Sunday, 2nd June, 2024

[Day 1539]

As it is a Sunday morning, we swing into the appropriate routines. The carers call earlier on a Sunday but today only half and hour compared with the hour earlier which has been the pattern for the last couple of weeks. I texted our University of Birmingham friend and we agreed to meet in the park at about 11.00am and then we set off down the hill, on quite a beautiful day, to get our copy of the Sunday newspaper. Then we made our way to the park and I had taken with me a variety of biscuits, some coffee in a flask and a ‘smoothie’ for Meg. She quite enjoyed the smoothies which I must admit is nicer on a warm day than a flask of coffee. Our friend turned up and we chatted about this and that. Just before we left, we bumped into one of our ‘park friends’ that we used to see almost every day when we were in full COVID mode and walking down to the park every single day. This gentleman has a wonderful looking dog which is actually a cream coloured labradoodle but the log looks incredibly sheeplike (and our friend tried to pass it off as a sheep when he entered one location where dogs were not permitted) Our friend is a natural wit and told me of a story of his youth. He had gone into a chemist and enquired whether or not they sold a potty for babies. The shop assistant said ‘Have you tried Boots?’ whereupon our friend replied that he had but this was not very satisfactory because everything keep leaking through the lace holes. The point of the story was that the shop assistant had no idea what he was talking about and failed to grasp the point. So then, Meg and I started our journey up the hill but we soon stopped outside a friend’s house who was busy in her garden. These church friends have had to remove a row of conifers bordering their property as the roots were effecting the foundations (I always thought that conifers had a ball shaped route and therefore did not threaten foundations in the way that other trees could do) I think it is said that a tree’s roots can extend laterally as much distance as the tree is tall but I may be wrong about this. Quite shortly, they were having to have some remedial work done on their house which involved propping up various rooms with steel beams and goodness knows what else. The disruption was going to be tremendous and they were not looking forward to it one little bit but I told them they could always escape and come round and spend an afternoon with us. Then we made our up the hill and started to think about our Sunday lunch. I seared off some skinless chicken thighs and then popped them into the oven with half a jar of a lasagne type white source. Then I baked a potato and prepared some leeks which got parboiled to be put into the oven to accompany the chicken. I also made some onion sauce of which I was pleased to see that I had one or two packets in stock. On Sundays, Meg treat ourselves to the next episode along of ‘Pilgrimage’, the first series centering on Portugal and the second on North Wales. This third series was a journey though the Scottish highlands with the ultimate destination of Iona and the Ionian community there. The ‘pilgrims’ are always selected to have a diverse series of faiths and none – represented in the current series was a Sikh (the cricketer Monty Panesar), a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian, a pagan and I forget the rest. But the interesting thing about this series is that the participants are evidently undertaken a physical journey and for some an emotional and spiritual journey as well. At the end of the pilgrimage, they have all discovered something about themselves and felt the whole pilgrimage was worthwhile.

In the mid afternoon, our son popped round and this is always nice because it helps to divert Meg and to break up the day. But today, what with one thing or another, I have not even had time to glance at the Sunday newspaper headlines as these days, despite my best efforts, I do not seem able to induce Meg to have a nap in the middle of the day as I used to do. For a few weeks, we had a routine that Meg would sit on our little two-seater settee and then I would darken the room and play some ClassicFM quietly in the background and this seemed to do the trick but now it does not seem to work at all. In the election campaign, news is reported this afternoon of a Tory candidate who is being investigated by the police for possible election fraud. Police are reviewing a Conservative candidate’s campaign adverts after receiving allegations of election fraud. Robert Largan, who is fighting to keep his High Peak seat, has published a number of campaign materials in the colours of Labour and Reform UK. His election materials are designed to suggest that the Labour Party is supporting his campaign and of course stealing the colours of a rival party can be seen as problematic. When Andy Street was fighting to be the mayor of the West Midlands, he managed to largely keep ‘Conservative party’ out of his election materials but he was still pipped to the post by the Labour candidate. Investigations by the police in matters such as this rarely amount to anything but it is a sign of the times, and the desperation of some candidates, who know that hey have a very tough fight on their hands. Insofar as we can tell at this stage, the opinion polls if they are moving in any direction, it is in favour of the Labour Party and against the Tories. But the opinion polls do not actually tell us what is happening at the constituency level which is often where the real excitement happens to be.