Wednesday, 14th April, 2021

[Day 394]

Wednesday is always a day when we are running a little hard to catch up with ourselves because it is the day when we have to refine our Waitrose order, ready for delivery the following day. Upon my son’s instigation, though, we decided to see if we could book a special excursion on the Severn Valley Railway in one month’s time on the occasion of my birthday on Tuesday, May 11th. The arrangement is that you can book a carriage which can contain four people. So my son can take a day off work and make up a party of four which will include the three Hart family members and also include our University of Birmingham friend who has also been looking forward, we know, to a trip on the railway. Basically we start off at Kidderminster and make our way through five interesting stations before arriving at Bridgnorth, where they have a pub with lots of real ale at the very end of the platform. So we are all looking forward to this trip immensely – even if the weather is bad, we are under cover for a lot of the time. Also, as a bonus, because of my son’s membership of the SVR, we managed to secure quite a substantial discount for our day’s excursion. So our walk to the park was a little delayed, as is typical on a Wednesday even without the railway booking. On our way down we were stopped and engaged in a conversation with an acquaintance which eventually led to a discussion of military matters and why firearms that are ‘rifled’ are more accurate. The process of ‘rifling’ means that a system of helical grooves are incorporated into the body of the rifle which makes any bullet basically spin. This spinning motion effectively neutralises any slight variation in the weight of a bullet (and there is no longer a ‘light’ side or a ‘heavy’ side) and makes it more accurate both in flight and the ability to reach an intended target. Actually, for someone who is totally ignorant about all things military, I knew all of the facts that our acquaintance was trying to convey but I couldn’t say how and where I acquired this esoteric knowledge. Eventually, when we got to the park we could see at a glance that all of our more normal benches were occupied so we had to make do with a seat by the side of the pond/lake so we ate our comestibles without any chats with anyone. The weather was starting to look a little threatening and it had clouded over quite markedly – however, by the time we got home the weather had brightened again and it looked as though we were set for for a fine afternoon.

After lunch, I started another bottling process and in this case, cooking oil. We buy our cooking oil in 5-litre containers and buy a rapeseed oil which is half the saturated fat of Olive Oil, rich in Omega 3, 6, 9 and Vitamin E. This has the advantage that I never run out off cooking oil when I need it as I generally have a stock of about a dozen bottles in stock. Also our domestic help (and her husband) loves this oil to cook with as it has a much superior ‘fry’ temperature to other oils and quite a delightful nutty flavour. In addition, we are cutting down on food miles and utilising an ‘almost’ local product.

In the late afternoon, we had a visit from our local chiropodist who provides a domiciliary service for Meg and myself. We tend to have our hooves ‘done’ about every 4-5 weeks or so and this keeps us mobile. As the weather was so fine this afternoon, we decided to sit on our bench at the front of the house as it was a beautiful spring afternoon – this proved to be so pleasant that we might chose to have our feet done like this for the rest of the summer.

The political news this afternoon is quite interesting. In the House of Commons, Boris Johnson has successfully beat off a challenge from the Labour Party to establish a special Commons committee to investigate what is being called ‘Tory sleaze’ i.e. David Cameron, the ex Tory PM attempting to get a commercial firm with which he was associated to be awarded some privileges by the Treasury. If successful, David Cameron would have made a great deal of money – but instead the firm involved, Greensill Capital, has collapsed. However, a very powerful and influential Commons Select Committee, the Treasury Select Committee, has decided to investigate the whole of this affair formally and they would have the power to call whatever witnesses they required which would include both David Cameron (ex-PM) and Rishi Sunak, present Chancellor off the Exchequer, whose hands do not seem to be entirely clean in this affair. We shall have to sit and see!