Tuesday, 9th April, 2024

[Day 1485]

Today started off wet and blustery and these conditions persisted for most of the morning. Although we generally look forward to our Tuesday morning ‘get togethers’ in Waitrose, we suspected that today was going to be a little different because we knew that one of our number had a meeting scheduled with a social worker and was going to miss this morning. We thought that the weather might act as a deterrent to another of our regulars and so it proved, so Meg and I had our coffee alone. On leaving the store, I realised I had left my hat behind so I went back to retrieve it. Upon reaching the car, I realised that Meg was no longer holding the loaf we had purchased inside the store so we traipsed back again and one of the really friendly shop assistants retrieved the loaf for us which had been dropped outside the store. Then, as it was not too late, we decided to go back to Droitwich in order to visit the Worcestershire Association of Carers shop which we were in yesterday. When leaving yesterday, I had noticed a rather fine tapestry of a lute player in a rural scene and at a very quick glance I suspect it is an 18th century theme even though it may have been made a century later. I thought that I would make an offer below the asking price if it was still available today and then it was pointed out that the frame was damaged (which I had not noticed yesterday) and it was offered to me at a discount. The volunteer within the store thought that the tapestry might have been an original which, if so, would make it pretty valuable but she thought that the frame was reparable. I left it for the moment but then called in at our local picture framing store here in Bromsgrove to ask their advice. The store actually had in stock some ornate frames more or less in the spirit of the original but not as ornate as the original frame and I asked for a quick quote as to what a re-framing might be. I explained my dilemma to the very knowledgable assistant who encouraged me to ‘Go for it!’ (Well, she would under the circumstances) So I am still rather conflicted. not to say torn, but the factor which is weighing quite heavily is the fact that the theme (a lute player) would actually be quite an enhancement to our Music Lounge as presently constituted. The dilemma is whether to spend money that I had not anticipated but to acquire something which is not only beautiful but probably with a value way in excess of the offer price, even after I have it re-framed. So I am still in the contemplation mode about this one. I have consulted the web and picked up some clues as to how to discern a genuine and handmade tapestry rather than a machine produced version. Eventually, by the late afternoon, I had made up my mind and so Meg and I raced back into Droitwich where we picked up the tapestry at the negotiated reduced price. I then dropped it off at our local picture framers in Bromsgrove who confirmed they could not repair the damaged, ornate gilt frame but they could do a tasteful and suitable replacement. But this will take them a couple of weeks as they indicated how busy they were at the moment. In a fortnight’s time, or a little over, I can contemplate my purchase as a sort of birthday present and I trust that it will maintain its function as adding a touch of class to our Music Lounge. At the picture framers, we did discern that it was produced in Belgian and some internet searches reveals that the theme (lute players, aristocratic ladies dancing and the mandatory Greek temple in the background) was a popular depiction of the Georgian period and used in many Belgian designs. The tapestry, though, looked as though it was machine produced and not an original tapestry (which was unlikely but would have made the potential value of it shoot upwards considerably)

Last night, we received an email from one of Meg’s second cousins (well, the daughter of a cousin) suggesting some dates when the sisters who are second cousins and ourselves might meet for a family meal. This Friday was one possibility but the next alternative was a date in May which happened to be the day before my birthday next month. So I suggested that the date in May might be a good occasion for us to meet up. not least because it would enable me to have a bit of a birthday bash at the same time. We also received the very sad news that after a lot of heartache, our domestic help had decided that it really was time that her beloved Jack Russell, who seemed to be falling apart in ways a bit too graphic to mention, really needed to start a journey to his doggie heaven and our domestic help wanted to share one or two days with her pet before the fateful day. So we now expect to see her on Friday rather than on Wednesday for the most understandable of reasons. Last night, in a slightly restless period before Meg settled down for good, I got onto the internet to buy some items of night attire that I thought were needed as well as some additional aids to help Meg and I to have a better nights sleep.

The enquiry into the Post office is continuing today and the evidence of Mr. Bates, although we know a lot of it already, is going to be revelatory. I could actually watch this all day but one bit of the evidence that I say just before I prepared lunch was the long and revealing letter sent to Ed Davy who was then part of the Conservative–Liberal coalition government and whose short, not to day curt, reply to Mr. Bates was to the effect that he thought that ‘No useful purpose would be served by such a meeting’ In the light of the ensuing scandal, this must surely rank as one of the greatest dereliction of duty by a serving minister although it may be that he was advised in this course of action by his civil servants who want to keep the ‘lid’ on things.