Last night, Meg and I decided that we would stay up for an hour or so to watch the Election programmes which were being broadcast from 11.00pm onwards. In the event, nothing really dramatic was apparent in the opening hours but we both managed to fall asleep in our chairs and then drag ourselves off to bed at about 2.30 in the morning. Consequently, we have both felt somewhat like ‘death warmed up’ today and, in truth, it would have been better if we had gone to bed at the normal time and listened to results on the radio (and, no doubt, we would have fallen asleep in the middle of this also) This morning, it was the day when our domestic help calls around and so we had our normal chat and a joke or two before we took the car into town. I collected the newspaper, bought a few provisions at Waitrose that I had forgotten about last Thursday and then we made our way to the park. It was quite pleasant although a little cool on our normal park bench and after a little while, we were joined by our University of Birmingham friend to which we had been looking forward as we often ‘touch base’ with each on Friday mornings. Our friend is trying to plan a trip to Spain on his own to improve his Spanish so we spent several happy minutes talking about potential routes, towns, airports and the like. No doubt, we will carry on a bit more tomorrow once we have had the chance to Google a bit more information for ourselves.
Once we eventually made it home, I started cooking what used to be a Friday favourite of ours which was a risotto. Our domestic help is particularly partial to the risottos that I make but I started off putting some smoked haddock into the oven to cook for the prescribed 17 minutes. Then I built up the risotto in stages starting off with clarifying an onion and then gradually adding the chicken stock, a bit of ready mashed potato which is a bit of a cheat but I use it as a thickener. Then, after adding the cooked fish, I finish off with a couple of huge dollops of plain yogurt and some grated cheese. To keep the carb count down, I do not use convetnional rice any more but some of those veg alternatives such as cauliflower rice which cuts the carb quotient dramatically. Once we had this meal inside us (washed down with a smidgeon of Pinot Grigio which all I had left in a bottle) I knew that the lawn mowing beckoned. Accordingly, I got my weary limbs into gear and started the weekly mowing, conscious of the fact that rain is threatening at about 4.00 in the afternoon. I reckoned I had an hour and ten minutes which should have been just about right. I got all of the mowing done in time just before the threatened rain was scheduled to arrive and then parked myself in front of the TV to catch up on the local eletion results. By this stage in the afternoon, the results from Northern Ireland were starting to come through and it looks as though the Irish nationalist party of Sinn Féin may end up having the most seats and largest share of the popular vote. The fascinating question is whether the ‘Democratic’ Unionist Party (DUP) will live up to its name and accept its part in the democratic process, according to the Good Friday agreement, in which the two leading parties can nominate the roles of First Minister and the deputy. I am not going to get into the attempt to understand the labrinthine nature of Irish politics. But it is a case of ‘watch this space’ In Scotland, the Scottish Labour party has more or less got its act together and relegated the Tories to third place whilst the SNP goes onwards and upwards. I have not seen the analysis yet but no doubt the following analysis will be analysed in depth. This is that by the time you have put together the votes of the SMPs, the Liberals and the Greens will there now be a great push to advance the cause of Scottish independence. When the Scots view what the English parliament has got uo to in recent months, no doubt this will give a further impelling twist towards Scottish independence.
Whilst the election results will no doubt be chewed over in the Saturday and Sunday quality press, a thought has occurred that if you put together the Labour votes with the great success of the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, then it might just be possible for there to be an ‘anti-Tory alliance’ at the time of the next General Election. The Irish MP’s (Sinn Féin) do not take up their Westminster seats so there may be a majority of literally one or two for an ‘anti-Tory alliance’ to form without needing the support of the Scottish Nationalists. This, in turn, has implications for any future push to Scottish independence. Food for thought only, at this stage.