Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

[Day 821]

Today was the day when we were due to travel to North Wales but there was a lot of running around to do before we got underway. Apart from the last minute packing including the laptop on which this blog is written, there were several urgent jobs to be done. One was to take the five sacks of hedge clippings that had been stored waiting for the day upon which gardening waste is collected. I was relying upon the fact that the empty bungalow has a practically empty bin apart from the grass mowings that the relatives are doing weekly to keep everything looking tidy. I was in luck and managed to squeeze my five sack fulls of clippings into their garden waste bin ready to be hauled to the end of the road. Then I had to get the document upon which I had been working ready for despatch but it required one more signature from a really obliging neighbour as a witness. Then all was ready so we shot into town and picked up our newspaper before dashing to the Post Office to get my document posted and ‘into the system’. I realised that in my panic to get things packed quickly, I had forgotten some toothbrushes and toothpaste but this was quickly remedied by a dive into one of the many cosmetic type shops in the High Street and finally we set off, some ten minutes before the time I had scheduled for ourselves. The first half of the journey was uneventful and we had a pit stop at a halfway point where we ate some of our own elevenses on some benches meant to be used exclusively by Starbuck customers but nobody moved us on. In the second half of the journey, we encountered a fairly large traffic jam because of some roadworks south of the Langollen turn off but once this was put behind us we get to the hotel at about 12.30 after a journey of 97 miles.Then we dumped everything into the room, did a quick unpack and then had a quick freshen up and then made for our Country Club restaurant a couple of miles down the road at which we arrived some three minutes before our appointed luncheon time. We had a wonderful meal starting off with some starters (liver pate, wild mushrooms) which we shared and each had a panfried sea bream served with seasonable vegetables. We found this meal incredibly filling and satisfying and I quaffed a point of a dark local cask beer, vaguely reminiscient of a porter, which again I really enjoyed.

Meg and I enjoyed crashing out this afternoon and I must say, the Holiday Inn room that we have lived to all of our expectations. It is certainly large enough and well appointed and all of the systems seem to work as we would wish. We have been absorbing the news during the day of the fact that the flight of sylum seekers being sent to Rwanda for ‘processing’ was finally abandoned last night after a legal challenge by the European Court of Human Rights. Naturally our Home Secretary (Priti Patel) has been spitting teeth and there are all kinds of threats that we should withdraw from this court. But not many people realise that this court has nothing to do with the European Community which we have just left but its origins were in the early 1940s when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill raised the idea of a ‘Council of Europe’. In the wake of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust, the idea behind the Council of Europe was to set up an international organisation to promote democracy, the rule of law and human rights. This was eventually to become the European Court on Human Rights. British lawyers were very much involved in the discussions of principles and the shaping of the Court. The European Convention on Human Rights was signed in Rome on 4 November 1950 and the UK was the first signatory to the Convention. The Convention entered into force on 3 September 1953. So all in all, if Britain were to leave such a court that we had helped to establish then Britain’s standing in the world would reduce our moral status almost to vanishing point. The whole of the Good Friday Agreement which has brought peace to Northern Ireland is underpinned by the ECHR so it is doubtful if the UK could withdraw without threatening the whole of this agreement. Nonetheless, some Tory MPs are calling for the UK to withdraw. As I write this blog, a story has broken in the last minute that Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser, Lord Geidt, has resigned after saying there was a ‘legitimate question’ over whether the PM had broken ministerial rules over Partygate. He had threatened to do so a week or so ago and was evidently agonising over his role and function but he is now No. 2 in the queue to resign from this position.