Tuesday, 16th April, 2024

[Day 1492]

The day started with two of our favourite carers, one hailing from Poland and the other from Peru and, as it happens they are great mates with each other. The carer from Peru told us that in July she was going to visit Peru with her two sons and they were going to visit Machu Picchu which is one of Peru’s best known tourist attractions. The other would have liked to have gone back to Poland for some summer holidays but none were in prospect for her. And speaking for Meg and I, we have not started to think about the viability of summer holidays, just wanting to be on a stable keel for a week or so yet. Tuesdays are our regular Waitrose meeting days and we were delighted to meet up with a couple of old friends. Our conversations are always far ranging and we never quite know where we are going to end up but today’s topic of discourse was ‘Barns I have slept in’ Our veteran hiking friend was evidently used to making a billet in a Youth Hostel but if by any chance it was full or unreachable there were always the local farms. The farmer and his wife would let well behaved hikers spend a night if necessary in one of their barns and the hikers would typically purchase some eggs and milk from the farmer’s wife (who, in the remote areas would have these in abundance) and I dare say that if you were lucky, there might be a small loaf of freshly baked bread available. Whilst we were exchanging these stories, our chorister friend told us of a night she spent in a barn only to discover that a half door into the barn had been left open and their sleep was disturbed by a sheep also wishing to find shelter for the night. Needless to say, there were a lot of impromptu jokes about woolly jumpers and the like. We again had a very jolly hour as we spark each other off and then we all had to go our separate ways. Later on in the morning, I knew that it was my Pilates day and a new carer had been allocated to us who was new to us. She arrived a quarter of an hour late what with SatNav problems and we established quickly that she been in the care business since she left school although she now ran her own beauty salon. I put on a ‘Pilgrimage’ program on the BBC iPlayer thinking that this would help the first hour of the hour and a half session before my return to pass more quickly. When I returned, we got into conversation about walking activities and our carer had just returned from a walk up Snowden which we ourselves have walked on quite a few occasions. My Pilates class was the first that I had attended for about a month now and I felt that my body really needed the stretches which are a part of the Pilates routines. I had seen one of my Pilates class members in the park a couple of days ago so my return to the Pilates fold was anticipated.

The Government bill to establish Rwanda as a ‘safe place’ to which to deport refugees who are claiming asylum is returning from the House of Lords where the battle of ping-pong will continue. In six votes on government moves to throw out Lords amendments to the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, the majorities were 65, 71, 70, 70, 74 and 59. The Bill is now walked down the corridor to the House of Lords who will eventually capitulate as the government seems to be in no mood not to accept a single Lords amendment (which is often the case) Then the bill will receive the Royal Assent, become an Act of Parliament and then even more machinations come into play. The government will have to find a carrier to transport the asylum seekers, many of whom will be dragged screaming and kicking and will have to manhandled into the planes. Whether any of the press will witness any of this is an interesting question – the government will try to ensure that is not done before prying eyes. I even anticipate that a suicide might take place – not that the government will care. Then we shall start with all kinds of legal proceedings both domestically and in front of the International Court of Justice (which has just toughened its stance recently in any case) This will run and run and one shudders to think of the cost per migrant which is horrendously large. The government argues that once refugees are on a flight to Rwanda this will act as a massive deterrent to those wishing to cross the Channel in small boats but this seems like wishful thinking rather than based upon any hard evidence.

I am following the court appearances of Donald Trump with a kind of fascinated horror. Yesterday, Trump passed another milestone which is the first ex-President to be charged in a criminal court, the actual offence here being not to actually pay the porn star with whom he had a dalliance but to attempt to conceal all of this as a legitimate business expense. I keep reminding myself that Al Capone was eventually brought to justice on the subject of tax evasion. What I had not fully appreciated but did with a certain amount of ‘schadenfreude’ (what a wonderful expression in German – ‘malicious delight in another person’s misfortune’) is that Trump is going to appear in court every day for maybe weeks whilst the case is heard. It is also being said that if Trump is convicted, he will not actually be sent to jail but may be forced to do so many hours of ‘community service’ e.g. cleaning the streets, removing graffiti from city walls and the like. Of course, there will be appeals and appeals and there are several other cases along the line. Nonetheless, the face that Trump presented to the world last night was a kind of tired belligerence – one wonders, whether after some weeks of this, the fight might go out of him somewhat.