Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024

[Day 1479]

Today was one of those days which I traditionally describe as ‘chewy’ where nothing seems to go quite right. But it started off brightly enough when two carers turned up promptly at 8.30, one of whom I knew from the day before and other was a male carer who knew the ins and outs of everything as he had to care for his invalid mother for years before her eventual demise. He was delightful and, as he had been a hairdresser in a previous life, I let him get on with doing his best on Meg’s hair after we had finished everything else. Last night we had a delightful carer with whom I got on like a house on fire and am relieved that she will be on duty again tonight. Today is the day when our domestic help calls around and it is always good to see her and she helps to jolly Meg along when Meg is feeling a bit low which she is sometimes in the morning. As soon as we had breakfasted, we made our way to the Methodist Centre which is our usual haunt on a Wednesday morning but the entire cafe was in darkness as it was a non-opening week this week, no doubt as a hangover from the Easter holiday. So we thought that we would then make a trip to a ‘Home and Gardens’store which we were assured would have in stock some items of which we had run short. Needless to say, I could not find what friends had assured me that they stocked so I bought something which was probably inappropriate and then decided to visit our local Aldi store which was not too far distant. When I got there, the items that I wanted were completely out of stock so this too was a bit of a miss. In frustration, Meg and I decided that we would go straight home and have our coffee at home. This having been done, we were not too far off lunchtime so we finished off the beef from our weekend roast and ate it with baked potato and primo cabbage.

In today’s ‘Times’ there was an article written by a lady who declares herself to be 77 years old and the article was entitled ‘Where are the knobs?’ The whole article was bemoaning the fact that the knobs and dials with which we used to control appliances had not been overtaken with smartphones complete with swipes, QR codes, apps and the like – none of which seem to work in the way that you thought. Even on my apple iPhone you are meant to swipe upwards to get a menu that gives you access to a volume control but this (for me) is an incredibly hit-and-miss affair which sometimes works but more often does not. I also have a problem hitting the right keys if only one of my fingers, probably made a bit wider with the onset of some osteoarthritis covers three characters at once when I am trying to type. How the younger generation manipulates quasi keyboards with both their thumbs is totally beyond me. Having said that, there is a bit of a fight back going on. I notice that in the latest generation of Honda car that I have, the adverse reaction of car drivers having to manipulate a slide or touch screen to control the volume of the audio in their car has led the Honda engineers to introduce some selective knurled knobs to control volumes and all of the reviews that I read of the motoring correspondents was that this was surely a move in the right direction and manufacturers were now listening to the likes and dislikes of their customers.

There is a big political story on Sky News today. A mega new YouGov poll has forecast Labour would win more than 400 seats if the general election were held tomorrow. The Conservative Party would crash to just 155 seats, meaning 210 sitting MPs would lose their jobs – among them multiple cabinet ministers. Now I do not expect that this will actually happen in a month of Sundays as the Tories can always rely upon a tranche of voters who will not give their opinions to pollsters, who are generally a-political but who always seem to come out and secretly support the Tories when it comes to the crunch. Having said that, we have the local elections in a month’s time and this is predicted to go very badly for the governing party. When lots of councillors lose their seats, the local party also loses the people who go round knocking on doors, stuffing envelopes and delivering leaflets as the defeated candidates are often disheartened and perhaps even disillusioned. There is some talk that the Tories are starting to think hard about they are going to do in opposition and are even toying with the idea of a ‘Liz Truss Mark 2’ style candidate. One development that may happen is that so many MPs will lose their seats that the wishes of the Parliamentary party may rest on the shoulders of a greatly diminished number. So, the argument runs, why not organise a putsch against Rishi Sunak now given we still have quite a large number of MPs. It is said that Penny Mordaunt as leader, if installed today, would cut the projected majority of any likely Labour government by one half. So we are in a very febrile state of politics at the moment and probably the majority of Tories are resigned to some kind of landslide given the depth of their unpopularity at the moment. It takes a landslide to get rid of a landslide so if we do get a Labour government within a few months time then they may well be in power for the best part of ten years. But I seem to recall an old fashioned examination questions that ran along the lines of ‘The Socialists are in office but the Conservatives are in power. Discuss’ I do remember when I studied the French political system in my second year at University a favourite question was ‘The French voter has his heart on the left but his pocket on the right’ which was a not dissimilar sentiment.