Saturday, 8th June, 2024

[Day 1545]

This morning we had in mind to make our usual journey down the hill to see our friends in the Waitrose cafeteria and were relieved that the weather app on my phone informed us that the rather drizzly start to the day would clear up shortly after 9.00am in the morning. I have put into place a new little system to help with Meg’s ablutions first thing every morning, now that Meg’s hospital bed is relocated downstairs. Rather than carrying bowls of warm soapy water along corridors which was almost an accident waiting to happen, I scoured the web and purchased two ‘mini’ i.e. miniaturised little buckets which fulfil their intended function absolutely admirably. These mean that I can carry hot water, soap and sponges easily from downstairs ground floor toilet to ‘bed-room’ easily and transport them back again. I had previously looked up my records and discovered that today was indeed the sixth anniversary to the date when I had my colon cancer operation. With a certain amount of glee, I recounted the story that the (Asian) surgeon earnestly asked me if I had any questions about the forthcoming operation. I replied to the effect that I only had one question which ran along the lines that when the operation was completed and he was holding my body in his one hand and the diseased and excised portion of bowel in the other, could he ensure that he threw away the right bit! This was not the appropriate time for a burst of black humour and the surgeon professed that he had no idea what I was talking about so I abandoned the idea of any further questions. We spent about an hour in Waitrose with our friends, including our University of Birmingham friend who had joined us and, as always, they are very kindly when Meg feels a little wobbly. We did some shopping for things that only Waitrose sells and then made for home. I had not checked the exact time that the mid-day carers were due to call and we arrived home some five minutes late. However, and fortunately, the carers were themselves running a few minutes late themselves so we had actually arrived home before them. As Meg was feeling a little chilled upon our return, I regaled her (and myself) with some chicken soup which we find is a good restorative (as indeed, used to be a staple of Jewish households). The web revealed to me the information that chicken soup with matzo balls, affectionately known as Jewish penicillin or ‘matzo ball soup’ for short, is a traditional Jewish comfort food. It is traditionally served on Passover, along with other classics like brisket and matzo crack, but Jewish mothers and grandmothers think of it as a year-round cure-all for everything from colds to more serious ailments.

One wonders how long the Rishi Sunak mistake in leaving the D-Day celebrations before the international part of the celebrations began is going to rumble on. I tuned into the BBC debate between seven party leaders last night which was a rumbustious shouting match in the main between Penny Mordant for the Conservatives and Angela Raynor for the Labour party. The audience as a whole and no doubt many viewers wondered what kind of comment Penny Mordant would make as she represents a very military constituency (Portsmouth North) and had herself been a rival for the leadership in the most recent Tory party leadership battles as a result of which Rishi Sunak was elected. Penny Mordant pulled no punches, declaring that Sunak had been ‘completely wrong’ and indeed ‘very wrong’ and probably made no friends amongst the Tory High Command. But, of course, she is one of the front runners for any leadership race once Rishi Sunak is defeated and is fighting hard to retain her seat in Portsmouth North so probably felt she had to completely condemn her own leader. She then went on to tear into Angela Raynor with well-rehearsed and prepared attack lines but Angela Raynor was relatively muted in her response, probably not wanting to grant any hostages to fortune. It is very rare that I agree with anything that Nigel Farage, the new leader of Reform has to say for himself but his contribution last night hit the point home. He said it was a ‘complete and utter disgrace’ from an ‘unpatriotic’ Prime Minister, adding: ‘If his instinct was the same as the British people, he would never have contemplated for a moment not being there for the big international celebration and it shows how disconnected he is with the people of this country.’ We will have to see if this story will run and run and what the Sunday newspapers make of this enormous election gaffe.

There is quite a dramatic human interest story developing this afternoon. The celebrated TV doctor and author, Dr. Michael Mosley who has written seemingly scores of diet books has gone missing on a small Greek island. He was apparently going to walk a few kilometres home to where he was holidaying with his wife but failed to arrive at the anticipated time. Some of the early part of his journey home seems to have caught on CCTV but after that he has vanished without trace. The Greek authorities have been searching for him for a couple of days now but evidently without success. The weather has been very hot and there is a theory that he could have succumbed to a heatstroke. On the day that he disappeared, the temperatures might have been approaching 40 degrees and the search dogs themselves can only work for an hour at a time. In addition, we know from his many writings that he is a diabetic which may or may not have been insulin controlled but although this has not been mentioned in the TV despatches, this must be a factor that cannot be ruled out in his disappearance. A statement by Dr Clare Bailey Mosley came as the couple’s four children arrived on the Greek island of Symi and the focus of the extensive search for the broadcaster shifted to a snake-infested mountainous area after CCTV footage emerged of his last known movements. There is a certain dramatic irony in the disappearance of this very well known character – I have several of his books on my bookshelves and the 18:6 approach to dieting has been followed by many (including myself, for brief periods) Is it possible that this well known author, advocating the sensible diet to follow to help to sustain a long and healthy life has indeed lost his own life at quite an early age?