10 March 2024

Same old, same old. Good days, bad days. Only two more days for Dr Google’s prognosis that most people’s symptoms disappear in 4 to 6 weeks. So, on Tuesday I’ll be as right as rain!

We’ve done little this week. Or, perhaps I should say I’ve done little this week. My carer continues to be as busy as a one-armed paper hanger. She’s ferried me back and forth to the chiropractor, she’s read with her primary school children two days this week, she walks Daisy both morning and afternoon, she cooks, she cleans, she washes up, she hoovers, she plays bridge, she goes to Garden Club committee meetings. I’m tired just thinking about it. And before you say, “So, what else is new?” one or two of those tasks I used to do occasionally but I am currently unable to be of any assistance to her. She is magnificent and well beyond anything I deserve.

We saw a Neurology consultant on Friday afternoon. He went through my MRI with me and pointed out the bulging disks and the general stenosis. At one point he commented, “this is the spine of a 73-year-old.” No doubt he was just trying to reassure me that there was nothing extraordinarily wrong with my back. But, it’s still disconcerting to be reminded that I’m an old man now.

He has recommended that we go for an epidural injection of steroids and anti-inflammatories in the first instance which should help to settle things down, fingers crossed. So, I’ll continue to hobble along until that comes through, hopefully sometime in the next four to six weeks, which is pretty good considering the devastation the Tories have wrought on the NHS. I do have to say that I am making slow progress and most days are marginally better than the previous one. Frustratingly, the progress is glacially slow but things continue to trend in the right direction.

We’re in the middle of watching a couple of series, one of which I would recommend unreservedly. The other? A bit of a disappointment to me but we’re too far invested now to give it up.

The first is A Small Light which is currently streaming on Disney + in the UK but you may find it elsewhere. It’s the story of Anne Frank told through the lens of Miep Gies, the Dutch woman who risked her life to shelter the Frank family from the Nazis for more than two years during World War II. It was she who rescued Anne Frank’s diaries after the family were arrested. She hoped that she would be able to return the papers to Anne but only the father, Otto, survived. Even though you’re familiar with the story (and the ending) it’s still very tense and suspenseful as well as, of course, being very moving. Great acting and wonderfully filmed.

The other series we’re about half way through is One Day featuring a couple of actors of whom I had hitherto been unaware. Many of you I guess will have read the book by David Nicholls and/or seen the film with Anne Hathaway. I really enjoyed the book and was looking forward to the series. (I don’t think I ever saw the film but who knows?) The reviews for the series have been generally very positive and an article in the Guardian hailed it as a triumph. I’m not convinced as, so far, I’ve just not been able to engage with either of the main characters. Perhaps it will come but so far, meh.

Lots of YCNMIUs this week, not all of which consist of a rant! What are the chances of that?

Firstly, did you see the story about the 11-year-old boy who was stopped by police while driving a black BMW X5 along the M1 motorway towing a stolen caravan?

Even after over 23 years’ service, you come across things that you struggle to comprehend. Like yesterday when some great fast-track work from the team identified a recently stolen caravan being towed by a vehicle on false plates, but then to find the driver was only 11 years old.

Sgt Paul Cording, North Yorkshire police

Or, how about the report commissioned by the government into low-traffic network schemes which the PM had denounced as being an attack on motorists. The government hoped the findings would support their view that LTNs were a case of another looney labour policy. In fact, the report concluded that they were both beneficial and popular with residents. Oh dear! What to do? Sit on the report and try to prevent its publication, of course.

But surely the largest YCNMIU this week was the Chancellor’s budget. It is astonishing that politicians can stand up in Parliament and deliver a slurry of statements which are patently untrue. “The Conservatives are the Party of growth.” Last time I looked GB was deemed to be in recession. “The Conservatives stand for low taxes” says the Chancellor whilst presiding over a tax level the highest it has been since the aftermath of the second World War.

The biggest cheers came from the Labour side of the house when he announced that he was abolishing tax breaks for those who live in the UK but claim to be domiciled elsewhere. A Labour policy, as it happens and a policy which only three months ago the Chancellor and the PM were insisting wouldn’t work as it would drive wealthy non-doms out of the country. Similarly, when he adopted another Labour policy to extend the windfall tax on the profits of the gas and oil industries. If you’re going to implement Labour policies, why not just have an election and get it over with?

Interestingly enough, the Telegraph had previously claimed that the plan to scrap non-dom status, “would lead to Britons fleeing the UK to avoid the taxes, leaving the government with a black hole of more than £350 million a year after five years”. This analysis was allegedly based on a Treasury Department document seen by the Telegraph.

In a Freedom of Information request, an organisation called openDemocracy asked the Treasury to disclose the analysis reportedly seen by the Telegraph. The department initially said it did not hold the information requested, after which openDemocracy asked for an internal review of the finding. Officials then “conducted further searches limited to information relating to non-dom status and the conclusion of analysis reported in the Telegraph article” – but came back empty handed. The Treasury press office subsequently confirmed that no such analysis exists. In other words, the Telegraph just made it up. It probably will come as no surprise that many of the large media outlets in the UK are owned by people claiming Non-Dom status.

You clearly can make this shit up!

It’s Mothering Sunday today and Adam, Ava and the girls are coming over to make Sunday lunch for us. Well, for Penny really but I suspect they’ll let me join them. Looking forward to it.

Although it’s a religious event, Mothering Sunday has become conflated with the American Mother’s Day holiday and is nowadays regarded as the UK equivalent.

I always used to try to talk with my mother on Mothering Sunday. My wishing her a happy Mothering Sunday was always a pleasant (I hope) surprise for her as she wasn’t necessarily expecting a call from her wayward, foreign son. So, with that in mind, Happy Mothering Sunday to my mother and all the rest of the many mothers out there. (Of course, I often forgot to call her on the American Mother’s Day so getting my good wishes in early was probably a good thing).

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

Lots of love to you all,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.