Friday, 29th March, 202

[Day 1474]

So Good Friday morning dawned with quite a bright look to the day. In a slightly wakeful period in the middle of the night, I had got up and found a copy of the manual for our newly installed stair lift – having run off a copy I bound it between two sheets of acetate film, stapled it and then gave it a good tape binding. I was actually taught how to undertake these elements of document preparation by a wonderful South African lady of Asian extraction who was the manager of our reprographic department at the Scraptoft Campus of Leicester Polytechnic. These skills have stood me in good stead and I was deploying them constantly whenever I wrote a conference paper and wanted some ‘good’ copies to distribute. To make a document look really professional, I would deploy the judicious use of colour and some background printed off on glossy paper and used as the front cover. Of course, you had to have a colour printer to print this off but I have stopped bothering with colour printers about a decade ago as I used it rarely and the inks tended to dry up. Having got Meg up, I wondered if our old care agency was going to turn up at 8.00am as was their wont. I got Meg all washed and dressed and the moment I had finished, the doorbell rang and I was confronted by two cheerful care assistants not from my usual agency but from the NHS ReAblement team who I was not actually expecting. So there was nothing for them really to do so they accompanied Meg down into our Music Lounge where the care assistants were intrigued by the musical instruments. So, acceding to their request, I simulated the playing of Mozart’s Turkish march on the Casio keyboard but also gave them a rendition of the parts of Offenbach’s Barcarolle that I could remember from memory. Needless to say, they were intrigued by all of this not having seen anything like it in their normal round of visits. After they had departed, I made a call to the care agency that social services had allocated to us and received the news that the NHS ReAblement team would be taking over the caring role until two weeks on Monday and then our ‘normal’ care agency would take over. The trouble about this is that I am not sure what timings the NHS ReAblement team have scheduled – my usual agency had almost impeccably prompt timings. For example, although someone is scheduled to call this evening at 9.00pm, I had to indicate that Meg was worn out by 7.30 and fast asleep in bed by 8.15. So I had to request a change in time as I didn’t want Meg to be asleep downstairs only to be woken up in order to get to bed again. Not wanting to sound ungrateful or curmudgeonly, I am going to have over a fortnight of unpredictability before a more normal service will resume.

Normally, on Good Fridays, I feel happy when there is a performance of either Matthew Passion or John Passion during the afternoon. This year, a performance of John Passion was being broadcast so I was anticipating a happy coincidence of Meg having an afternoon dinner doze, me starting this blog and the both of us enjoying the Bach played on Radio 3. Knowing that there was probably going to be some good music on Radio 3 on a Good Friday, I consulted the schedules and discovered that there was going to be a lunchtime concert featuring an accordionist. This performer played some Bach, a special arrangement of Grieg’s Holberg suite and then some Mozart – fascinating to hear familiar music played on unfamiliar instrument. Incidentally, is an accordion fundamentally a keyboard or a wind instrument as it appears to me to be both? I only listen to Radio 3 on a selective basis but on important holiday dates, I think Radio 3 tries to be a little less esoteric and to broadcast music with a wide appeal.

Our Irish friends had very kindly made a present of a box of chocolates for Meg (stored up until Easter Sunday) and some cans of Guinness for myself. I remembered that I when I was down in London, I occasionally went out with a friend and we each bought a bottle of Guinness and a bottle of cheapish cider which we mixed in one pint glass. This drink lasted us all evening as befitted our impecunious state so I thought I would resurrect this drink, formerly known as Black Velvet although I think to do it properly one should use champagne rather than cider. So in Waitrose I bought a 2 litre flagon of traditional dry cider ready for an experimental drink tonight. Today when we returned from town and rather hot with the exertions of getting Meg into and out of wheelchairs and transit chairs, I made myself a mixture of three quarters cider and one quarter tonic water. This had the effect of transforming an otherwise dry cider into a medium cider and I was so pleased with the result, so that I might try this particular mixture again.

There seems to be a Wallace and Gromit film on this afternoon so after Meg has had a good sleep, we might divert ourselves with this. I must say that I am not particularly looking forward to the next few days as my delight in getting Meg safely back home is tempered somewhat by the fact that so many of our family and friends are taking several days off so that they, too, can visit family and friends over the Christmas period. My son and daughter-in-law have spent a lot of time with us whilst Meg has been in hospital giving us practical support but they now need to spend some time with my daughter-in-law’s mother and other relatives which is quite understandable. I am looking forward to Easter Sunday if only that my chocolate eating habit can be safely reinstated but I fear that the other vices I have avoided over Lent might be more difficult to reinstate.