Monday, 10th June, 2024

[Day 1547]

Today dawned bright but as we (rightly) suspected cold so this altered our plans somewhat. After our experiences of yesterday when we had been to the park and Meg got a little cold, we decided to take extra precautions this morning. So accordingly, I made sure that Meg wore an outsize pair of my socks over her own to keep her feet and legs warm and put on an extra gilet to keep her a little warmer. I texted our Italian friend down the road to tell her that I intended to push Meg just as far as her house and then to turn back so that Meg could get some fresh air but not get too chilled. Our friend texted us to the effect that she was going to be out this morning but this strategy of ours worked out quite well because we had a bit of a constitutional without placing two much stress on either of us. Then it was a case of returning home and I experimented by making a beef and tomato soup (packet of tomato soup but enhanced by a spoonful of Bovril) and this was quite a nice change for us as well. Naturally, ever since yesterday, we have been reflecting upon the very sad demise of the celebrated TV doctor, Dr. Michael Mosley. The newspapers are reporting the news that he may well have died within fifty metres of the relative safety of the community where they were on holiday. If this report is substantially correct, then it makes his death even harder to bear for the many of us who feel very diminished by his death. I have several of his books adorning my bookcases and the very sight of them is evoking immense sadness when I think about the way that he lost his life. I wonder, though, how a man such as him could have not with them a tracking watch or even a mobile phone, the simplest of which would almost certainly have saved his life. This, of course, we shall never know. There is another item of news upon which I have been reflecting since yesterday. Several of the letters in yesterday’s ‘Sunday Times’ comment upon the fact that Rishi Sunak’s premature departure from the D-Day celebrations was one of the greatest political gaffes within recent political history. The letter writers made the point that there was perhaps a latent anti-Europeanism at work running through this episode in that Rishi Sunak had attended events which had a sole focus on the British veterans but then decided to absent himself from any events with a more international flavour.

Later on this morning, I had a call from the partner of one’s Meg’s carers who did quite a lot of gardening work for people in our situation. Although the lawns have been cut on a regular basis each week, the rest of the garden has been sadly neglected and is getting quite overgrown. So I was very pleased to see this gardener who surveyed what had to be done and thought, that with another helper, he could do a real blitz on the garden and restore a semblance of order after a day’s intensive work. When he called around, fortunately Meg was being attended to by some of her carers in the middle of the day so we were able to survey the garden and work out a system of priorities. It is possible that we might be able to have the work done some time next week which suits us absolutely fine and all I need to organise is evidently some cash in hand which is required for jobs of this nature. I knew that at one stage the garden problem needed to be faced so Meg’s carer who recommended her partner actually did us a tremendously good turn. Once we get the garden turned around, I think I need to work out how to have a regular gardener once again rather than a blitz merchant although this is evidently necessary from time to time. When Meg and I were renting a property in Hampshire in between the sale of our house in Leicestershire and the purchase of another in Hampshire, the fairly up market estate agents always ensured that the gardens of the houses on their books were kept in good condition. One can understand the reasons for this and evidently the ‘true’ cost is hidden within the overall rent but it meant that the house we were renting in Hampshire had a beautifully maintained garden when it was first viewed. To cut a long story short, once we moved into our permanent home, we employed one of the estate agent gardeners and his brother and between them they came around about twice a year and really transformed the garden. They deployed a lot of forest bark around the shrubs once they had done the basic pruning and weeding and I remember the astonishment with which I greeted the sight of a transformed and radically neatened garden when we first employed them and I returned home from work to witness the results.

This week is the week in which the various manifestos are being launched. We are starting off today with the launch of the Liberal Democrats manifesto which struck a very different tone to the usual debates about tax and spend. The Liberals used their leader, Sir Ed Davey, to highlight the plight of carers and to promise that all social care should be fully tax payer funded. Ed Davey spoke poignantly about the way he needed to care for his mother in her declining years when he was himself only a boy and now he is faced with similar problems caring for a disabled son. But the Lib Dem slogan is ‘Save the NHS’ because the problem of inadequate social care is causing a huge backwash through the NHS as not being able to discharge patients and has created a huge blockage in the system. One is reminded of the fact that both political parties have been promising to reform social care for seemingly a decade or so now but the costs are so enormous that the problem is constantly being kicked into the long grass as they say. Although the Liberals will not in power after the next election, it could be that if a goodly number of them replace Conservatives in the next House of Commons then there might be the change in political climate for this particular nettle to be grasped.