Tuesday, 7th May, 2024

[Day 1513]

So another day dawns and one wonders what today is going to bring. Tuesday mornings are generally devoted to a visit to our Waitrose friends followed by a visit to my Pilates class, but today I felt that the pattern needed to change. After the carers had seen to Meg and she was downstairs and breakfasted, I brought our wheelchair in from the car and we located Meg into it. Then it was just a case of getting some outdoor clothes on Meg and wheeling her down the hill. Today was a beautiful day and it was a fairly easy task to wheel Meg down the hill. Although there are a variety of ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ the journey is generally downhill so the wheelchair rather takes care of itself on the journey down. On the other hand, one has to have a careful watch for dropped kerbs and so navigation has to be done with a certain amount of care. But we were delighted to get to the store just after 10.30 and were delighted to meet up with our three friends as is normal. I felt somewhat tired after the journey down and wondered what the journey up the hill afterwards was going to be like. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our coffee and cake and I reminded some of the long serving staff that Saturday was going to be the seventh anniversary of the opening of the store. Mid way through our coffee, our Irish friend from down the Kidderminster Road called by with a birthday card which was very sweet of her to remember just before she shot off to Ireland with her husband. Now that we came to the journey home but, paradoxically, and perhaps fortified with some good coffee and cake, the journey back was fairly straightforward even though much of it was uphill. I was helped in this because the immediate start of the journey was quite steep (when I was refreshed) followed by a longish gently sloping downhill section towards the park at which point the journey was approximately one third over and the remainder easier to contemplate. Whilst we were having a coffee, I received a phone call from one the ReAblement team physiotherapist who said she was going to call around in the afternoon which was like music to my ears. The care arrangements for today included a young carer who we know well getting to the house so that, in theory, I could go off to my Pilates session. But I had already decided not to go which was just as well so that I could be at home when the physiotherapist called around. So the carer, Meg and I watched a little bit of a concert before I cooked our fishcakes and microwaved vegetables meal. When this over, the carer and I got Meg onto our settee (something I could not have done on my own) and then we encouraged Meg to have her after dinner nap. After about half an hour or so, the physio turned up and she seemed very good at appraising the situation quickly and accurately. When she saw Meg and I getting Meg onto her feet and attempting to load her into the transit chair, she had seen enough to make an assessment and immediately came to the view that a piece of equipment called a Sara Stedy was called for. Both Meg and I are familiar with this piece of kit because it was used extensively in the hospital during Meg’s recent stay and I suspected that something like this might be called for. So the physio made an instant request to the departmental store and I received a telephone call within the hour which indicated that a Sara Stedy would be delivered tomorrow afternoon. It may well that both Meg and myself as well as any carers need some training in the use of this equipment but I am pretty sure this will follow. She was also going to make a recommendation to Social Services that the number of visits per day should be increased form three to four and, under the circumstances, I really feel that we are now at that stage. So to summarise the situation, Meg’s strength has declined by a fair amount in the last week or so but we are getting some extra care and support, including physical equipment, to help us cope with the situation. After our carer had left, we ensured that Meg was comfortable before we left and we then entertained ourselves with three programmes. One of these was a dip into the Post Office Enquiry where a senior executive when presented with evidence of a possible cover up suddenly had a bout of selective amnesia. Whenever the lawyer posts up an incriminating email and asks evidence concerning it, the (vague) response was nearly always along the lies of ‘I cannot remember .. I did not appreciate at the time.. It was someone else’s responsibility ..’ or other irrelevancies meant to disguise the fact that they wished to avoid all responsibilities.

And now for something completely different. In the middle of the night a couple of nights ago, I idly followed a link from a ‘Twitter’ feed which led to a fascinating audio clip from a programme made by the renowned mathematician, Hannah Fry. This documented the attempts by a couple of econometric students to study and is possible amplify a very important paper which argued that once debt rose above 90% of GDP, then any attempts to reflate the economy were doomed to failure and the only available option was to follow a policy of austerity to reduce the amount of government debt. This paper was enormously influential in the management of debt in the advanced industrial economists. But the econometric researchers failed to replicate the result of the paper and requested from the author(s) the spreadsheet upon which the argument was constructed. In this spreadsheet, they discovered that there was a fundamental error in the spreadsheet and the data from several important economies was inexplicably excluded and the data from new Zealand which contained a year of really ‘rogue’ data was included. In short, the whole model was fundamentally flawed so the austerity regime to which we were subject and which affected the lives of millions of people was probably unnecessary and was the result of a spreadsheet error which had hitherto had been unexamined and unchecked. Whether this was the whole or only part of the explanation for the austerity regime to which we were subject is probably unknown and unknowable.