Tuesday, 2nd April, 2024

[Day 1478]

We had a fair night last night but the weather was bright and clear when we woke up this morning and of course it is Tuesday to which we always look forward. I got Meg up, washed, dressed and breakfasted completely on my own this morning and then two cheerful ReAblement care personnel turned up at 9.30 this morning. I explained to them in detail how and why if Meg woke up at 6.30 she needed to be toileted, washed and dressed immediately and she could not be left for a further three hours. The two care assistants were very understanding and put in a special request to their coordinator/scheduler that we really did a first call at about 7.30-8.00pm and they were hopeful that something could be done. After they had left, we started to think about our normal Tuesday morning Waitrose visit and we got there practically on the dot of 10.30 and made contact with one of our usual friends but not the other. We spent the hour discussing some contemporary politics, the vicissitudes of carers as well as some fell-walking stories from our past. As we were leaving, we treated ourselves to a tub of ice-cream now that the weather is getting slowly warmer and we fancy a bit for our evening repast. We dined on fishcakes and microwaved vegetables and then as I try and do straight away, I encourage Meg to have a post-prandial doze.

I got a welcome telephone call from our University of Birmingham friend because we had a loose arrangement that we might collaborate over lawn mowers this afternoon. Last Autumn my friend and I resurrected a basically sound Honda lawn mower which needed a but of TLC (Tender Loving care) and a bit of knowhow to get it working again. This we did in the autumn and we then decided to ‘winterise’ it by draining off the fuel and the old oil. As our collaborative efforts had been so successful we had an understanding that the mower should stay in our garage and then we would use our collaborative efforts to get it functioning again in the Spring. With freshly drawn and stabilised fuel and a new complement of the correct motor oil, my friend and I got it going again. I was attempting to cut our back lawn which was not done the other day so I was popping in at 10 minute intervals to oversee my friend trying his own mower at the front whilst I was making progress at the back. My own mower seemed to be cutting so well and effortlessly that I successfully lowered it a notch (to No 4 of the five positions, No 3 being our ‘normal’ cut) and succeeded in getting the lawns cut whilst Meg was either dozing or in a sleepy mode. So after all of this was completed and the mower put away for another week, Meg and I treated ourselves to a post-prandial cup of tea and some dark chocolate by way of celebrations for two tasks successfully accomplished.

Every so often a government proposes a course of action that seems so ‘barking mad’ that you wonder what minds are at work within government – perhaps is what Sir Humphrey in ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ would call a ‘brave’ decision. The latest proposal which came from the mind of Suella Braverman to take people who are living their lives on the street, sometimes in tents and to sanction them if they are making an excessive smell. The idea is to deter sleeping on the streets which Suella Braverman is terming a ‘lifestyle choice’ and proposing either to fine individuals or to imprison them. On the supposition that no one living on the streets had a credit card or the odd valuable painting to sell to generate funds, then non payment of the fine would resultant in imprisonment. The idea is so crass that even the Education minister who appeared on Sky News this morning refused to support the idea from her own ex-Home Secretary that people be fined for having an excessive smell and it looks as though up to 40 Tory MPs will refuse to vote for the idea – one suspects that the idea is so crass, it will be withdrawn before MPs are asked to vote upon it. But it seems a good way if you are 20 points behind in the opinion polls to drop another 5 percentage points. This of course combined with the recent comment by Jeremy Hunt that £100,000 a year is not a very high salary these days only serves to underline the disconnect between what might be termed the ordinary people and those presently charged with governing us.

Another story worthy of comment is what happened in the Boat Race run last Saturday and won by the Cambridge crew. It transpired that I think three of the Oxford crew had been suffering from vomiting on the morning of the race, probably afflicted with e-coli which emanates from the contaminated Thames on which, of course, they would have practising on for weeks. The authorities even warned the crews that the traditional practice of throwing the winning cox into the Thames should be abandoned this year (although I think the Cambridge cox had collapsed in any case). The whole point of privatisation of the water industry several years ago was to provide the funds (by the efficient private sector) so that the requisite investment could be made. But we have seen an investors strike whereby the principal investors are refusing to fund Thames Water unless prices rises are charged to the customers i.e. the customers have to pay for improvement whilst preserving their dividends. What a mess!