For some reason that I cannot quite put my finger on, I have been incredibly tired all of today – in fact, so much so, that I actually took the car down to the paper shop breaking my normal Sunday morning habit. I think that perhaps Meg and I had got a little chilled because we have tried to delay putting on the central heating until the very last moment. But today, as the temperature was dropping quite markedly, I thought that the hour and the day had actually come. As soon as I got up this morning, I heard the familiar ‘squawk’ emitted by the smoke alarm and this is the signal to renew the battery. However, the battery was one of those rectangular types so I decided that before we paid our visit to the park, it would be a good idea to pay a flying visit to Asda but this proved quite beneficial because I bought few extra things that I know that I can only get in Asda and that we actually needed. Once we got into the park, having put on some extra clothing against the cold, we sat on our normal park bench and wondered if we might meet with our regular park friends. As it turned out, we did not meet with either of them but we were joined on the park bench by ‘Alfie’, quite a good looking labradoodle (if that is the correct term) and his father. This is a gentleman of about my own age and in no time we were swapping stories about the kinds of tricks that we played upon apprentices when we were both working in an industrial context. Apart from having worked in a nightclub, my own industrial experience is limited to working in a cardboard box factory and in the following summer in a rubber company (not that kind of rubber – we mainly put the rubber around huge industrial cables that were destined to go under a second tunnel under the Mersey, then just being built). Whilst I worked in the cardboard box factory, Meg was working in a factory next door which was the McVities biscuit factory and to this day, she still has a slight aversion to the chocolate coated ‘Home Wheat’ biscuit line. Meg used to come home to tell me that many of her fellow workers on the production line really wanted to marry a ‘chcolate man’ if they could. This occupation was confined to men because it involved the quite dangerous manipulation of huge vats of hot chocolate. The process of my getting a job at the cardboard factory was interesting because it involved turning up at the office of the Personnel Manager and saying ‘Are there any jobs going – I am a friend of Jimmy Nolan who can recommend me’. The response was ‘Oh, we know Jimmy and he is a good worker so that is good enough for us’ When we eventually got home, I had a quick read of the newspaper and then a bit of a doze before I cooked a very simple dinner which was the remains of the pork slow cooked yesterday, some broccoli and a baked potato. That was quite enough for Meg and myself but straight after dinner, I treated myself to yet another long snooze.
This afternoon, after our mid-afternoon cup of tea, I spent some time getting all of the postcodes ready for our long journey to the funeral of Meg’s Uncle Ken tomorrow. We are journeying first to a Country Club just off the A55 (otherwise known as the ‘Chester expressway’ as it supplies access to many of the small towns and villages that lie along the North Wales coast). After a good meal and a rest it is then another thirty miles to the crematorium and from this point on, the Methodist church to which we will repair after the crem is only about seven miles away. I have a slight ‘thing’ about turning up to a funeral in a dirty car and although our car is not very dirty, I nonetheless gave it a quick splash so that it will look respectable. In any case, it will get a little dirty on the journey tomorrow in any case. Tonight, we are looking forward to a restful evening so we first have a dose of Andrew Neil whose show on a Sunday evening is always worth a watch. Then we have two hours of classical music on BBC4, first of cello music and then a programme devoted to Yehudi Menuhin which fortunately will be finished at 9.00 this evening. As we are going to make a fairly early start to a long day tomorrow, we are going to take the opportunity of a nice early night. To finish of with some foreign news, in the flight of young men from Russia eager to avoid any kind of conscription to a war against Ukraine which they regard as illegitimate, it is reported tonight that Russia is going to stop the exit of any men whatsoever of fighting age from next Wednesday onwards. It is an open question how many can escape in the two days remaining to them as the queues at some of the border is reported as 18 miles long.