Friday, 7th October, 2022

[Day 935]

Today was a day without too many commitments but it seemed to be set fair but with the expectation of some showers late on in the day. When I collected my newspaper from my normal newsagent this morning, I received the comment that now I was wearing my normal and somewhat 'lived in' leather hat, I had returned to the world of the normal. The newsagent, his wife and I all had a little giggle about this and then we proceeded to the park to have our coffee. Several dogs came to befriend us (or in search of food) but we are quite well used to this by now and one particularly friendly collie sat down near to us implying that we were to be friends for life. We then made tracks for home but on the way back up the hill espied one of our church friends assiduously pruning and weeding whilst the weather was set fair. We commiserated with the slight accident that she had had which left a cut on her face, fortunately missing her eye region but it was close (I think whilst she was engaged in some of the preparation of the flowers for the altar in the church, something heavy had fallen on her but thank goodness her injury was comparatively slight) We also received the not very pleasant news that the French widow who is a near neighbour of hers had been rushed into hospital with chest pains but she had been given a thorough check in hospital and all seemed to be well, for which we were all extremely thankful. Then we prepared our typical Friday midday meal which was sea bass served on a bed of lettuce and this week I had managed to find some tartare sauce which added that little touch of piquancy. I looked again at my emails and one of my Hampshire friends was going through a stressful time as he coped with the upheavals of adapting and updating his bathroom. Of course, this involved plumbing and electricals and always seems to be a longish and complicated job but when the rush is over, we will look forward to having a videochat to update each other.

There are two political stories this evening. The first concerns the Trade Secretary, Conor Burns, a close confident of Boris Johnson but still a member of the Truss administration. He has apparently been sacked 'on the spot' for allegations made against him during the Tory Party conference. All of the news media, including Twitter, are not indicating what they may know of the allegations but what do you think that Tory pliticians get up to away from home and with lots of available booze? Liz Truss has acted with commendable speed in sharp comparison with Boris Johnson who often delayed and prevaricated when faced with similar scenarios. The second story running throughout the day is incredulity that No 10 has banned any public information campaign indicating to the public at large how they might save energy (and money) and also assist in the fuel crisis. The word from No. 10 is that such a campaign would be seen as 'nanny state' The Business Secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg, is understood to have backed a £15m 'light touch' initiative, according to The Times, encouraging households to reduce their use of gas and electricity by taking a series of simple measures. However, Liz Truss is said to be 'ideologically opposed' to such an approach as it could be too interventionist. Needless to say, less ideological and more pragmatic countries like Germany already have their campaigns well underway, which surely is sensible. Other European countries seem to be converging upon very similar measures. There seems to a growing consensus to keep the temperature at 19 degreees, reduce heating and lighting in all corrdors and unused rooms, cut the temperature of swimming pools plus a whole range of measures to reduce public lighting. Of course, this is just on a limited basis to get us through the winter - but will it indirectly help to keep European growth rates above ours?

Before the start of the colder weather in the autumn and the winter, Meg and are starting to review our stores of clothing and are working out what needs to make the ultimate journey to the charity shop(s). Anything has not been worn for a year or so or is looking incredibly dated, then we are taking the opportunity to 'let it go' Of course, some clothes that used to fit a year or so ago are now somewhat on the tight side but we will not go down that road. On the other hand, sometimes you find an absolute gem from which you are not willing to be parted. In my own case, I have a very 'late 1960's tie that absolutely screams 'pychedelic' at you and I still wear it when the occasion demands such as I did the other day when I went by train to visit my friends in South Oxfordshire.