Friday, 15th March, 2024

[Day 1460]

Today was one of those days when you were not sure how it was going to turn out, but the day held some unexpected pleasures. After Meg and I were up and breakfasted, we started to turn our thoughts as to where we might have coffee this morning, and as we had missed out on going to the Methodist Centre this week, we thought this would be a good venue for a Friday morning. Our plans were to change somewhat, though. We had the regular visit from the Eucharistic Minister from our local church but she had experienced a fall and hurt her arm somewhat. As she plays the organ at church (for which you require two hands) as well as playing the cello, this injury was not at all welcome to her, particularly as there was a concert coming up and Easter, which is not far away, is always liturgically busy. Her husband had dropped her off at our house but when he returned, we were delighted to invite him inside so that the four of us could have a coffee together. The husband is extremely musical and has a fine singing voice so in no time, we were deep in conversation about things musical. It turned out that we have a lot more in common as well as the husband had trained at a teacher training college in Leeds and there were a lot of musical connections, principally in the south of the county (what used to be the West Riding of Yorkshire County Council) Our friend had a room-mate when he was in college who attended the same grammar school as I did in Leeds. I think we may have overlapped a little but I was only at that school for a couple of years before I left school so it is rather improbable that we met. But as we chatted, we discovered another and even more significant connection. Our friends are Trustees of the Midland Sinfonia group, a couple of members of whom we saw perform last Wednesday at the AgeUK club and who we chatted to over coffee. They are very good friends with the violinist with whom we had our photo taken which might end up on the orchestra’s website as part of their outreach programme. With having quite a lot of musical interests in common, Meg and I will look forward to further and even more extensive chats in the future.

Just before lunch, we realised that we really did need to make a lightning visit down into town, firstly to pick up our copy of the newspaper and secondly to relieve an ATM of some of its surplus cash. So we did this just before lunch which was a fish pie heating heated up in the oven. In the middle of the day, the Waitrose carpark was absolutely heaving which we did not really expect but we were delighted to get these little things done so that we could have an undisturbed afternoon. We are trying to get into a pattern so that Meg can have a nap immediately after lunch because if she does have a really deep doze, if not an actual sleep, she seems to survive the rest of the day so much better. I did consult our Prime Video schedules early this morning to espy something that we both like to watch this afternoon. Apart from one or two films that can wait until we are in the mood, I spotted one on the life of Mozart which I think is available to us and to which I am eagerly looking forward on the late afternoon. Last night, after I had got myself ready for bed, I tuned into ‘Question Time‘ which I watch occasionally if only to try to judge the mood of ‘Middle England’. Last night, the government minister allocated to the programme was forced to try to defend the extension of the terrorism definitions that had been unveiled during the course of the day. As sometimes happens, some of the most devastating critiques come from members of the public who are often much more pointed and direct than some of the other politicians. The most devastating critique came from an audience member who directed his anger along the lines of ‘how can you possible have the brass neck to try to extend definitions of terrorism when a prominent donor to the Tory party has expressed his hatred of female black politicians and wished for the death of one of them and No. 10 only very, very belatedly acknowledged that the donor in question had expressed racist views’. The story, which is still current, is receiving even more twists as it appears that other donations to the £10 million already donated to the Tory party have been received and the Tories are in no mind to return any of this money. So politicians are able to accuse the Tory party that they are quite happy to be bankrolled (and will not disown) overt racists and this must be a clear sign of the low depths to which the modern Tory party has sunk, to the despair of more moderate Tories such as the Conservative mayor of Birmingham, Andy Street, who has said publically that if it were left up to him he would return the money immediately. If a story runs on for more than three or so more days, then this is always bad news for any political party. Last night, not a single member of the audience would show their hands in favour of the government’s new policy of extending the definition of terrorism which just seems to many to be an overtly populist and electioneering ploy by the government.