Tuesday, 17th May, 2022

[Day 792]

Another Tuesday in which we have to organise our time a little carefully, as it is my Pilates day. Having picked up our newspaper by car, Meg and I wished to have a walk down to the park as we have missed this for a day or so what with one thing or another. We walked down a little early according to our normal schedule and hoped to coincide with some of our park regulars but we were out of luck this morning. So we just enjoyed the spring/summer sunshine whilst we have it and drank our coffee alone. After. we had finished, we made a slight detour as fas as the park café but again missed our normal contacts. So we made for home and after another drink I made for my Pilates class. All was proceeding until half way through our normal routines when our Pilates teacher was called out of the class to receive an emergency telephone call. It transpired that our teacher’s husband who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease was thought to have suffered from a minor stroke and was told to make his own way to the hospital in Worcester some 15 miles distant. Our teacher’s inclination (and sense of duty) was to carry on with her class until its natural completion in half an hour’s time. All of the class members insisted that our teacher abandon a class immediately and go and transport her afflicted husband to hospital – as we all know, if the symptoms were to be a stroke then the sooner that a firm diagnosis is made and treatment administered the better. We were relieved that out teacher took our advice so we all gave out our good wishes and made for our respective homes half an hour early. After lunch was over, I managed to locate my ‘edge cleaning’ tools which the patio cleaning crew had unceremoniously dumped in of the raised shrub beds by the side of the house and then started work to attack the weeds in the junction between the kerbstones and the roadway along the long side of our communal grassed area. As is often the case, I have a variety of tools to assist me in this task. Of course the bigger weeds are easy to pull out but more problematic are of couse those insidious little ‘flat’ weeds and, of course, the dandelions which always have a habit of seeding themselves in inaccessible locations. I have a little curved patio weed rake, a dandelion remover, a general weeding tool, an old but stiff washing up brush and then a general purpose softer hand brush. I find that this combination of tools allows one to loosen the weeds, rake them out and finally leave a nice clean and weed-free edge. There is a 20 yard section that I had wanted to get in the time I had allocated myself this afternoon and it is always satisfying to fulfil one’s objectives. Later on this evening, as we always do on a Tuesday, we FaceTime our oldest Waitrose friends and exchange news. Later on there a couple of comedy programmes that we like to watch and ‘Yes Minister‘ to us never seems to date. I think it is generally well known that the ‘Yes, Minister‘ Storie all have a foundation in fact. Harold Wilson’s private right hand woman, Marcia Williams (later Lady Falkender) and another policy wonk whose name I have not remembered, used to meet with the scriptwriters of ‘Yes Minister‘ each Monday morning and feed them several of these stories. The scriptwriters basically elaborated upon the stories and spun each into an episode for TV and there may have been a certain degree of artistic licence but the kernel of the story is in fact true.

In North Korea, COVID-19 seems to have taken off with a vengeance in a society in which nobody at all has been vaccinated. It seems that 50 people have died and 1.5 million have been infected but this secretive society has, this far, rebuffed all offers of help and prefers to rely upon their own self-reliance. The population are advised to gargle each day with salt water and to drink willow leaf tree three times a day. As I am writing this blog, a breaking news story is the latest sex scandal from Westminster. Scotland Yard confirmed in a statement that a man aged in his 50s has been arrested on suspicion of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office. These offences were committed between 2002 and 2009 and is believed to be a Tory MP – the whips had avised that he absent himself from the ‘parliamentary estate’ but at this precise moment he appears to be in custody. It will be fascinating to see how well the rumour mill is working and whether a name will emerge later on the evening. Try as they might, political parties find it very hard to keep the identities of their errant members private.