Thursday, 11th April, 2024

[Day 1487]

Today has been a very interesting, and quite a full day for a variety of reasons. We had a couple of new carers this morning, one male, but everything worked out according to plan so we got Meg up, washed, dressed and breakfasted as part of our normal routine. Yesterday, we had received a text from the outreach organiser inviting us to the inaugural meeting of the activity which the Methodist church in Bromsgrove is going to put on starting a week on Friday so we accepted this invitation with alacrity. This morning, we thought that we would visit the Methodist Centre in Bromsgrove where we have not been for a week or so with Easter intervening but got ourselves installed on the ‘chatty table’ which is a feature of the centre. There we soon got into conversation with a couple of other patrons both of whom we knew slightly by sight. Talking about the roadworks and traffic jams in Bromsgrove is always a good conversation opener, not least because one of the main thoroughfares through the town has just started to display a notice to indicate that work is due to start next Monday and we should expect disruption for at lest the next 26 weeks. In our seventeen years of living in the town, we have never known so many and so disruptive a pattern of roadworks making life one great hassle all day long. We then got onto the conversation of selling houses, having drives ripped up to accommodate new gas mains and eventually the topic of antiques that may have passed through our hands. We had a pleasant chat but eventually, it was time to go because we needed to prepare a fairly early lunch to prepare for the afternoon in front of us. I prepared a vegetarian lunch of a quiche supplemented by a mixture of onions, peppers, petit pois and mushrooms with a good dollop of fruity sauce. All of this was very tasty and I put into my effect my new policy of not giving Meg oversized portions because I calculate that Meg is 70% of my weight and her energy needs are a lot lower so I should not be dishing up equal sized portions any more.

This afternoon, my daughter-in-law had reorganised her work schedule so that she could come and sit with Meg whilst I went off to do the family shop which os a normal activity for a Thursday. When I got to my local Aldi, I thought that the carpark seemed quite unusually empty but at the door of Aldi I was greeted by one of their employees who informed us that the store was closed, Apparently the whole of the street had been affected by a massive power outage which did explain why the traffic lights were not operating. I wonder if Aldi and other businesses have a claim against the utility company in circumstances like this? So I had to turn around and make my way to my normal, and smaller Aldi store where I got everything that I needed. I also indulged Meg in buying her a new pair of pyjamas that will supplement the additional nightdresses that I have also bought in the last few days so that we do not run of nightwear again with things stuck in the wash or the dryer. As soon as we had done done the shopping and got it all unpacked, it was time to go across the road, as it were, to have tea with our newish neighbours. They were kindness personified to Meg and myself and we had a wonderful natter about things Asian and not so Asian as well.They have been away on a cruise quite a lot of the time since they moved in and we do not know them particularly well, until this afternoon. They plied me with a most magnificent red wine from Aldi which I am determined to go and buy and drink in copious quantities.

Tomorrow, we expect to be quite an emotional day. Our treasured domestic help has had to have her Jack Russell of 17 years finally sent to his doggie heaven so I am expecting that we shall have lots of tears and hugs in the morning. After all, pets do become part of the family and 17 years is quite a long time. I do not know if anyone has made this calculation but the amount spent on pets as part of the national economy must be massive.I thought that the British were crazy about their animals but seeing Ukrainians flee their houses at the height of the war with miscellaneous animals around them makes me wonder if the Ukrainians take op first place. I seem to have read somewhere that private equity firms have bought up vets’ practices and are regarding them as massive money makers. From casual conversations that we have had in the park with a variety of dog owners, it seems that hundreds of pounds can easily be spent on a pet and I am sure that some of the private equity firms have cottoned onto the fact that is a magnificent money earner for them. But I must admit that the only two dogs that my family very owned cost about 10s 6d from a pet shop window, the ‘parvo virus’ was not well known and we never had occasion to take our pets to the vets ever in their lives until the end (which in Spanish is called ‘sacrificio’ which has quite a brutal ring about it) A quick internet search reveals that in the UK about £10 billion is spent on dogs each year and £8 billion on cats. To put this figure into context, the government pays around £22 billion to fund the education of each cohort of English-domiciled full-time undergraduate students studying in the UK. So the two aggregate figures (£18 billion on pets, £22 billion on students) are not too far short of each other. They may be comparable if to the ‘cats and dogs’ figures, you add in all of the other pet creatures owned in the UK.