Tuesday, 11th October, 2022

[Day 939]

Tuesdays always have a particular ‘flavour’ and today was no exception – although it was to prove quite a full day. This morning having collected our newspaper we visited the Waitrose coffee bar which is our regular haunt on a Tuesday. In it, we met with Seasoned World Traveller who is a regular attendee on Tuesdays. We also met with one of our pre-pandemic friends and discussed various family matters with her as we usually do. I was also pleasant to bump into the Politics and History teacher at Bromsgrove School with whom I used to have quite long chats in our pre-pandemic days and even off-loaded a series of my politics books for which I had no further use and I thought would be better off in her hands, or her students, or the college library rather than just being thrown away. Once we got home, I made some preparations for lunch eaten after the return fom my Pilates class and then started on my journey down the hill. En route, I met our old Italian friend who had actually called round a week ago whilst I was in Oxfordshire but nobody had told me. We are trying to organise a little tea/coffee get together in the next few days as soon as our diaries are free. On my way back from Pilates, I popped into Asda to get supplies which I know that only they happen to have and then bumped into acquaintance who lives half way down the Kidderminster Road. A few days ago, I had observed an ambulance half parked outside her house and trusted it was not my friend or her husband. The ambulance was actually calling for a neighbour who was in his 80’s and in rather a bad way wuth skin cancer so I hoped for all of the best for him. After our meal and a best of a rest, I ran off some documents that I need for our meeting at our church this evening. I need to attend these meetings only about once every three months but they seem to come around with great rapidity – tonight we are discussing our documentation and some refurbishment issues but I reckon that this must be the some all over the world in meetings of this type. Hopefully, our meeting will be over by 9.00 so there will still be some of the evening left for a bit of relaxation.

On our way back to the house at lunchtime, we bumped into our next door neighbour who gave us some wildlife news. She had found at least one hoglet (= baby hedgehog) wandering down our shared drive and had a fair idea that it had probably emerged from some of the secluded spots in our garden. Having been rescued, the hoglet was now in the care of the local vets who were going to build it up a bit before releasing it back into the wild. At some stage, the hoglet needs to put on sufficient weight to be able to hibernate but as things stand, it probably needs some assistance to gain weight before the hibernation starts. About a couple of weeks ago, we saw the (same) fox parade up and down at the bottom of our garden early in the morning so I suppose this might be a natural predator for our young hedgehog. We think that between us, our neighbours and ourselves will manage to do what it takes to allow the hedgehog to survive and to achieve maturity.

Some interesting political news is emerging this evening. The Bank of England is signalling that its support for the pensions industry will cease within a few days. On this news, the pound has collapsed again tonight, so it looks as though international investors are losing all all faith in the present government. This may be a sort of game of ‘chicken’ played with this section of the financial market. Something suspiciouslly close to a windfall tax on the profts of large scale energy companies may be on the cards as well. Of course, it would not be the first time that a governing party has taken some of the ideas of its critics and to have claimed several of them as its own. Rather than a windfall tax, the government is imposing a cap on the revenues of some oF the renewable energy utilities ‘enjoying’ the rapid rise in profits which sounds like a profits tax in all but name. The government is faced with two alternative strategies both of which are anathema to them. One is abandon the cut in taxes and in practice to increase them to fill a projected 65 billion pounds deficit in the public finances. The other alternative is a very strict reduction in budgets of most of Whitehall (i.e.a period of austerity Mark II) and this sounds equally unpalatable. A decision will have to be announced towards the end of the month, but several of the Main Street Media are also sensing that at least one ‘U’ turn and perhas more than one, is still quite possible.