Sunday, 20th February, 2022 [Day 706]

Today was almost a typical Sunday but not quite. I got up relatively early, as is my wont on a Sunday morning, and strolled down to get the Sunday newspapers whilst listening to a diet of Mozart which is my weekly treat. Then it was time to have a bit of breakfast on our knees whilst watching the Sunday morning politics show. As most of us are suspecting these days, Boris Johnson is absolutely loving the Ukrainian crisis because it is making him look like an important statesman rather than a rather grubby politician. The more the Ukrainian crisis drags on, the more Boris feels that he is putting ‘partygate’ behind him and that the public attention is being devoted onto other matters. As ‘partygate’ fades for the time being,  so the postbags of MPs are not being filled wih indignant letters from the electorate and therefore, of course, the pressure to remove him lessens – at least for the time being. I think it was at university that I read (and was very impressed) by a book by Lewis Coser called ‘The Functions of Soial Conflict‘ and it was from this source that I first learnt that all right wing politicians typically engage in aggressive relations with ‘foreigners’. This is because, by so doing, attention is diverted from what might be massive sources of conflict at home whilst the political benefits will accrue from what might be termed the ‘rally round the flag’ sentiment in the population as a whole.  So the whole sabre-rattling continues on both sides – but I find it intriguing that the Ukrainians themselves are getting irritated by the increasing bellicose noises coming out of Washington and the NATO alliance. At the end of the day, I suspect that a ‘diplomatic’ solution will emerge in which, in the short term, Putin emerges as a stronger figure than before. Incidentally, the Lewis Coser observation on right wing leaders applies equally to figures such as Putin who has every interest in diverting attention from domestic difficulties within Russia. Meg decided not to walk down to the park this morning as the weather did not bode too well and she was feeling a little on the chilly and fragile side. So I made myself some coffee and made for the park but I did not tarry on our usual benches but instead carried on walking around the lake to look in on the small cafe which is normally open at the weekends. As it happens, as I suspected, both my University of Birmingham friend and Seasoned World Traveller were there so I joined them for about half an hour. We swapped some funny (medical) stories wih each other as well as discussing the fact that in many societies, one goes directly to a specialist to get one’s problems attended to whereas in our NHS one is used to the GP acting as a ‘gatekeeper’ to the specialist who is not approachable directly in the UK system. Obviously, on can approach the specialist directly in societies where there is a cash nexus up front ie one pays directly (even if some costs may be reimbursed later by the state). Before I had walked down to the park, I had prepared some ‘chunky’ root vegetables which were parboiled and then thrown together with some turkey thigh meat to make a huge casserole dish that could cook slowly in the oven whilst I was on my walk. All of this worked out very well and, when I returned, I just need to steam some green vegetables to have a complete meal.

This afternoon, I devoted myself to a leisurely reading of the ‘Sunday Times‘ before I started to tackle getting my computer gradually de-cluttered. I have come to the decision to replace my aging machine but if I do not get the existing machine de-cluttered, I will end up transferring clutter from one machine to another which is not exactly what I want. I suppose it is like having one cluttered desk and a brand new clean disk beside it. If you were to merely transfer all of the clutter from one desk to the other, then you would be no better off. This analogy is not completely sound, though, because as computer systems age there is a lot of junk left around from incomplete installations which can be difficult to locate and delete.

The weather today has seen the aftermath of the Storm Eunice as it has moved on from our shores. The weaher this morning was a bit of a lull but it was then followed by a very windy period and then torrential rain later on in the afternoon. We now learn that another storm, codenamed Franklin, is on its way and I think that succession of these storms are on their way. And to finish off today, we learn that the Queen has been declared positive for COVID and although the symptoms are declared to be ‘mild’ and the Queen will be undertaking ‘light duties’, nontheless there is a degree of concern as the monarch will shortly by 96 years old. 


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