Thursday, 14th March, 2024

[Day 1459]

We knew that today was going to be quite a busy day and so it has proved so far. We got off to a good start as the carers arrived on time and we got Meg all ready (but not yet breakfasted) by 8.30. At this time, we were expecting a call from a fairly local firm of chair lift installers who had been recommended to us by one of the occupational therapists when they called around the other day. As it was a family firm, the proprietor himself called round to make the assessment – he was on his way to another installation so it was not much out of his way. I was impressed by that was said to me and, after our last visit by a stair lift salesman I now knew the questions that needed to be asked. I always like doing business with smaller, family run firms if I can and when I was quoted an extremely competitive price.I accepted it on the spot because I knew all I needed to know and there seemed to be no point in further shopping around. So we have fixed an installation date for a week on Monday which is 11 days time and I am pretty sure that we can survive until then. What particularly impressed me was the proprietor had been the chief engineer and installer of Stannah stairlifts for practically 20 years so what he did not know about the product could be written onto the back of the proverbial postage stamp. So after this person had come and gone, it was time for our carer to call so that I could go and do some shopping. But Meg and I had an appointment booked with the dental hygienist so that we knew that time was very tight. I decided that I had a little window of time of about 40 minutes so I calculated that I could get to a local store, do a ‘reduced’ week’s shopping and still get back in time to get us to the dentists on time. So I raced around getting some of the bare essentials from the supermarket and was then back in time to give me 30 minutes to get to the dentist. I knew that I needed a ramp at the other end to get over a steep step but we arrived in time and then saw the very friendly hygienist to whom we have been going for about the last ten years. She was absolutely marvellous and had arranged for Meg to go into a treatment room downstairs so we did not have to cope with stairs and then she and I got Meg into position out of the wheelchair and onto the couch ready for the treatment. As we have got older, Meg and I like to go to the hygienist regularly every six months with a dental appointment every six months as well which means that out mouths get examined every three months on average. COVID rather played havoc with this normal timetable of appointments but we are gradually getting back into a more normal pattern. So I suspect that Meg was pretty tired by the end of the morning because we had not had our normal supply of coffee and a smidgeon of carbohydrate so I cracked on with lunch as soon as I got into the house. We had half a large quiche ready to be heated up in the oven for our lunch today and I complemented this with a mixture of fried onions, peppers and petit pois, popped into the oven for the last ten minutes to give a lovely roasted flavour. When Meg and I lived in Southampton, we used to visit a city in Southern Spain called Murcia for which there were direct flights by FlyBe from our local airport. The local speciality in that region is roasted vegetables which we tended to have for breakfast every morning as they were so delicious but I dare say that roasted veg is not everybody’s idea of a breakfast.

The mood amongst Tory MPs is best described by the adjective ‘jittery’ In their heart of hearts, the Tory MPs know that they are going to get a thumping at the next election and about half of them will lose their seats at the election. Moreover, as the scale of their defeat is likely to be large, then it takes ‘a landslide to get rid of a landslide’ so it is probable that the Tories will be out of power for ten years and perhaps even longer. Rishi Sunak’s team no longer deny that things are bad. The mood amongst MPs is febrile, unhappy, tense and uncertain and many are letting this be known privately, through Sir Graham Brady, and some are saying so publicly. What is being unveiled today is an extremely complex task of refining the boundaries of what constitutes ‘terrorist’ organisation. This is the sort of thing for which there really needs to be a cross party consensus but there is a feeling that is widely shared that the government is bringing forward legislation at this time both to follow a populist agenda and also with electioneering very clearly in mind. The macabre thing is that some of the utterances of Tory MPs and supporters (one is thinking of the recently defected Lee Anderson as well as the racist rants of Tory donors) could fall within the definition of ‘terrorism’ which one suspects is being squarely aimed at the radical elements of Muslim opinion but not at the plethora of right wing political parties, pressure groups not to mention broadcasting stations (GB News) So the latest set of proposals is to list various organisations and to call them ‘terrorist’ and this labelling can only be challenged at great expense in the High Court. Tory MPs are worried because some feel that freedom of speech issues are involved, whilst others fret that it is just one more policy that is likely to blow up in their faces as an election approaches.