Saturday, 29th June, 2024

[Day 1566]

The day dawned bright and clear but the carers were a little delayed this morning which meant that we had to get breakfast over in a bit of a rush before we started our journey down into Waitrose where we met up with our normal ‘gang’ of three old ladies making five of us altogether. Rather cheekily, I asked one of the three who I know is a fairly keen gardener if she had any mint growing in her garden and could she possible let me a small root of it. Although mint is meant to grow absolutely prolifically, it never seems to do so in my garden so I was hopeful that if I had a root of mint it would spread. Our friend not only brought me quite a large root of mint in a pot but she also made a present (to all three of us) of some strawberries grown in her garden as she did last year. These gifts were gratefully received and we will certainly have the strawberries for our tea this evening.

I was up a bit in the middle of the night and engaged in a couple of things that I would not really have time to do during the day. The first thing was to update my ‘potteries-and-chairs’ website which has photographs of our furniture acquisitions that we have used to populate our Music lounge. This needed some images adding to it and some editing of the content but at the end of the day I have a gallery of the eleven pieces of furniture we have bought and restored over the past few months. I also have a brief description of the ‘provenance’ of each piece so that I am reminded from whence it was bought and some details of its history, if I know it. So this website is now complete as is the complement of furniture to which it relates. The second thing that I did during the night was to do a quick internet search to see who has responsibility for the maintenance of footpaths throughout the borough. I then ascertained the name of our local councillor and wrote him an email complaining that I needed to push Meg in her wheelchair down the roadway of a local road where there is no pavement but which road is heavily populated with traffic as it is a ‘de facto’ ring road. I requested that the local authority take some action to remedy the danger to myself, not to mention other motorists, when they are faced with the obstruction of a wheelchair being pushed down the road. To my amazement, I got a very sympathetic and almost immediate response to my email, sympathising with my current difficulties. But despite what I have read on the internet, I was informed that both the pavements as well as the roadways are the responsibility of the County Council and therefore of the County Counsellor who would be away for the next two weeks. Nonetheless, my email was being forwarded on to her and I shall be fascinated to see what action, if any, will be taken. I have a fair idea that I already know the answer. Because no pavement was provided some twenty years ago when the houses were built, then the only solution would be to narrow the road (which is not going to happen) or to take a slice off the front of other people’s gardens (which is also not going to happen). So my best guess is that the County highways engineering staff may make an on-site assessment and will conclude that there is nothing that we can do and we have to grin and bear it. But, on the other hand, if a disabled person is pushed down the centre of a busy highway because the local authority cannot or has not provided a pavement, will they be liable for massive damages in the event of a subsequent accident or injury? I have no great hopes in this direction but it is still quite a fascinating exercise to see what excuses the county council will provide to excuse their own deficiencies. But the county counsellor involved also has responsibility for ‘welfare issues’ as well as being a cabinet member, so i wonder what will emerge (but I am not holding my breath)

Once we had returned from our trip out this morning, I contemplated what should be prepared to accompany the quiche I had scheduled for our lunch today. In the end, I boiled a large potato cut into small pieces and then made a salad which turned out to be quite a wise choice given that I did not really want to have a cooked meal today. After we had our lunch and done the washing up, I took Meg outside and I busied myself planting out the root of mint which our friend had so kindly donated to me. I am resolved to water it daily until it establishes itself- to encourage it to get established, I cut the shrub down to two thirds of its original size and hope that this and a bit of TLC will suffice to get it going.

After lunch today, Meg and I listened to ‘Any Questions‘ and its companion programme ‘Any Answers‘ on BBC Radio4 and, of course, this is the last edition before voting day next Thursday. There seemed to be a view shared by the audience members and also by many of the panellists that a six weeks election campaign was too long given that in the past, we have managed a General Election quite happily after a three week campaign. But this time around , there still seem a very large number of undecideds who do not feel inclined to vote for either of the two major political parties. I think that the proportion intending to vote for the two large parties is at an all time low and of I had to make some predictions for next Thursday, it would be that turnout will be down (on there might seem to be little point in voting if the outcome already seems clear) and/or that the smaller parties like the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Reform might receive more votes than they anticipated at the start of the campaign.