Sunday, 19th September, 2021 [Day 551]

According to the weather forecasters, today should have seen rain showers sweeping across the country. Instead, it was the most glorious autumn day in the morning, followed by a rather cloudy afternoon which did not trouble us a bit as it worked out. This morning, I leapt out of bed at an unearly hour in order to make my early morning trip to our friendly newsagent to collect my copy of  the ‘Sunday Times‘ which is required reading for later on in the day. Then after the Andrew Marr show, a fixed point of Sunday mornings, Meg and I strolled down to the park where the branch meeting of the Bromsgrove Literary and Philosophical Society was soon quorate (with four members, and others by invitation) However, the content was more concerned with mutual joshing rather than the more profound questions of cosmology – I think we were concerned more with who starred in what film rather than anything else. We informed the assembled company that we woiuld not see them for several days as tomorrow we embark on our little holiday to the Brecon Beacons in mid-South Wales. Fortunately, the guest house has corresponded with us so we know that they are expecting us – in addition, I have downloaded the app from so that I have the complete details of the booking on my iPhone (useful to have). So today we had a fairly simple lunch of quiche and the kind of lunch where you are making sure that you eat up all of your greens (and/or throw them away so that they do not fester in the fridge whilst we are away)

So this afternoon, we had devoted most of the late afternoon to our packing activities in readiness for our trip tomorrow. We have decided to pack in a slightly different way on this occasion, so we have decided to lay out absolutely everything that we are going to pack on our bed and then, having oversight of everything, start the proces of packing itself which only takes a few minutes. Of course there are always dilemmas which toiletries to take or to not take but we now have the bulk of it done nd only last minute things (like razors) to be packed tomorrow morning. In addition, our domestic help has very kindly agreed to pop round just before our departure time on Monday morning to give Meg’s hair a bit of a tweak so that she looks at her best before we depart.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day – it could be absolutely delightful if the wather is fair, we have no holdups and we finish up having a good meal in Brecon. However, as always on such occasions, there are also the opportunities for things to go awry starting with traffic jams, parking difficulties and the other exigencies that might occur when you have a journey into the unknown. However, the journey is not a long one when the back of it is broken by shooting down the M5 (quite accessible from our house) so we will have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

I know that survey results can say almost anything they want but I must admit i was a little ‘gobsmacked’ by the reports on Sky News of a recent survey. This purported to show that 20% of the UK population would conider a career in pornography if the salary was high enough and a third of those aged 18-34 said they were tempted by the money they might make in such an industry. The only comment that I think I can usefully make at this point is that ‘I think I have lived too long

An interesting situation is arising politically on the subject of cuts of £20.00 a week to Universal Credit. This was originally a bonus to help those on low incomes cope with the pandemic and was always meant to be a temporary measure. But it is being argued, even within the Conservative party, that £20 a week might not sound a lot to those on high incomes but it could also be half a weeks shopping for those on very low incomes. Some senior Tories are aiming to back a Commons moon, tomorrow (Monday) which would not be binding upon the government but could be a severe embarrassment to it. Of course, this benefit (or benefit cut) will hit many of the Labour voters who voted Conservative in the so-called ‘Red Wall’ seats and certainly not help in the levelling up agenda when fuel prices are increasing rapidly, inflation is taking off and the furlough scheme is ending. If I had to make a guess, it would be that the Government will be forced into a ‘semi U-turn’ and will annouce that the cut will go ahead but stage it so that it is £10 this year and another £10 next year, to soften the blow a bit. Tomorrow, then, the advisory vote takes place in th House of Commons and we shall see!