12 November 2023

We’ve had some really lovely days this week – bright sunny, blue skies with clouds wisping by in the stiff breeze. Rain today, though. Oh well.

Nick very kindly took me to the rugby in Northampton last Saturday. Nick’s current company, Raging Bull, recently came to an agreement with the club – Raging Bull will provide the clothing for the team when they travel to fixtures, etc. and, in return they will gain lots of publicity and the occasional complimentary ticket. Nick picked me up and we set off up the road to the ground, only about half an hour away. We met a couple of the club’s representatives and got treated like VIPs including admittance to the Captain’s Bar, which is reserved exclusively for very important people. Never mind that after leaving the bar we had considerable difficulty getting back into the ground until we eventually found someone who could vouch for us and we were allowed back in, found our seats and had a great time. It was a good match and the “right” team won. We were a bit disappointed that the bigger names for either team weren’t playing – they were taking a brief break following their participation at the World Cup. So, no Finn Russell, the Scottish flyhalf who plays for Bath (the visiting team) and no Courteney Lawes, an English flanker who plays for Northampton. Good fun and looking forward to more opportunities.

Penelope continues to teach the children of Banbury how to read with enthusiasm and expression every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. So far, so good, she says and the extra few hours away from me each time is a bonus.

I picked up some new glasses earlier in the week. I had been experiencing headaches and a bit of double-vision so I went along to see if they could sort me out. The young lady who carried out my eye test assured me that these new spectacles would fix everything and, my goodness, she may well be right. I am now seeing things very much more sharply and without any double-vision. These new specs have something called a prism in the lenses which is used in eyeglasses for some people with diplopia, or double vision – that’s me! The prism apparently helps to align the two images, so that only one image is seen. Who knew? I was imagining that I might have rainbow-tinted vision but that’s not the case. She did warn me, though, that they might take some getting used to which is certainly turning out to be true. We’ll see how we get on.

I guess most of you will not have been following the Covid enquiry – there have been some “astonishing revelations” in recent days. According to evidence so far, the liar Boris, PM at the time, was “useless” and indecisive, more concerned with settling his divorce from his then wife having set up house with the woman who would become his third wife (or is it fourth or fifth – who can keep up?). Matt Hancock, the Health Minister at the time, was generally considered to be an incompetent liar, continually promising and either underdelivering or not delivering at all.

The “interesting” thing from my perspective is that none of this ought to be a surprise – we all knew the government was useless and indecisive – first lockdown too late, send all the kids back to school for one day in January and then announce the second lockdown, ad nauseam. And, we’ve always known they were liars.

Having said that, although we were well aware that Boris didn’t think the virus was a big deal, we didn’t really know until now just how completely bonkers he was. As well as suggesting that blowing a hair dryer up his nose would kill the virus, he also proposed injecting himself with the virus live on television to prove it was harmless. Too bad the civil servants (the only ones with brains, it seems and some of them not too much) persuaded him otherwise.

The Guardian has pretty extensive coverage of the enquiry. If you are interested at all you can follow their reporting here.

Two “You Could Not Make It Up” for you this week. Firstly, living in a tent on the street is a “lifestyle choice” according to the current idiot occupying the position of Home Secretary. Nothing to do with being homeless for whatever reason, but rather a positive decision to live on the streets. She wants to enact legislation that would prevent charities from distributing tents to those forced to live rough. Suella Braverman has never been short of stupidly outlandish things to say in an effort to appeal to the knuckle-scraping loonies on the far right of the Conservative party. Some senior Tories suspect she is trying to get herself sacked from the cabinet so that she can launch a leadership bid when the Tories lose the next election.

Secondly, the UN Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schutter, has suggested that the UK is in breach of international law over the continuing levels of poverty in the country.

It’s simply not acceptable that we have more than a fifth of the population in a rich country such as the UK at risk of poverty today [referring to government data showing that 14.4 million people lived in relative poverty in 2021-22 – a million more than the previous year]. The policies in place are not working or not protecting people in poverty, and much more needs to be done for these people to be protected.

Olivier De Schutter

And finally, I ran across this the other day – a woman who has taken a photograph with her son on his birthday every year – a lovely collection of interesting photos.

And finally, finally, the Northern Lights have been putting on quite a show all over the country over the past week. We’ve not seen them but a neighbour in the village said she saw them and there have been numerous photos online showing the Northern Lights as far south as Devon and Cornwall.

Northern Lights over Stonehenge

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, be good, be careful, and keep safe. And be gentle to wasps and bees.

Lots of love to you all,


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