Monday, 27th September, 2021

[Day 560]

As the weather forecasters had predicted, we had a tremendously fierce rain storm at about 7.30 which appeared to wash a lot of dust from our cars – after this, the clouds seem to skud away and we had quite a pleasant morning and an even more pleasant afternoon. With one thing or another (like getting up a little late), we decided to go into town by car because we needed to do a little shopping in Waitrose. There we met one of our former Waitrose friends that we often meet in the park anyway and we enjoyed having a chat with her whilst I went and purchased a few provisions to keep us going until our next shopping day next Thursday. As we left for home, I decided to make a slight detour to visit the petrol station where I normally buy fuel but this forecourt was closed, not having had any fuel since Friday. We circulated near to our local Morrison’s store but there we could see the queues of cars queueing out of the garage, down the slip road and in danger of clogging up a local roundabout. Without counting, I would estimate a queue of about fifty cars. Whilst we were on the road, I decided to visit an independent garage/petrol retailer in a little village some 4 miles distant. Here there was only a queue of about 7 cars and we managed to top up the car again following our return journey from Wales. As we left the garage, I counted a queue of some 37 cars so I wonder if the local ‘social media’ had gone mad with news of locally available fuel. Later on this evening, there was an item on the local news that this independent retailer employed its own HGV drivers and had increased its deliveries from three a week to two a day. As an experiment, they had stayed open late on Saturday evening to give priority to NHS workers and may repeat this policy if necessary. Even so, on occasions, they had a queue of up to ¼ mile which, as they are situated just on a bend in the main Kidderminster Road, means that they have needed to have some careful marshalling to keep the cars queueing for petrol apart from the normal road users (not always an easy job).

After lunch, as it looked as though the weather was set fair, then it was an ideal oppportunity to get our lawns cut. Normally this takes about an hour and a quarter and I thought I had heard that the heavans might open again at about 4.0pm in the afternoon, so it was a question of seizing the moment whilst I could. The sun shone benevolently on me as I mowed the front lawn and I had just about finished it when my next door neighbour popped round for a chat. It was the first time I had seen him since the demise of his beloved litle dog who had reached the end of her days but we had quite a long chat with the subject often reverting to late 1950’s/early 1960’s popular songs of which our neighbour has a huge collection (and the juke boxes to play them on).

The German election results are really very interesting. It look as the SPD (equivalent of the Labour Party) and their natural coalition partners, The Greens, should take about 40.5% of the vote. Meanwhile the CDU (Conservative party) and their natural allies, the Free Democrats are taking about 35.6% of the vote. So to form a government either the SPD (most likely) or the CDU (less likely) have got to convince the leaders of the two next largest parties to enter a coalition with them.The difficulty is that the Greens and the FDP (Free Democrats) are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. So a coalition might take weeks or even months to undertake. According to the German constitution, Angela Merkel remains Chancellor until a new coalition is in place and the new leader confirmed.

In 2015, at the height of the migration crisis, Angela Merkel invited a large number of migrants to come and settle in Germany – estimates vary betweem ¾ million and 1 million. Many at the time thought that Merkel was signing her own political death warrant but within a year or so her popularity had bounced back to pre-migration levels. Her political slogan at the time was ‘We will manage‘ which was largely vindicated but there has been an increase in right wing parties and right wing violence direct against the immigrnt population. But the differences with British political culure remain stark. For a start, Angela Merkel gained a doctorate in quantum chemistry but lived in a squat after qualification as she was so short of money. Contrast that with the gilded and priveliged background of Boris Johnson whose occupational credentials as a journalist are often questioned. The Daily Telegraph eventually sacked him when they discovered that many of the articles displaying the European Union in a negative light were actually just made up – but the damage was done by then.