Sunday, 14th August, 2022

[Day 881]

Today is hopefully the very end of the very hottest of days as tomorrow, according to the weather forecasts, the temperature should moderate by a degree or so whereas on Tuesday it may be that we have some thunderstorms and perhaps, if we are lucky, torrential rain. So Meg and I are doing what we can to keep ourselves cool all day long. As today is a Sunday, I walked down to get the newspaper and perhaps because of the heat, I did not come across any joggers or dog-walkers which is typical on Sunday morning. My newsagent told me yesterday that he and his wife were going to go on holiday for a week to Vienna. So I scoured the bookcase in which we shelve all of our travel books and guides and discovered that we had a Baedeker guide to Vienna that we must have purchased decades ago and has been languishing on our bookshelves ever since. So I was delighted to loan the guide to our newsagents and trust it will be useful. I asked them if they would say a special ‘Hello’ to the statue of Beethoven for me in central Vienna and I reminded them of my favourite Beethoven story. The memorial in central Vienna was not Beethoven’s initial resting place but some time in the late nineteenth century, his grave was relocated to central Vienna. When the coffin was disinterred, the gravediggers could not help but to have one last look at the body (or skeleton) of Beethoven. When the coffin was opened, they were amazed to discover that the skeleton was using his left hand and was evidently writing something but in a backwards direction. Then one of the gravediggers turned to each other and explained that it was evident that Beethoven was just busy de-composing!

Meg and I took the car to the park but today was a special ‘green fun day’ in which evidently Bromsgrove District Council were putting on some activities, perhaps to amuse children, in the middle of the summer holidays. So entrance to the park was restricted but we explained to the local authority personnel manning the gates that we visited the park every day and they allowed us to enter and park in our usual spot. We did bump into Intrepid Octogenerian Hiker again this morning who had busy walking since 9.30 in the morning and by this time it was nearly midday. But I must say that the normal clientele using the facilities of the park on a Sunday morning seemed to be much less than normal and we wondered if various people had turned up to the park, seen the control on the gates and had been deterred from entering. We occupied a shady seat but made sure that we did not stay too long and made for home. On the way home, we were greeted by our next door neighbour who made us a gift of some newly picked french beans which we were delghted to accept. In the oven whilst we were away, we had cooking one of those chickens that cook in their own tin tray and cooking bag. We complemented this with some carrots which I cut into small ‘sticks’ and then finished off in the hot oven with a drizzle of honey and this made for a really tasty and delicious dinner. We have masses of chicken left over for the rest of the week only consuming one breast for today’s lunch and leaving the other, the legs and other meat for meals later on this week. As today is likely to the hottest day in the current spell, Meg and I changed into really light clothing the minute we got into the house and made sure that we had doors and windows left suitably ajar to keep the house as cool as we can. This afternoon, we got rather absorbed into watching the final of the women’s gymnastic floor exercise. There were ten finalists and the first to perform was an Ialian girl who set an impressvely high standard. This performance was almost, but not quite, bettered by her Italian teammate so the first two competitors seemed to have set themselves up for gold and silver. This position remained throughout the competition until the British competitor, the current European’floor’ champion took to the floor as the last competitor and retained her gold medal beating the Italian girl by something like 0.066 of a point (out of a potental 15). So this was enjoyable in the extreme.

Today, there has been an update on the condition of Salman Rushdie, the object of an attempted assassination a day or so ago. The latest news is that he is now off a ventilator, can speak a few words and athough still quite critically injured, he appears to be on upwards trajectory (with, I am sure, a sigh of relief from most of the world community) I am wondering whether the world’s artistic elite, or an American benefactor, might club together to ensure that Rushdie has round the clock protection for the rest of his days.