Saturday, 6th July, 2024

[Day 1573]

Today we started off our day somewhat earlier than intended as the carers were scheduled half an hour later than is normal. But we got ourselves up and breakfasted and then started to look forward to the day ahead. On Saturdays, we normally meet up with some of our ‘granny gang’ of friends in Waitrose but the weather seemed rather gloomy and miserable. Nonetheless, we wrapped ourself up in waterproofs and prepared to make our our journey down the hill in a slight drizzle. Just as we were preparing to go, we received a telephone call from one of the parishioners with whom we often had a chat when we used to attend the evening service each Saturday evening. This is now beyond us but we were delighted to get the news from our friend who hails from the North East and whose Geordie accent serves to remind me that my mother went to a teacher training college in Newcastle upon Tyne where I visited her in my half term breaks from boarding school in Bolton in Lancashire. Shortly after our first telephone call, I received another from our friends down the road who had very kindly baked me a cottage pie. This will go in the oven tomorrow and will give us at least two servings of meals so was a wonderfully kind gesture. We made contact with two of our friends in the Waitrose cafeteria who, like ourselves, had braved the rain although it was quite tolerable on the way down. Whilst in the cafe, we also received a telephone call from some of the friends from our sojourn in Winchester and this was wonderful to receive. But there was a slight problem in that when I was chatting excitedly with my friend, the conversation could be heard by others in the cafe and I was informed by another patron, politely, that I should keep the phone close to my face so that the rest of the cafe were not forced to listen to our conversation. I was a little mortified by this experience as I, too, do not like to overhear telephone conversations either whilst I am on a train or, for that matter, in a cafe. So I made the hurried excuse to my friend making the call that I had to go and then apologised to my fellow coffee drinker explaining that I was receiving rather than initiating a call. However, one learns by experience and in future, unless the telephone call is short and vital, I will not any longer accept calls in the cafe. And so we prepared to make our way home, starting off a little late as we had been delayed by the phone call but half way back, the heavens opened and we both got absolutely drenched in an intense shower. I was glad that I had taken the precautions of us both getting clad in waterproof outer clothing but nonetheless when we arrived home, we were both pretty wet. Fortunately, the two carers for Meg helped her to change not only her outer clothing but also her underwear which the rain had penetrated and I needed to go and change into another pair of trousers. Nonetheless, I warmed Meg up with some tomato soup in a cup and then started to prepare the lunch. This was an altogether thrown together affair but turned out to be quite a delicious meal. We had some remains of stir fry vegetables plus remnants of spaghetti plus some remains of a tin of Irish stew which Meg and I had for dinner last night. Then I parboiled one large potato and one large onion, cut into small squares and then finished off with some olive oil and a blast of brown sauce. I do not know what you would call a mixture like this but it provided us with a very tasty meal, appropriate for a wet Saturday afternoon. After lunch, our friend popped around with the cottage pie that we had been promised and this was gratefully received. Our friends could not stop long as they were on their way out but it is always nice to receive a visit like this.

Whenever a new government is formed, the first job of the new Prime Minister is to form a cabinet. On this occasion, there were no real surprises and practically everyone slotted into the ministries that they had shadowed whilst in opposition. Today, the new Cabinet is due to meet for the first time and I am sure that it will be an educating experience for them all. I have often imagined that were I to be a newly elected Prime Minister in a Labour government, my very first act would be to inform the Cabinet that they had just been elected upon the rejection of the polls of a most sleaze and scandal-ridden government and therefore if there was the slightest whiff of scandal surrounding any of them, the new Prime Minister would not defend them whatsoever and they would be out of office before their feet could touch the ground. Now it appears that Keir Starmer had said just that or something very similar informing the cabinet they were elected to ‘serve and not to be self-serving’ which sounds like a slogan but no doubt is repeated often these days. There is a phrase attributed to New York Governor, Mario Cuomo, that one needs to ‘Campaign in poetry, govern in prose’ and many of the political commentators are eagerly awaiting he first pronouncements of the Prime Minister to see if he is making the successful transition from a campaigning politician to the new role of a Prime Minister. So far, I must say that all of Keir Starmer’s announcements seem absolutely ‘on the ball’. He announced that as Prime Minister of the four nations, he would be visiting each in the next few days before going off to a NATO meeting to be held in the US. Then he said that he would convene a meeting of all of the regional mayors, irrespective of political orientation, to work out how he could support them to regenerate their regions. He also made the point that he was not a tribal politician and intended to govern for the whole nation which you would expect all new Prime Ministers to say but might actually be carried into action in the new administration.