Wednesday, 13th March, 2024

[Day 1458]

I suppose the middle of the night ranks as being of today’s contributions but the day did not get off to a flying start. Last night, my University of Winchester friend and I had a planned Skype conversation, where we had to lot of communicate to each other as we are both immersed in the care that we need to give to our wives who suffer from different ailments but whose symptoms appear to quite closely match each other. We give each other some advice and helpful support but have to Skype at a time when we are free from caring responsibilities. So I was a little later to bed than is usual for me because I needed to do some financial updates but when I eventually got to bed, I found the bedroom light on (an ominous sign) and Meg on the bedroom floor. Getting her up is no easy task but perhaps superior to calling out the specialist Falls service where one has to wait hours sometimes. So getting Meg up, toileted and back into bed again with an arrangement of my own devising to prevent her falling out of bed took the about three quarters of an hour which is evidently so much less sleep during the night. So this morning, I was pretty tired (as Meg had had a total of four falls in the previous 24 hours) and after Meg was up and breakfasted, I promptly fell fast asleep in my chair. Then I woke up with a start, realising that we only had about 20 minutes to get off to our social engagement this morning. Every second Wednesday of the month, we go off to an event organised by AgeUK in the Bromsgrove rugby club premises and today the highlight of the morning was going to be a performance given by some musicians called the Midland Sinfonia. In the event, it was a violinist and a cellist and they played some light classical pieces as well as some fairly well known tunes that lend themselves to being played on stringed instruments (for example, ‘Smoke gets in your eyes’) After we had had our little concert, the musicians mingled with us and Meg and I finished up being photographed with the violinist and another club member (who I suspect was the oldest of us attending there today) We were told that the photo would be published on the group’s website as part of their ‘Outreach’ programme so this will be interesting to look out for. Whilst I was in conversation with the violinist, she informed me that the whole ensemble conducted informal and ‘open’ rehearsal sessions in a church in a neighbouring village. I think this was followed by tea and cakes and a chance to mingle. The violinist told me approximately when the other rehearsal sessions were to be and she promised to email me with some of the details so we could turn up if the spirit moves us. One date that she mentioned happened to be my birthday in May so it might be worthwhile getting a ‘free’ concert and some tea and cakes on that particular day.

Tomorrow we will need to be juggling several commitments at one. At the start of the day, someone is going to pop by from a firm in Droitwich to give us a quote for the installation of a stair lift. We are also due to visit the dental hygienist and the dentist phoned up mid-morning to ask if we would mind if our appointment was brought forward by half an hour. Although last time we visited the dentist, things were all on the ground floor, I am not sure if some specialised arrangements are going to made when Meg and I attend tomorrow because there is normally a steep flight of stairs to negotiate which would actually be beyond us. Even getting into the dentist is going to prove problematic because the premises has a very steep step at its entrance so I suspect tat we have to dive inside and ask for an access ramp to be deployed so that we can actually get in. I normally have shopping to think about on a Thursday but given other commitments this will necessitate some rearrangement.

Prime Ministers Questions should have been an open goal for Keir Starmer but he seems to have flunked his attack. The case in question was the biggest Tory donor, Frank Hester, who is reported to have said Dianne Abbott (the first black female MP) made him ‘want to hate all black women’ and that she ‘should be shot’. This was so evidently a racist comment and was roundly condemned by all sides of the political spectrum but it took an intervention from Kemi Badenoch, the Trade minister, to spur Downing Street into action and after quite some delay and prevarication to admit this comment was racist. The Rishi Sunak ‘line’ is that the donor in question had shown some contrition and therefore the debate should move on. But there is an evident line of attack that the Tories should return the donation from such a dubious and questionable source but the money might already have been spent.