Then we made our way for home. As soon as we got back into the house, I received a telephone call from a French widow that we know well and who lives down the Kidderminster Road. She had heard from our Irish friends that we might be considering a stairlift so she told us about a local company that she used when her husband was in hospital and may well have needed a stairlift when he came out of hospital. A local company sounds quite interesting so Meg and I might well make a trip there tomorrow morning so that we can help to negotiate the various options of purchasing new, purchasing refurbished or renting. At the same time, we are exploring sources of finance to see if any assistance is available but a little trip down the road might prove fruitful for us. For lunch today, we availed ourself of the half of a beef joint which was cooked and have frozen some weeks ago. I hunted around the freezer and found some honey-glazed parsnips left over from last Christmas so these got popped into the oven and made a delicious lunch with the beef brought back to life in some onion gravy and with some broccoli.

As might have predicted, in the Six Nations rugby competition the strong and powerful French forwards overwhelmed the plucky Welsh who, at the end of the day and even though playing in Cardiff, eventually succumbed. But they did a reasonable job in holding off the French for about three quarters of the match and led the French for much of the first half.