Saturday, 13th August, 2023

[Day 880]

We have two days of hot weather to either enjoy, or endure, and the weather forecasters tell us that the temperatures should dip a little lower on Monday and then we may have some thunder and rainstorms on Tuesday. Whether we get the rain or not, we shall have to wait and see. This morning, we thought we would make the best of the fine weather by having a full load of washing done and then pegged out onto the washing line by 10.30 and with these temperatures, it should not take too long to be completely dry. Meg and I went by car to pick up our newspaper and our friendly newsagent informed us that he was going to be shut for a week as he is going on holiday to Vienna, which sounds marvellous. Next week, we shall have to get used to getting our newspaper voucher exchanged at Waitrose, as we used to in years gone by. Meg and I made our way to the park and passed the time of day with Intrepid Octogenerian Hiker who was half way through his regime of some 9-10 km per day. Then we were joined by Seasoned World Traveller for whom I had acquired a SIM for his standby mobile. We gossiped a bit about mutual acquaintances and thought we would probably rendezvous again on Tuesday morning in Waitrose. We drove home and made a lunch of mince,broccoli and baked potato – unremarkable but typical on a Saturday. This afternoon,after a siesta, I made a brief foray into the garden to remove a bramble that had suddenly grown and was annoying me but making descent into Mog’s Den for the first time in a week, I noticed with some pleasure that a buddleja I had planted last year has now grown to an enormous size. In fact, it probably needs a good tying up but I am going to wait until the weather cools down before I attempt this.

The news came through yesterday of the stabbing of Salman Rushdie and I found myself quite upset by it. I was talking to our chiropodist about the partition of India and the novel by Salman Rushie ‘Midnight’s Children’ which is fictional in one sense, but absolutely realistic in another as it documents the traumas suffered when the Musim and Hindu populations that had coexisted pretty well for decades in Indian villages were wrenched apart by the dynamics set in place by partition, many families finding themselves the ‘wrong’ side of the line. The British by and large stood by and did nothing whilst the communal violence flared across the border areas. There are a series of programmes (on Channel 4 I think) where descendants of British Asians have gone back to find the villages in which their grandparents had lived and whether they were remembered at all from those traumatic times in 1947. Salman Rushdie appears to be quite seriously injured and as I write, it may be that he will lose one eye completely, the nerves in one of his arms has been severed and his liver badly damaged by the attack. One commentator has observed that ‘his fight is our fight’ and I suspect that this is a sentiment shared by many of us. It may be some time before Rushdie’s medical condition stabilises for a firm prognosis but what is particularly shocking is that this attack took place some 32 years after the fatwa (a type of call for assassination) was pronounced on Rushdie by the Ayatollah of Iran in 1989. The attacker has now been charged with murder but we must await some of the news bulletins to ascertain whether the attack actually was the result of the ‘fatwa’ or something more random.

I have been in contact with our friends in Scarborough to firm up the arrangements for us to meet in York in about twelve days time. I think I have found a suitable hotel on the appoaches to the station and once I have heard from our friends, I can go ahead and make a firm booking for the four of us. We will have tremendous amount to catch up on as we we have not actually met face-to-face for I think about four years now and quite a lot of water have flowed under the bridge in both of our lives. I have ensured that Meg and I both have up-to-date rail discount passes so that we can make the journey from Harrogate to York without having to trouble ourselves with car parking in central York. Meg and I decided to get married in York and our son went to boarding school there, so the city of York has very happy associations for all members of the family. We think we should be clear of train drivers’ disputes on the day we intend to travel but we will keep our fingers crossed!