Monday, 27th May, 2024

[Day 1533]

Last night, or rather yesterday evening, was pretty calamitous and one that I would rather forget. Meg had not had a sleep during the day despite my best endeavours to induce her to have a nap after lunch but all of this was to no avail. The carers put her to bed at 7.30pm and then left but Meg failed to settle. I had my newly loaned ‘Z’ bed alongside Meg’s hospital bed but Meg was exceptionally agitated and refused to settle until 10.15 which was two and three quarters of an hour later. I had no particular things that I could do apart from the self-evident to encourage her to sleep and how she kept awake all during the evening having not slept during the day is beyond me. So I was not the happiest of bunnies when the carers called around this morning but at least my new sleeping arrangements meant that the blankets did not fall off me during the night which was a bonus of sorts. This morning, I had the carers use the hoist to put her into her ‘going out’ wheelchair and we ensured that she had ankles well and truly taped to the leg rest uprights before we made a venture out this morning.It was quite a bright and sunny day and I pushed Meg down the hill without difficulty, making a call into Waitrose in order to pick up a copy of my daily newspaper. Then we made our way to a bench in the park where we consumed our coffee and had some biscuits although Meg opined that she did not want to make a journey to the park again. I suspect this is because there are sections of pavements that are rather rough and jolting and I have to hunt out the smoother pieces of tarmac where ever I can which is not always easy. As we were just about to leave the park, we bumped into one of my Pilates class mates who said I was being missed at our regular sessions held each Tuesday. We had a pleasant chat for a few minutes and after she had gone on her way, we encountered a couple more park acquaintances whom we recognised from the days when we used to walk down to the park on a daily basis and I needed to explain how Meg’s deteriorating condition meant that she now had to be pushed to the park in a wheelchair as even getting her into a car was no longer possible. Once we got up the hill and into our home, we thought we would catch up on the last episode of the ‘Pilgrimage’ programme which as following a group of individuals of diverse faiths and callings on an ancient pilgrimage path that wends its way through North Wales with the eventual destination of Bardsey island. En route the group visits many ancient churches and shrines typically devoted to Celtic saints and each member of the group, whatever their original faith (or none) seems to find the whole experience of pilgrimage rewarding. As well as being quite interesting to see how the various group members react to their pilgrimage experience, some of the views across the North Wales countryside are stunning.

The recently announced Tory ‘big idea’ to introduce a form of National Service were they to win the next election is coming under detailed scrutiny, I am pleased to see. One ex-Army chief has already denounced the whole venture as ‘barmy’ and some of the interviews that I have heard this morning are excruciating. For example, one minister was asked where the new recruits were going to be housed given that existing members of the armed services are in the most atrocious accommodation subject recently to a very adverse report about which the government have done nothing. Other questions that have been raised are concerned with the fate of youngsters who are already themselves the carers of other members of their families. Will they be made to abandon their existing role of carer in order to fulfil the new requirement to be part of the new government scheme under the risk of sanctions if they fail to comply? Upon close questioning, it is evident that the details of the scheme have not been thought through at all and the whole idea seems to have been thought up on the back of the proverbial envelope with no detailed thought as to planning, implementation or costings. One Tory vice chairman questioned closely on this and argued that the whole scheme was part of the ‘levelling up’ process which meant that this would supply the necessary funding, thus taking it away from the other communities for which the levelling up funding was intended.

I am personally looking forward to the end of the Bank Holiday as I have all sorts of things that are hanging in the air until the Bank Holiday is over.But one of the madder things to happen on this particular Bank Holiday is the annual cheese-rolling event in which competitors hurl themselves to roll down a steep sided, 180 metre, hill in Gloucestershire. This year the police are worried that there might be mass casualties and certainly last year there were a series of accidents in which some of the participants had to be stretchered away from the event. Of course all of this is in the name of tradition and one wonders whether the police have the powers to prevent people doing silly things, particularly if it is ‘traditional’. But we have other ‘traditional’ events not least in the form of fox-hunting which, in theory, is banned but in which many of the major hunts seem to have found their way around the law. I think I am right in saying that a hunt can pursue a fox if they happen to encounter one by accident whilst out on their traditional meets. I was quite shocked to learn a few years that some hunts even made sure that they had an adequate supply of foxes. One report from as far as 2002 claimed that hunts across the country were breeding foxes in specially made dens to ensure an adequate supply of the animals, undermining claims that they are killed only in the name of pest control. In the great fox hunting debate, it is a little known fact that many in the country people were themselves quite opposed to the hunt, particularly when they smashed down their fences and gates and otherwise made a mess of their land, even though the so-called ‘hunt servants’ were meant to come around and repair the damage in the days afterwards.