Saturday, 27th August, 2022

[Day 894]

Today is the day when we are due to depart – unfortunately. We got up at 7.30am and finished off most of our packing fairly quickly. We had packed the wardrobe and ‘main’ suitcase the evening before and I always find packing to go home so much easier than the other way round. After all, everything in the room has to be either thrown away or packed but we took several of the smaller packages into the car when we went down for breakfast and that made the final exit from the hotel bedroom so much the easier. We paid our bill and were ready to set off at 9.45. It was the most glorious of days and the motoring was really pleasant. We stopped at the normal service station on the way back which we know is exactly half of the distance between Bromsgrove and Yorkshire and then proceeded on our way. Half way through this second half of the journey, we were nearly involved in a really nasty accident on the motorway. We were motoring at a straight 70mph in the ‘slow’ i.e. inside lane when suddenly a car seemed to slide sideways almost into us. For our part I veered leftwards so that I was half on the hard shoulder and this avoided any contact between us. What had happened was that an aggressive driver behind us had hassled the car in front who had evidently drifted left to get out of the aggressive driver’s way but without checking his mirror and hence nearly collided with us. Fortunately, no harm came to any of us but the aggressive driver shot off into the distance never to be seen again. We celebrated our good fortune by treating ourselves to a boiled sweet and continued with the rest of the journy being just a little more alert than normal.

We received some rather bad news from a close friends of Meg’s Uncle Ken late last night. He is very elderly (about 93 I think) but has suddenly seemed to have lost the will to live and is refusing any food and drink in his residential home in Colwyn, North Wales. How long an elderly frail person can survive without sustenance is very hard to say but we fear that Uncle Ken may not have many more days left to live. Meg and I have tried to work out our options are and we think that a flying visit is not really possible tomorrow (Sunday) and we would not want to be on a motorway on Bank Holiday Monday. Because of other commitments we have during the week, we think that Thursday may be the first day that we can actually motor up to see Uncle Ken (if he is well enough to see us, in any case). We are keeping in close touch with other relatives and friends although Meg is Uncle Ken’s closest living relative and will have to resolve what we are going to do when we get some firmer news. So as things stand we shall see if get an update sometime tomorrow morning and on Monday and then we can make plans accordingly. I got into contact with my daughter-in-law who promptly came round so that we could discuss our best course of action face-to-face and, as always, she was a fund of useful and practical advice. She herself has had to cope with the deaths of some of her own close relatives and so is in a good position to help us to work out our options. In the late afternoon, we went to church as we normally do on Saturday afternoons and then settled down for a leisurely evening once we have consumed a bit of supper.

The current chancellor of the Exhequeur, Nadhim Zahawi, is in a massive dilemma today. Firstly, he may not still be in his current post in about 8 days time as the new Prime Minister is elected and a new ministerial team subsequently appointed. But he has now admitted that in the current ‘cost of living’ crisis, Britons on £45,000 (50% more than the average wage) will probably need help in paying for energy bills as experts warn that the price cap could rise to £7,700. Meanwhile, he has also told the Daily Telegraph that households must try and reduce their energy consumption, and that he fears gas prices could remain elevated for another two years. The ‘official line’ coming from the government is that options for a variety of support packages is being prepared in the background but nothing can actually happen until a new ministerial team is actually in place. In the meantime, the amount of stress in the general population that the rising fuel crisis is generating cannot be underestimated but nothing seems to be happening as the whole governmental machine is effectively in suspension. I am still trying to comprehend the actually reasons why British fuel dprices should have to rise to such an extraordinary extent. For example, EDF energy prices rise by 4% in France compared to 54% in UK but EDF (Electricitie de France) is a State-owned firm was was forced to take a £7 billion pound hit to protect French households.