Monday, 1st July, 2024 [Day 1568]

The day started off gloomy and we knew that we would probably have to stay at home for most of the morning as we anticipated that a wheelchair was due to be delivered to us this morning. After the care workers failed to arrive at the appointed hour, we received a telephone call from the care agency explaining that they were short of staff after a couple phoned in sick. We were offered the option of the manager himself if I were to assist him and since this constituted a wait of only half an hour instead of an hour and a half, this we readily accepted. So the care agency manager and I worked as a team and just before our tasks were completed, the wheelchair arrived. We had a minimal amount of unpacking of it to do and so we could hoist Meg into it. At first sight, it is probably going to prove to an excellent improvement for us. The diameter of the wheels on our current wheelchair is 7.5″ whereas the rear wheels on the newly supplied chair are 12.25″ which is some 60% bigger. This will mean that apart from the extra resilience of the tyres, the larger rear wheels will make the job of mounting/dismounting kerbs when they have not been dropped sufficiently so much easier. In addition, the new chair came complete with a pressure cushion and this lifts Meg that much higher on the ground, thus helping to keep her feet clear of obstacles. So far, we have only wheeled Meg around the house but tomorrow being a Tuesday will probably be the acid test when I wheel Meg down for one of our weekly coffee meetings. The chair is made locally and the materials used in its construction seem quite high so I am very grateful to the powers that be for supplying it. I have actually checked out that this is Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust which is evidently funded by the NHS and not by local authorities. However, I do intend to send a note of thanks to our doctor whose completion of the form evidently hit ‘all of the right buttons’ because once the form had been submitted, then the wheelchair was supplied relatively quickly. I had heard horror stories of a wait of up to 18 weeks and hence I am more delighted that the service has been provided so quickly. Having said that, I have found motorists and pedestrians to be remarkably accommodating when they have observed me pushing Meg in her conveyance up and down the local highways. I suspect that this tolerance is much more than might be accorded to young mothers with children in buggies as the children are so much lighter and the mothers so much younger and fitter than applies to Meg and myself.

Last night there was much excitement, if that is the right word, over the England v. Slovakia football match. Slovakia scored a goal in the first half whilst the performance of England, a step up from the recent past but not a great deal better, was generally regarded as dire. Six minutes of injury time were to be played and the commentators were all gloomily discussing the consequences of an early England exit from the competition having been well and truly beaten. For some reason, the England players do not seem to run at the competition and I wonder if they are really frightened by them all or do not have the skills or the speed to get past them. The English players constantly pass the ball sideways to each other in their own third of the pitch and progress up the pitch is painfully slow. The whole nation was just about reconciled to a humiliating England defeat when the almost local (Stourbridge) hero, Jude Bellingham, produced the most stunning overhead kick to score an equaliser. Then injury time was played and the England captain, Harry Kane, scored the winning goal with a header one minute into injury time. So we had the extraordinary spectacle that England has scarcely had a shot on goal for some 95 minutes and then produce two goals in two minutes to win the match. So the speculation that the England manager must go immediately was stilled for the moment but will no doubt start all over again at the point at which we will get beaten by the Swiss when we meet them in a few days time. This is must have been one of the greatest ‘get out of jail’ performances of all time and one wonders how long the England team can survive if they play as poorly as this.

The United States Supreme Court, stuffed full of Trump nominees have issued a ruling concerning whether Trump should be immune from prosecution for the attacks upon the Capital building after the last election. The Court have made a ‘non-decision’ which is actually a decision saying that Trump would be immune from prosecution for ‘official’ acts but not for ‘unofficial’ acts and the case is to be sent back to lower courts. This case will not get through the system before the presidential elections in November and has therefore played right into Trump’s hands. If re-elected and a further court case is decided against him whilst he is in office, he will just dismiss the charges against him. The separation of powers (between the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government) are flagrantly not working in the American constitution as they should and it looks as though, once again, Trump has stared into the abyss and got away with it.

Beth Rigby, the renowned Sky News political correspondent, is arguing that the shape of the final results on Thursday will very much depend on how the recently formed Reform party fare. They are currently only some 4 percentage points behind the Tories (at 16% whilst the Tories are on 20%) but, of course, it all depends on how the vote pans out in individual constituencies around the land. There are only two and a half days left now for any bombshells to land and I am waiting for them to be launched shortly.

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