Tuesday, 16th November, 2021

[Day 610]

Today was a Pilates day so we needed to make a fairly early start to ensure that we got everything done on time. We collected our newspaper and made our way to the park where we ate our comestibles on one of the ‘lower’ park benches. As we leaving the park, we ran across our acquaintance, the Intrepid Octogenerian Hiker who was just completing his second lap of the park. We knew that he generally put in about 7km doing his regular tours. What we failed to realise was that after coffee and a bite of lunch he started off aagain to get another 3km under his belt (making 10km for the day). We were in plenty of time and we managed to get home with a good ten minutes or so to spare. This just about have me enough time to change into my track suit bottoms, grab my Pilates things and pop some fishcakes to slow-cook in the oven for us whilst I was away. As I was returning from my Pilates session, a van was appraching the house who was the plumber/central heating engineer who had installed our kitchen tap now leaking vigorously even though it was only about 18 months old. After one look at the tap and examining the name of the maker, it was immediately pronounced ‘faulty’ and as it had a five-year warranty on it, there was no problem with it being replaced by a similar unit. After a quick call to his supplier, we were informed that we could have a whole new tap under the warranty which was reasonably good news. It has to be ordered first and then fitted secondly and who pays for the fitting charge is a moot point (the manufacturer, the central heating firm or ourselves) – however, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Normally, I do not comment on TV programmes but today I want to make an exception. Last night, when we consulted our TV schedules, we noticed that there was to be a production of the opera Rigoletto by Verdi, to be performed on Lake Constanz in Austria. What we actually witnessed is hard to describe in a few words but I will try. The set was ‘avant gard‘ in the extreme, with a giant clown’s head the size of house plus a huge hand and cuff to complete the scene. If I were to tell you that the mouth and jaw opened to form one balcony as did the two eye sockets (once eyes had been removed), the nasal cavity and the top of the skull providing additional performance areas. The singers had to be ‘miked up’ and transported from one part of the scenery to another by balloons, aerial wires and good knows what else. The rake of the ‘stage’ was so extreme that some of the circus performers who constituted the chorus would fall off and into the lake with a loud splash. (whether this was by accident or by design I cannot tell) Gilda, the heroine was left stabbed and hanging in a sack over the stage whilst the assassin, Sparafucile’s daughter was attired as a knife-throwers assistant, doubling up as a dominatrix and ‘helped’ in her some of seduction scenes (where she lured victims to their deaths at the hand of her father) by a bevy of ‘helpers’ who had exposed breasts the size of pumpkins – and often more than two as well for good measure. Shall I go on? This spectacle was performed before an audience of 7,000 people at a time with no intervals in the two hour performance. One had to view and listen to this with a type of split brain – one half listening to the music and remembering the plot whilst the other half was looking at the aerial antics of the cast members as they were whisked from place to place (you could see their safety lines at times). Did I mention that some of the circus performances were dressed as chimpanzees! And that the clowns head was eventually transformed into a skull by losing its eyes (I think I may have dozed a bit at this point)

The political scene was amazing today. Boris Johnson announced today that he he was going to suggest a ban on practically all second jobs, particularly those where MPs acted as paid political consultants or lobbyists. This announcement was made at the exact second when Keir Starmer was announcing that the Labour party would legislate for a ban on such jobs. Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley Johnson, has been accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour towards a would-be MP (saying to the prospective MP for Romsey that she would have a magnificent seat whilst slapping her across the bottom) Ant the Yorkshire leg of the HS2 (from the Midlands to Leeds) is now being abandoned, although this was heavily trailed in the Sunday Times on Sunday) One wonders how many marginal constituencies lay along the route, now abandoned.