Sunday, 20th November, 2022

[Day 979]

It was quite a fine day today and although there were expectations of rain later in the day, we could still enjoy quite a fine morning. I walked down into town early to collect my newspaper, as I always do and then we made our way to the park. There we bumped into one of our regular friends but missed the other one. The park café had suffered a small fire and as the fire crew complete with appliance (one must learn not to call it a fire engine anymore) had cleared the café and its environs of all customers then our friend had abandoned his walk early. We had a chat with our regular friend and then made our way up to our ‘normal’ bench where we enjoyed our coffee and had a chat with another couple that we meet quite regularly in the park. Then it was a journey back to the house where I had a Sunday lunch to cook. We had some beef cooking in a slow cooker but there is always a certain amount of extra clearing up to do once I have washed out the (gravy) slow cooker container and prepared some onions to make a decent onion gravy. We typically cook the whole of a small joint but when it is removed from the slow cooker we usually halve it. One half, when cooled, goes into the freezer for another week whilst the ther half provides us with 2-3 days of meals. This pattern that we have evolved ensures that we have sufficient protein for our needs but at the same time means that we are not consuming too much red meat which the health professionals tell us we should only eat in moderation.

This afternoon, I spent a certain amount of time searching through some of my CDs so that I can have a choice selection of Mozart to have by my side in the kitchen. The various first Mozart Piano Concerto that I have heard in its entirety was Concerto No. 23 which was bought for me by an old friend (who has since died) some time in the early 1960s. Since then I am particularly fond of Concertos 20 and 21 but it is is possible that I already some CDs of these but I have to some hunting around to find them. But I found the Mozart Clarinet Concerto which again is a favourite and I also discovered the Horn concertos and the Oboe concerto so these, too, have been added into my little boxed collection which is already about two dozen long.

I have not taken any interest in the World Cup but I have noticed, with a certain grimace of pleasure, that Qatar lost its opening match against Ecuador, 2-nil. Apparently, it is the first time that a host nation has ever lost an opening match of a World Cup and I suspect that the host nation will not survive. I wonder how long the football competition can take place before some politics intrudes with a vengeance. The England team are going to wear rainbow arm bands and perhaps even ‘take the knee’ but I wonder whether the extreme heat, despite ‘air-conditioned stadiums’ will eventually take its toll and make a mockery of the competition as a whole. I might make an exception of not taking much interest in any of the football when I see that Wales are playing the United States in their opening game tomorrow evening. If Wales could possiby eke out a draw, then this would count as a moral victory at least but I am not holding my breath.

There is not much in prospect for Meg and I this week although we are expecting a close friend from Hampshire to come and see us on Thursday and to break his journey ‘up north’ by staying the night with us. If the weather is fine on Thursday, we can always do a little tour of Bromsgrove and the park but if the weather is windy and squally, we will have enough time to entertain us with filling in the news of what has happened to us in the past few years. Our friend is going to research some of his family history and, in return, I might show him some of our own researches in this area. I always thought of myself as ‘born and bred in Yokshire’ but in practice, a distant Australian cousin on my father’s side has devoted a lot of time and energy to researching that side of the family. I find now that rather having my roots in Yorkshire, my forebears actually can be traced back to a West Midlands bicycle manufacturing company who prospered in Wolverhampton. I have even a photograph which is incredibly valuable because it shows the family name prominently displayed above an exhibition stand in which the latest models of bicycle were being put on show. So I discover that I am actually a Midlander through and through which means that I have had to have a sudden reversal of self-identity since the information has been known to us.