Wednesday, 7th October, 2022

[Day 996]

Today was quite a full day, as we always suspected it was going to be. My son and I had made plans to go into Worcester by train to visit the local branch of a bank to get a financial transaction completed. The meeting had been set up for some time and we had made great efforts to ensure that all of the relevant documents were in place before we started our meeting proper. The train station in Bromsgrove is only about two and a half miles from our house but we knew that getting through the town at rush hour was going to be time consuming. We had allowed ourselves three quarters of an hour to get to the station but in practice were about 5-10 minutes late as I did a final check though all of the documents I had run off. In the event, it was touch-and-go whether we were going to make it to the station on time as the traffic appeared particularly horrendous this morning. Then of course we had to get the tickets bought and the car parking ticket sorted out. It was a case of running through the car park and running for the train – we arrived on the platform some 30 seconds after the train was due but as it happened to be one minute late, we caught it on time. When we arrived in Worcester, we dived into a Tesco and bought some plasters so that a cut on my finger did not open up and drip blood over all of our documents and then we treated ourselves to a coffee and a cake near the main shopping district and arrived on the dot when the bank opened its doors at 10.00am. Our transactions were not particularly complicated or problematic in any case but it seemed to take a long time to complete all of the formalities. We had a little break half way through the morning and had to visit my own bank for one particular document and then returned to discuss the options we were offered (what the financial services industries calls ‘products’) and then completed all of our formalities. As this had taken most of the morning, my son and I bought a sandwich and a drink which we consumed in the waiting room in the station (out of the cold) whilst we were awaiting our train back home. I collected our newspaper from our local, friendly newsagent and then went home for a cup of tea and a debrief. Then I made a lightning visit down into town to make arrangements with a solicitor who we needed to complete our legal work. I took lots of ID with me but I needed to return home and make a phone call, which I did and now have an appointment set up for a few days time. So all in all, we have a good day and have a lot of confidence in the bank’s personnel who have given us a very good and professional level of service.

Tonight is the night in the week when we take out our dustbins and haul them to the end of our drive which is necessary as technically we are a ‘private’ road and hence local authority refuse collection vehicles will only collect from the end of it. I did take the opportunity, though, to throw away about a dozen VHS tapes that I still had, which were practically all operas that we had recorded or bought a least a couple of decades ago. Just out of interest, I decided to see when video cassette recorders (VCRs) had ceased to be manufactured and got the answer that the last date of manufacture was 2016. `The same source informed me that if you had a collection of valuable videotape that you still wanted to play, you could probably find machines offered for sale on eBay. I was in no way tempted to buy one of these vintage machines and have absolutely no regrets about junking the tapes I had which had not been played in years but, if I had really been tempted in this direction, then there offers of pre-owned machines on the web with prices ranging from £20-£40. I can well understand that some people may have some really precious material recorded on tape (which we do not) and for those individuals, I suppose the price is not too high if you want to keep alive a memory of a deceased loved one or a wedding video.

Another bit of sleaze is swirling around the Tory party this evening. A Tory peer, Baroness Mone, has been accused of vigorously advancing the interest of a company to bid for and obtain a large contact to supply PPE at the height of the pandemic. The allegations of impropiety have been denied but nonetheless, Baroness Mone is absenting herself from the House of Lords in order to ‘clear her name’. Meanwhile, in the Commons today, Rishi Sunak said he was ‘shocked’ to read allegations about Baroness Mone, adding it was ‘absolutely right’ that she is no longer attending Lords. So it does look as though she is being hung out to dry by the Tory party who did not oppose a Labour move to demand that all of the documentation surrounding the granting of the contract be made available for examination by a Commons select committee.