Sunday, 26th June, 2022

[Day 832]

Today being a Sunday, I got up a tad early and had a quick breakfast of one those little porridge packets that gives you an instant breakfast of porridge in about 2 minutes. Then it was back in time to give Meg and I a little more cereal whilst we were watching the Sunday Morning (politics) programme. I do not know if the Sky News and BBC studios are very close to each other but they have Brandon Lewis as a government spokesman on one channel with a plethora of bland excuses for the present government’s performance only to see him a few minutes later on the other channel. Meg and I took the car down to the park and soon made contact with two of our regular park ‘mates’ – Seasoned World Traveller to be followed shortly by our friend from the University of Birmingham. We entered into a long and detailed discussion as to what chain of events would lead to the resignation of the Prime Minister and what actual mechanisms would be used if he literally refused to leave office (there are hints here, of course, of Donald Trump and the White House). Then we started to discuss the Roe v Wade reversal in the US Supreme Court and this led to a much more detailed discussion of the rights of women, of unborn children, where the line should be drawn between abortion and the preservation of life and so on. Evidently, there was no fixed or final conclusion to all of this but the discussion was intense and non-acrimonious.

After we had got home, we lunched on some beef that had been cooking in the slow cooker in our absence and then settled down to a nice long read of the Sunday newspapers. Knowing that we were going to be out this evening, listened to the Test Match on Radio 5 Live Special and England were making a good fist of chasing a total of nearly 300 runs. They finished off the day with 113 runs yet to score and 8 wickets in hand so that ought to be a straighforward task tomorrow, provided they keep their heads. At 7.00pm we set off in the car for the concert which is going to be held in St. John’s Anglican Church, one of the largest performance spaces in Bromsgrove. Most of the programme is of particular significance, one way or another. Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto was one item which was particularly well played and it always scores highly in our list of emotionallly memorable pieces because our son won his school’s music prize when playing the second movement of this piece. I first heard it when I was in bed suffering from ‘Asian ‘flu’ in 1957 and, at one stage, I think about 60% of the class were ill with it. My dormitory master who was also my art and music teacher smuggled a record player into our bedroom so that we could listen to it for the first time. Another piece was Beethoven’s 6th (the Pastoral Symphony) which again I remember well because it helped to get me through a dark patch when I was a teenager and suffering an illness. The concert was provided ‘free’ but of course most people dropped some money into a collection as you would have paid for a concert performance anyway. After a break for a glass of wine half way through the performance, there was quite a novel ending. The final piece was to be the the Halleluja chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Almost as a piece of fun to round off the evening, copies of the score were handed round and then you had to self-allocate yourself to one of the four parts (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and sing along accordingly. Those who knew the score were encouraged to stand up and to ‘belt it out’ – fortunately for me, there were some very powerful singers who had evidently sung the score several times before standing in the row behind us, so it was quite easy to follow their cue and thus to participate. For a scratch orchestra, the standard of playing was surprising high and the clarinetist was very accomplished. It reminded Meg and I of the famous Jack Brymar who we heard play this concerto in the little jewel of a Georgian theatre in Bath probably some 35 years ago now.

The political fallout from Roe v Wade is still continuing in the USA. I heard one pro-life activist justifying the use of guns as instruments that save lives in the same way that banning abortion saves the lives of unborn children. One could argue that more lives are lost than saved in the American love affair with the gun and that botched abortions kill people also but these inconsistencies are lost on the absolutely committed. Jo Biden and the rest of his administration are seeking ways in which the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision may be minimised – we may yet see federal administrators attempting to cock a snook at the ban on abortions but this culture war may continue for decades.