Friday, 5th April, 2024

[Day 1481]

Today started off as one of those days when the sky appears gloomy, the sun then breaks through the clouds with the promise of a much brighter day and then it becomes overcast again. So it has proved to be most of the morning, actually. Our couple of cheery care assistants turned up, absolutely on cue this morning and I was pleased to see them both but they are now both having a couple of days off over the weekend. After we had breakfasted on a mixture of toast and instant porridge oats, the phone rang and it was an OT arranging to come along to give Meg an assessment in about an hour’s time. Actually a pair of them turned up after only about half an hour and one of them had come to the house before and remembered all the details of Meg and our Music Lounge. Before they came, I let Meg have a little wander on her walker and this proved to be quite useful as the OTs could assess her mobility using the walker. They then observed how I managed to get Meg to a standing position and into/out of her chair. At the same time, they tested Meg’s upper body strength with a little range of tests. The upshot of all of this was that the OTs, who I think were sensibility personified, were quite satisfied with the practical arrangements that we have for Meg’s mobility, support and general living arrangements. This they were going to put on file and thought that any additional equipment was not actually indicated at this stage and might create more problems than it solved. They agreed completely with the strategy I have adopted of using the transit chair at the beginning and end of the day or other occasions when Meg might feel somewhat wobbly but the rest of the time applauded my efforts at keeping Meg relatively mobile with the use of walkers and frames. They were just on the point of leaving when our University of Birmingham friend phoned up and were intrigued and amused by our conversation which included our observations that we all wanted to go out to play (as if we were young children) and we knew that Waitrose had a good supply of play pens for us. We made contact with our University of Birmingham friend with whom we chatted until we were joined by another of our Tuesday gathering who we missed last Tuesday.

Just after we had pulled into our drive, our son and daughter-in-law turned up and we were evidently pleased to see them after an absence of a week. They had actually come along to do a badly needed gardening job which was to trim back the hedging around our BioDisk installation in the front of the house. When we first moved into the house some seventeen years ago now, this was a bit of an eyesore but within about a year I had prepared to put in some hedging plants. I know that at the time, I took a lot of trouble with the soil preparation but this has actually paid dividends as the resulting hedge is about 6 feet in height and not far short of that in width as well. So it does a magnificent job in shielding our BioDisk and almost turning it into a garden feature but the downside is that the privet hedging needs to be pruned once and twice a year. As the years have gone by and this hedge has got both taller and thicker, then its maintenance has got correspondingly more arduous. Needless to say, I am truly grateful to my son and daughter-in-law performing this task for us as it has become somewhat more difficult as the years have rolled by. The weather forecast is indicating that it may be warmer tomorrow but also wet and windy. I am hopeful that I can manage to get at least the front lawn properly mown tomorrow as we certainly on a weekly schedule from this point of time onwards.

And now a story that journalists and photo-journalists absolutely love and one that politicians of any note are keen to avoid. Rishi Sunak was visiting the Oval to meet participants of Surrey County Cricket Club’s Ace Schools Programme – it provides free training for state school pupils aged nine to 13. In the videoclip, Rishi Sunak is being seen being bowled out middle stump by a schoolboy – the still of this photo will surely go viral and is an absolute gift to the Labour Party. All that is needed is to blow up the still to a poster and then slap a simple message on it such as ‘Out!’ or ‘Bowled Out’ and it will surely capture the zeitgeist of the moment i.e. the popular mood. Certain video clips become iconic and the one in most recent memory was Theresa May at, I think, the Conservative Party conference where the ‘stick on’ letters on a display behind her kept dropping off by one. It just seemed to symbolise a governing party in the process of dissolution and the point was gleefully seized upon by journalists of all political persuasions.

It seems that we may be at an ‘inflection point’ in the Israel/Gaza conflict. After the killing of the seven aid workers, three of them UK nationals the Americans have indicated to the Israelis that they have had enough. They are saying to the Israelis that American support is continent upon new secure supply routes being opened up instantly and, almost immediately, it seems that the Israeli war cabinet have complied and new routes opened up at once. I think that I have read recently that President Reagan stopped the bombing of Hesbollah in Lebanon in a conflict at some time in the past by indicating to the Israelis that no more weapons would be supplied until they complied. Meanwhile, we are in a situation where it appears that the official legal advice given to the UK government that if we continue to supply arms in the face of a potential genocide then the UK is probably in breach of its international obligations. This advice has not been made public (I wonder why?) but it is pretty clear what the advice probably is, supported by a recent call by hundreds of legal professionals in recent days.