Thursday, 24th August, 2023 [Day 1256]

Today is my ‘shopping day’ so I was up bright and early and got my weekly living money out of a supermarket’s ATM, filled up with petrol and was waiting for the supermarket to open just before 8.00am. This was all done by 9.00 and when I got back Meg was still in bed asleep – I think she must have had a rather disturbed night so I let her sleep on. After we had breakfasted, we were running a little late so immediately went into elevenses mode to catch up on time a little. Today was quite a beautiful day so this lifts our spirits somewhat but we decided to make the best of the day by having lunch a little earlier than normal. This was because I really did need to get outside and get the lawns cut. For a reason I cannot quite explain, my grass seems to be growing exceptionally fast this year, particularly at the back of the house and I wonder if the more humid conditions is stimulating the growth. I managed to get the lunch cooked, eaten and the washing up so that I could make an early start on the front lawn which generally takes about 40 minutes. This went fine and I then have a more extended break (keeping Meg company at the same time) before I start on the back. Despite the back lawn only taking half the time compared with the front lawns, it always proves to be a bit more troublesome as there are lots of curves around which the mower has to be guided. Another feature of my mowing this year is that I seem to be using miniscule mounts of petrol this year and it only takes a few ‘glugs’ from the petrol container to top it up from one week to the next. After the lawn mowing is done, I allow myself to have a well-earned rest.

After the unexplained death of Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, the western media has been full of speculation as to how a private jet, flying in good weather conditions, could have crashed in uch a dramatic fashion. Most western experts are of the view that the video footage of the stricken plane, falling like a stone catastophically until it hit the ground in a huge explosion, was in all probability caused by an ‘external agent’ This was almost certainly a ground-to-air missile which may well have blown off the entire wing of the private jet, although the possibility of an on-board bomb cannot be completely discounted. The Russian state is cynically initiating a ‘criminal’ investigation into the causes of the crash, thereby seeming to rule out that a genuine accident had occurred. Presumably, there were will be some remains of a ground-to-air missile to be found somewhere amongst the wreckage but one wonders whether this will ever be ‘found’ Practically every analyst who has hit the airwaves today is convinced that Putin was exacting some sort of terrible revenge for his humilation at the hands of Prigozhin some two months ago. Putin has apparently sent messages of condolence to the family members which again takes cynicism to untold depths. In cases like this, the ultimate cause must always be conjecture and informed speculation but I heard one analyst on the radio this morning who reckoned that in the past Putin had disposed of 200 of his critics by making them ‘disappear’ in a whole variety of means – some are poisonings, some are assassinations by firearms and some simply disppear without trace. It is possible that Putin has surrounded himself with a cadre of people who do his dirty work for him but which allows Putin to maintain a figleaf of deniability. It used to be said, of course, that the old KGB used to use the Bulgarians for similar ‘black’ operations but as an KGB officer, Putin will be aware how to distance himself from any evidence that it was he that pulled the trigger.

There was a very amusing political letter written in the letter pages of ‘The Times‘ the other day. Suella Braverman, our Home Secrtary is said by some be one of the most stupid ministers to have held high office whilst yet others see her as a potential future leader of the Conservative Party. The letter writer expressed the view that in view of the recent history of the Conservative party, there was not necessarily a contradiction between these two positions. On the other side of the Atlantic, the media are preparing itself for the sight of Donald Trump arriving at a court house in Georgia. Donald Trump has not yet had to submit a mugshot photo during his previous three bookings – but that could change tonight. If he does indeed have his photo taken, he will be the first former US president to submit a mugshot. The booking process usually involves a mugshot, fingerprinting and having your height and weight recorded. It is understood Trump has asked a mugshot not be taken, but it is not clear whether this request will be met. His allies who have also been booked in Atlanta have already provided mugshots, including his former lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Supporters of Trump have already started to arrive outside the courthouse with a clutch of banners proclaiming Trump to be a ‘political prisoner’. However, his substantial poll lead will probably only grow larger after today’s court proceedings and the possibility remains of a very, very tight election between Biden and Trump next year.

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