Monday, 31st October, 2022

[Day 959]

After a dullish start, we thought today was going to turn out to be quite a mild day. We popped into our local, friendly newsagent and I opined to the newsagent’s wife that I really didn’t like the month of November and although tomorrow is the first of the month, in my mind November is always the month to be lived through rather than enjoyed. But she informed me that it was her husband’s birthday towards the end of the month so that was something to which she could look forward. When the couple were getting me my newspaper, and thinking of our previous conversation, I remarked ‘Towards the end, then’ – but the newsagent thought I was referring to his life as a whole and remarked that he intended to live for a few more years yet! We all had a giggle at this misunderstading and then we progressed on to Waitrose where I needed to pick up a few things. I noticed that in the self-service coffee machine area, they had a notice informing customers that the ‘free to Waitrose customers’ was due to resume at the end of the week. I expressed my pleasure to one of the long standing staff members and they told me that although it involved more work for the staff keeping the machines topped up and maintained, they knew that it did pull the customers in. In the past, some customers had abused this system just popping in for a ‘free coffee’ so when the service resumes, one is going to have to swipe one’s Waitrose card to legitimise the free drink. Obviously, this was good news for us and the pandemic had evidently caused the demise of the service a year or so back but it is always good to see things resume. We had our normal comestibles and drink of coffee in the park and admired the autumnal colours, which is always a source of delight. On the way back home, we called by the house of our Irish friends on the main Kidderminster road as we had not seen them for a week or so. They had been away on an ‘instant’ holiday on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi – a trip in which Meg and I intended to participate before the pandemic and the travel restrictions put paid to our plans. But our friends told us that we had been saved from ourselves as the trip had proved quite arduous for some of the elderly and disabled members of the pilgrimage. Apparently, there was a lot of walking involved and in Assisi, in particular, up some quite steep hills which was too much for some. So Meg and I were relieved that this was a potential disaster avoided and, for once, home might be the better place to be.

We had our lunch at midday,finishing off the beef which we started yesterday. To make a change from the almost daily baked potato, I prepared some carrots and the portion for Meg I glazed in some honey just at the end of the cooking process so she was highly appreciative of this. This afternoon, I finished off the little projectI had set for myself which was to catalogue and document the CDs that I have relocated into our little ‘music room’. Last night, Meg had gone to bed early so whilst I was on my own, I took the opportunity to arrange all the 50 CD’s in alphabetic order and to write the composer and their composition into a little booklet I was saving for the purpose. Then I typed up this information into a HTML table I had composed on the computer in order to create a type-written version. This all worked out fine and I did literally a ‘cut-and-paste’ job from my printout into my little booklet which is now residing, ready for reference, on top of the CD’s. In order to make sure that the glue had done its work, I took the whole booklet and put into under one of the legs of our (heavy) kitchen table for half an hour to make the pages were well and truly stuck.

This afternoon, Suella Braverman is having to appear in the House of Commons to asnwer questions about the deteriorating situation at Manston processing centre in Kent, described by the chief inspector of prisons as ‘dangerous’ and inhumane. It appears that Braverman has been ignoring the advice of officials and may well have acting illegally by detaining asylum seekers more than the 24 hours specified by the legislation, all of this in order not to move the asylum seekers onward to hotels which is a policy she privately deplores. At the same time, if the Speaker of the House of Commons allows this, Braverman may now have to answer questions about the reasons for her resignation. She has now admitted to six further occasions of transgressions and has issued a long letter to MPs and the media to explain her past activities. All we can say at this stage is that the storm clouds are rapidly gathering over the head of the Home Secretary and critical, of course, is the reaction of the Tory backbenches where there is already some unease.