Tuesday, 16th May, 2023 [Day 1156]

So Tuesdays have rolled round again. Meg and I did sleep on a little this morning so perhaps the long two and a half session in the hospital yesterday afternoon had taken its toll. Nonetheless, afer we had breakfasted, I telephoned our doctor’s surgery to make appointments for Meg and myself – in my own case, part of a routine monitoring and in Meg’s case to discuss some of yesterday’s results with a ‘quasi’ family doctor. I say a ‘quasi’ family doctor because we seem to have got through to the same doctor several times recently and to this extent this is efficient and saves a lot of time as one does not have to through a lot of back history. Having got this out of the way, we then made our weekly trip down to Waitrose where we met with three of our regular ‘Tuesday gang’. I am afraid that we always make our presence felt because there are generally a few jokes flying back and forth. The one which I dredged up from somewhere this morning was the case of Mrs Jones who, upon seeing her husband laid out in the undertaker’s premises was distressed to discover that he was to be buried in his brown suit rather than his favourite blue suit. On complaining to the undertaker, he told his client not to worry as they had ways of sorting out this kind of problem. But, as she left, she heard the undertaker calling out to his assistant ‘Fred – can you just swap the heads of No. 3 and Number 7’ But who knows what goes in an undertakers anyway? I must say that all of us really enjoy these Tuesday get togethers and actively look forward to them because we know that we are guaranteed an hour of jovial company. As soon as we got home, I received a telephone call from the ‘family’ doctor with whom I had made an appointment earlier on in the day and this helped to clarify a few issues in my mind. And so I then made my way down the hill to my regular Pilates class where, as a treat, because it had my birthday last week, we were allowed to have a few minutes of ‘relaxation’ at the end of the session. This is a little treat awarded to the class members if we have had a birthday in the week when the class takes place.

This week is proving to be quite a busy week, what with one thing or another. I received a text from the daughter of some of our new found acquaintances whether we were going to make a trip to a garden centre that had been advertised recently. Meg and I decided to go on the ‘Nothing venture, nothing gain’ principle so we are making some arrangements to travel together in a little trip out next Thursday. At the same time, I have made a booking at a cafe/restaurant in Droitwich on Friday and it is possible that our University of Birmingham friend may also join us to make up a fivesome. Tomorrow is going to be quite a busy day as well because our hairdresser is calling around in the middle of the day and Meg and I have our scheduled COVID boosters on the calendar for half way through tomorrow afternoon.

Just when you heard another story of the desperate plight of some of our people in our country following the soaring food prices, another thing comes along to shock you. The latest concern is that parents are stealing baby formula, turning to the black market and watering down their babies’ feed as soaring prices drive them to desperation. I have heard a suggestion that perhaps the NHS, cash-starved as it is, might be able to help by offering baby food ‘on prescription’ so that desperate young mothers might not have to pay. It used to said that the wartime hero, Winston Churchill, had said ‘there can be no better investment in life than putting milk into babies’ and, even when our son was born half a century ago there always used to be a supply of (very good) NHS orange juice and perhaps even baby milk as well at a highly subsidised price. But of all course, all of this reeks of the ‘nanny state’ and has part of the Conservative agenda to ‘roll back the frontiers of the state’ such help for young mothers has been discontinued for decades. But we are now living in such desperate times, one wonders the supermarkets themselves should cross-subsidise baby milk to make sure that the youngest members of our society should not have the price of political failure.

By today’s post arrived a CD that I had purchased through eBay. It was a CD of Mercedes Sosa, the celebrated Argentinian folk singer and political activist, who died at the age of 74. Sosa possessed a deep, alto voice and a strong sense of conviction, and had a warm, engaging personality. These qualities helped to make her one of the few Latin American musicians who could, over five decades, command a wide international audience. Described as ‘the voice of Latin America’, she was revered as a commentator on the political and social turmoil that afflicted the region. We came to know her through the works of another of our heros, Joan Baez, but her voice was probably superior to even that of Joan Baez (one time partner of Bob Dylan)

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