Tuesday, 27th September, 2022

[Day 925]

Last night, I had a rather disturbed night as I suspect that I was a little 'over-tired' after the long drives of yesterday. Nonetheless, I had my little alarm on and got up at at about 6.45 ready to make preparations for my day-out in South Oxfordshire. Today, I was going to make a journey by train and on occasions like this, I find it sensible to go from Birmingham International (which seves both the airport and the National Exhibitions Centre) This means that instead of a journey to a nearby local station and then a journey into Birmingham New Street and then the ride out to Birmingham International, I save about an hour and a half of journey time at each end of the day if I go direct to Birmingham International. The only snag is that access via the M40 can be a bit problematic if the traffic is incredibly busy and the traffic can be stopped on the mototway several times which can be a bit scary if you are trying to get to the train station on time. But today, everything worked perfectly and I got to the station 20 minutes before my train departure which was on time. As I got an 'el cheapo' ticket, I had no seat reservation but this was not a problem and I got to Reading station about three minutes late. I was meeting my friend outside a local Aldi store which I accessed by going out of the back of the station and this rendez-vous arrangement worked out well. We went for a gentle stroll alongside the river (Thames) and admired a huge flock of swans, geese and other water fowl. We then repaired to a local pub which was pleasant enough for our needs and did good pub group but there was quite a noisy group of young women already in situ so we had to train ourselves to 'tune them out' so we could carry on with our own discussions. Eventually a young mother and colleague turned up complete with fairly small baby so this was passed from hand to hand and 'gooed' over. This calls to mind an experience we had in Spain where in the small market town of Almnu├▒├ęcar, Meg and I discovered a little coffee shop off the beaten track which served some of the best hot chocolate we have ever tasted. The last occasion we were there, there was a group of locals sitting around in a circle and being passed round them from bosom to bosom was a young male child with a beatific smile on this face (I wonder why) I espied an elderly gentleman propping up the bat so I asked him in Spanish if the child was his (I knew it wasn't) He replied to me that the child 'belonged to all the world' which to all intents and purposes was absolutely true on that particular occasion. My friend and I treated ourselves to some good pub food and whilst my friend had a tasty oriental dish, I indulged in some Lincolnshire sausages, onions and mash. After we had put the world to rights, we went to our friends' farmhouse and enjoyed an after-dinner coffee. By way of a very slighht little token, I had taken along a largish bottle of my recently bottled damson vodka. As I had not tasted this prior to the bottling, we all had the smallest snifter in the name of quality control and I am pleased to say that it did not disappoint. Soon it was time to get dropped at the station hoping that the Reading rush hour would not detain us and the train journey was very punctual and I only about 3-4 minutes late on arriving back at Birmingham International. I was pleased to say that the day's daylight had not completely faded by 7.00 pm when I got clear of the carpark -given the complex of motorways near to this station, I am always anxious to pick the correct one when the rest of the traffic seems to be racing past you.

I am looking forward to a bit of rest after two fairly full days and tomorrow morning, we will have our domestic help to chat with. Thursday is a visit to the dentist for both Meg and myself and we also have our COVID booste jabs lined up for this Saturday so it will turn out to be quite a busy week. Tonight, there are signals coming from the Bank of England, via its economist, that signicant rate increases are probably quite imminent. This will effect not only those who probably thought that a low interest rate such as we have experienced over the past few years was here to stay. In the meanwhile,there are landlords who have bought houses when interest rates were low. As the interest rates rise, so will the mortgage repayments rise which means that rents may rise sharply as well. So many families who cannot afford a mortgage may find that the next few weeks brings the possibility of eviction if they cannot pay the increased rents, which is a direct result now in prospect.