Scrapbook: Week 13

March 25-31, 2023

SATURDAY 25 Only on the lunaticย fringes of the chatterati can you find anyone saying Boris is anything other than a busted flush.

๐Ÿ“Œ It was meant to be a quiet day: visit my old hometown neighbourhood, have a drink in the local pub, then head back into the city centre and an evening meal at a Chinese restaurant.

Anfield Road, Liverpool, my old neighbourhood, on match day…

But while we waited for a bus on Oakfield Road a loud crash was followed by our friend Rachel screaming “Oh my God!” Then I saw the bus shelter we were standing in collapsing on top of us to a slow soundtrack of clank and crunch. An out-of-control truck had ploughed into the shelter (a policeman told us later the driver had suffered a “medical incident”). Caving in beneath the wreckage I tried to hold up the debris while my wife crawled free. Our friend Rachel was flat out, bleeding badly. Somehow, with help of quick-witted muscular bystanders, I escaped with a cut leg and a damaged shoulder. My wife had cuts to her head, and Rachel is in hospital awaiting an operation for a badly broken leg.

The flattened bus shelter (and runaway truck), from beneath which we all somehow managed to escape with our lives…
As first reported in the local newspaper. Updates followed…
That fella was me…

SUNDAY 26 At the hospital yesterday, a doctor told my wife to focus on the positives of yesterday’s horrific event, but that is easier said than done and low emotions are never far beneath the surface. We’ve already told the story several times to several different police officers, paramedics and hospital staff. It will be difficult to shake off the nightmares, especially when dark humour intervenes. This morning I found shards of broken glass in my jacket pocket. In the right setting they look like uncut diamonds.

Glass diamonds…

MONDAY 27 We decided to stay an extra day in Liverpool because our friend is still in hospital awaiting a decision on when her broken leg can be operated on. When we return to London I will get my damaged shoulder (in sling) checked out, but at the moment painkillers seem to be doing the job.

๐Ÿ“Œ Ageing southern English taxi drivers are a rare breed. The one driving us to the railway station in Liverpool spent 10 minutes whingeing about “whingeing scousers” and what a pathetic bunch they are. He didn’t get a tip.

๐Ÿ“Œ Our friend Rachel was in a much cheerier mood today, settling into a lengthy stay in hospital (surgery then physio) with a request for nail-polish remover.

TUESDAY 28 Tortoise says Humza Yousaf offers the people of Scotland a “beguiling picnic of promises”.

๐Ÿ“Œ To the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith with Marge for the latest adaptation of Accidental Death of an Anarchist, a gloriously skilful romp around police corruption and the politics of “truth”.

At the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith…

WEDNESDAY 29 It was consoling in the light of recent events to be kept awake in the middle of the night not just by my injured shoulder but by the repeat of a fabulous radio documentary about Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive.

๐Ÿ“Œ At the Minor Injuries Unit at Bart’s Hospital in Smithfield they told me I had a fractured scapular and to expect a call from the Fractures Clinic for further treatment.

A fractured scapular is somewhere in there…

THURSDAY 30 With plenty of time to do nothing I am very much enjoying listening to old movie soundtracks and reading A Loyal Character Dancer, the second of the 12 Inspector Chen Cao Shanghai-based crime stories by Qiu Xiaolong. Chen is currently being chased around the city by triads who want to stop him finding a missing person. At his side is a glamorous American cop, whose obvious charms are doing their thing on the 35-year-old poet-policeman.

๐Ÿ“Œ The impression I get from dealing with the police over our recent brush with death tells me that an awful lot of it is boring admin, filling in forms, following procedure and being anonymous. In the hospital, all the staff were the amazing people that gives the NHS its prized place in the nation’s heart. The mind boggles at their skills and strength of character, but there simply aren’t enough of them and there is no sign that there ever will be. If ever there was a vocation for the nation, the NHS is it.

FRIDAY 31 It’s been a varied week politically, but much of it has passed me by in a whirlwind of otherness. There is a body of opinion that says the SNP is a spent force in Scottish politics now that the wee iron lassie (Nichola Sturgeon) has gone. And Donald Trump finally got himself arrested a week later than he said he would. But the political event of the week, which wasn’t really one at all, was the government’s newly announced green strategy, which flies in the face of conventional wisdom and the adopted policies of Europe, the US and China. While the rest of the world opts for investment in non-fossil, renewable fuels and their associated technologies, our government is gambling on carbon capture and wants to rig its carbon output by pumping it into vast caves beneath the floor of the North Sea.

๐Ÿ“Œ To the Curve gallery at the Barbican to see the latest exhibition, Them’s The Breaks, which builds a series of human environments from the junk thrown out after office refits. It was a good chance to re-examine the space for when the Headway exhibition moves in at the end of July. If anything, I got more excited about it than I already was.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…


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