Tuesday, 24th August, 2021

[Day 526]

Today is my Pilates day so we have to organise things a little differently to ensure that we do have a very rushed late morning. We were helped in this respect because we had an appointment for a joint GP appointment for both Meg and myself – the telephone consultation was due to start some time between 8.40 and 8.50 and we did get a telephone call in the middle of this time slot. Meg and I had quite a lot to discuss – in Mike’s case it was a more formal advice session after the investigations that were performed on me about three weeks ago whilst in Meg’s case, she has not had any ‘routine’ doctoring for about a year and a half now and almost inevitably for people in their 70’s there are some issues that need discussion with a doctor. We felt that we had a pretty good discussion with the GP and we are both having some extra blood tests ordered for us. However, the news was generally good, or at least reassuring from the GP, so we were left with the feeling that we had both had quite a satisfactory consultation.

We started walking down to town about half-an-hour earlier than we had thought and ran across our Italian friend who lives down the road. She had just finished mowing her lawn but had had the misfortune that has happened to all of us at one time or another of severing the electric cable. Armed with a knife, a pair of scissors and some white tape, I managed to splice the two ends together to effect a repair. As a teenager, I seemed to be forever splicing together sections of cable if only to extend a length of flex in the days before extension flexes were readily available.We checked that the repair was working OK and then resolved that we would have a nice Italian meal together as soon as circumstances allow. Then we progressed on our way but I left Meg in the park whilst I went off to collect our newspapers. In the shop, I was waiting to be served and, perhaps for the first time started to observe the kinds of comestibles that the shop sold. In a display rack in front of me, there were some different kinds of biscuits and as we had run out of chocolate digestives, I went ahead and bought a packet. This reminded me of the period when Meg and I were university students and in the long vacation in 1966 we were working in adjacent factories. Mike was working in a cardboard box factory with the most casual of recruitment policies – I just presented myself to their personnel department and said ‘I am a mate of Jimmy _____’ and that was enough to land me the job. In the meanwhile, Meg was working in the McVities biscuit factory as part of an ‘industrial’ placement that all social administration students at that stage were obliged to undertake. Meg worked on the line that produced ‘home wheat’ and also ‘chocolate covered digestives’ . On that line, there was also a bevy of youngish female workers who had their eyes set upon one object of desire, who they would have dearly loved to have married, namely a ‘chocolate man’ The task of handling large vats of steaming hot chocolate was judged to be work only suitable for a male worker and hence a ‘chocolate man’ The girls on the production line often indicated what they would do if one of the objects of their desire actually cast an eye in their direction and they would chatter what they would do if they got their hands on one. The crowing epithet belonged to the girl who exclaimed ‘if I got myself a chocolate man, I would lick him all over until there was none of him left‘ to which I think any riposte has got to be superfluous.

So I joined Meg and in the park and then we made our way home and I prepared most of the lunch so that I could quickly get it heated and served once I got home. Meg was able to look at the opening ceremony which was being broadcast for the Paralympics whilst I was at Pilates – once home, we did a quick turn around before we had a Skype session which had been arranged for one of our Hampshire friends. These calls are always very interesting and entertaining – our friend was faced with the problems of an incipient planning enquiry which we also experienced when we lived in Hampshire and were faced with a firm who wanted to drill for oil underneath our local primary school. After this call had ended, we had a five minute break for a tea break before we FaceTimed some of our oldest Waitrose friends. Although we FaceTime at the same time each week, we always seem to have a lot to say to each other, particularly as there seems to be an intensification of social life as the summer progresses and the pandemic is slowly unwinding.