Today is the day when Rishi Sunak has been formally appointed as the Prime Minister and so the rest of the day is going to be devoted to the comings and goings in Downing Street when new Cabinet positions are offered and then accepted or rejected. According to the weather forecasts, today was going to be a beautiful fine autumn day and so it proved. Although Tuesdays are my usual Pilates day, this week it is half term so we knew that there were no Pilates classes scheduled for today. So I offered Meg the opportunity to go out somewhere for the day as the weather was so fine. We went down to Waitrose and had our normal jolly conversations with three of the (by now) Tuesday crowd. One of the older ladies that I know quite well, I asked if she would like to live in a society where she could have three or four husbands. After a moment’s reflection, she replied that would not be a first preference because ‘I could not handle two husbands at once!’ I thought this was an interesting reply. In the past few days, I have been sent a WhatsApp picture of Larry, the Downing Street cat, who is technically a ‘Brown and White Tabby’. He looks as though as though he could be the father of Miggles, our ‘adopted’ cat who visits us regularly. In the WhatsApp photo, Larry is shown sitting outside the door of No. 10 and the following words are attributed to him : ‘I am getting another one today – it is another rescue. I take them in for a few months until I can find them a permanent home. I hope this one will be OK but the last one was a nightmare!’ When the reporters are queuing up outside 10 Downing Street waiting for an important announcement or arrival of a visiting head of state, the cat is often the subject of much attention. Larry’s most recent appearance was with Liz Truss when she was greeting the Danish prime minister on the steps of No. 10. As she bent down to stroke Larry, he shrugged off her approaches and walked briskly away which is probably how the rest of the population felt. The assembled reporters and photographers thought this was probably an omen for the future – and events were to prove them right. Larry outlasted prime ministers David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and, as of Thursday, the six-week tenure of Liz Truss.’The King has asked me to become Prime Minister because this nonsense has gone on long enough’ Larry the Cat wrote in a now viral tweet from an unofficial account hours before Truss announced her resignation.
After our jollities in Waitrose, we set off to visit Alcester, a pretty little Georgian town which we particularly like and is only about 15 miles distant. It is characterised by a range of superb charity shops and, true to form, we bought a new skirt for Meg and a new shirt for myself. Alcester also contains one of those wonderful little hardware shops that seems to stock everything you could possible think of and I bought the three bottles that they had in stock of a ‘scratch’ cover. These were the light, medium and dark varieties so with a little judicous mixing, you could get an almost exact shade for whatever you wanted to treat. I have found this product particulatly useful in the past for restorative work on dark furniture not confined to scratches but any little blemish. We had already booked a meal in one of the local hotels which does a most magnificent ‘pensioner’s lunch’ and we both had a root vegetables lasagne complete with a generous side serving of salad. This is always a most satisfying and enjoyable meal, after which we were happy to journey home.
This afternoon, we have passively watched the comings and goings on Downing Street which always makes the political journalists drool with excitement over who is in/out or up/down. As expected, Rishi Sunak has made a very conscious effort to draw a cabinet from all sections of the party and not just reward his natural and loyal supporters which was the mistake made by both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss before him. So far, the Cabinet seems to have been filled with people of some talent. Beth Rigby, the Sky News chief political correspondent did repeat the oft-repeated comment that Boris Johnson filled his cabinet with ministers best described as ‘B formers’ whereas the Liz Truss cabinet was said to be composed of ‘C formers’ The only appointment that I think is a great political mistake is to offer the recently resigned Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, the post of Home Secretary again. Suella Braverman is not known for the quality of her intellect and is a ‘rabid’ right winger who has confided that her secret dream is to see a plane load of asylum seeker and refugees transported to Rwanda and never seen again. As a historical footnote, we used to transport convicts to the then colonies from approx. 1700 until 1850 but one of the definitions of a true Conservative is that they are always ‘looking backwards into the future’.