Scrapbook: Week 19

May 6-13, 2023

SATURDAY 6 King Charles might have plans to “modernise” the monarchy, but over at the Socialist Worker, very little changes…

“What’s another word for parade?”…

📌 I’m sure Keir Starmer is a decent man, but he does present as having no personality whatsoever. Saying the next James Bond should be a woman just doesn’t cut it.

📌 Peter Kellner in the Guardian warns that the devastating losses for the Conservatives in the local elections might be down to abstaining Conservative voters writing off the local elections as a lost cause. But they could return at a general election and swing the outcome.

📌 Coronation update: I’ve heard of the expression “riding shotgun”, but never “riding javelin”.

📌 Coronation update: Felt sorry for Harry, left to walk alone behind everyone else.

📌 Coronation update: Princess Anne is wearing another one of her ridiculous ceremonial pointy hats.

📌 Coronation update: Was that Penny Mordaunt in a Maid Marion costume who handed the big sword to Charles? Yes, it was.

Penny and her big sword…

📌 Coronation update: At St Giles‘ Father Jack laid on a spread of drinks, cucumber sandwiches and cake, lots of cake. Oh, and a live streaming of the Coronation. The promised RAF ceremonial flypast was underwhelming in the extreme, but the atmosphere in the church was warm.

At St Giles’ Coronartion party...

SUNDAY 7 Waved Kate & Pete off on their walking holiday of Croatia then wandered over to Tudor Rose Court for their Coronation tea party. Pleasantly surprised to see some old faces we haven’t seen in a while and glad to hear they can all still gossip and bitch for England. And nice to take a turn around their garden.

At Tudor Rose Court…

📌 Our friend Amanda reckons I will soon be able to play 1980s synthesiser hooks on my Casio keyboard. She cited Enola Gay by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and confessed to believing at the time that the song was titled Alone Again.

📌 We finished off the first series of The Curse, an absurd mock gold-heist caper story set in 1980s London, which ends up being hilarious in its own very stupid way.

MONDAY 8 Every so often our kitchen sink gets blocked, and it’s always a major ordeal to locate the unblocking gel that generally solves the problem. The cupboard under the sink is a vast, ridiculously inaccessible cavern that harbours a number of long-forgotten products that must all be removed before the unblocking can begin. Today I found two, yes, two bottles of white vinegar (“for cleaning”, my wife says), numerous limescale removers, two cans of WD40 and a can of fly/wasp spray that looked like it was excavated from Sutton Hoo.

📌 Pharmacists unhappy with the meagre amounts they are paid by the government are unlikely to go on strike. An awful lot of them are simply closing their businesses for good.

📌 Everton whacked Brighton 5-1, giving Liverpool a helping hand in their quest for European football next season.

TUESDAY 9 In a fight between Boris and Charles III I’m not sure whose side I’d be on.

📌 Penny Mordaunt’s attention-grabbing, sword moment at the coronation of Charles III has made her the bookies favourite to be the next leader of the Conservative Party.

📌 Apparently our blocked sink isn’t a blocked sink, it is a blocked something else far bigger and buried deep inside the fabric of the building.

📌 Our neighbour Bev told my wife that recently she had a dream in which she had been invited to the Coronation in Westminster Abbey, picked a suitably impressive outfit to wear and arrived to discover that it was me and my wife who were being coronated. Bev said we both wore the most exquisite outfits.

📌 Lakshmi, one of the bloggers I follow, writes in a recent post about the philosopher Swami Brahmananda and his belief in “good ventilation”. This refers, Lakshmi says, to both our homes and our minds.

WEDNESDAY 10 I think I’m becoming a fan of Prayer For The Day on the radio, maybe because its emphasis is on reflection rather than church sanctimony. This morning (5.43am) someone rambled on for two minutes about the beauty of a friendship started in childhood that has endured into old age. The prayer ended simply by saying something like, “We are thankful for lasting friendships, Amen.”

📌 In Art Class we began a two-week exploration of “The Crown”, inspired by last weekend’s coronation of Charles III but open to any interpretation. I chose to paint a Crown edifice/temple, which I will place on the crown of a rolling hill, at which observers from below stare in stupefaction. The interior walls of the Crown edifice/temple are lined with scientific depictions of the Coronavirus that brought the nation to a standstill two years ago.

Work in progress: the Coronavirus Crown…

📌 After a suitably toned email to Liam, our area housing manager, the kitchen-sink blockage has been unblocked and normal domestic cleanliness has been resumed.

📌 Harshita says she once got a birthday card with the words “Have a drink on me” on the front. Inside was a tea bag.

THURSDAY 11 Hands Of Time, a fascinating history of watches and watchmaking by expert horologist Rebecca Struthers, is this week’s talking book on the radio for those who wake up in the middle of the night and need to get back to sleep quickly.

📌 The Tory government just nationalised another railway line.

📌 Nick Cave was pictured at the coronation of Charles III. On Facebook Roy Wilkinson claimed it was all his doing and related to some dealings he once had with John Betjeman’s daughter Candida.

Cave at the Coronation….

📌 Bumped into Mo, who told me at length that his doctors had found cysts on one of his three kidneys.

📌 At the Barbican’s Alice Neel exhibition there is a fake living room in which you can sit and read what I suppose to be some of Alice’s favourite books. Reading Andy Warhol’s Diaries I can’t help but notice how he prices everything: “Made phone calls ($2)”… then “cabbed to Park and 18th ($5.50)”.

📌 The Alice Neel exhibition is a feast of creepy hands…

Alice Neel at the Barbican…

FRIDAY 12 A shouty email from Make Votes Matter reports the election of the Mayor of Bedford on a vote share of 33.1%. This is because last year the government extended the much-discredited First Past The Post (FTPT) voting system to include mayoral elections. The big parties love FTTP because it allows them to rule without consensus. Absolute power. Consensus equates with weakness in the UK, unlike in other European democracies, where coalitions and partnerships are common and the business of politics is how to make them work.

📌 Whenever I can’t quite work out the correct French verb ending, my wife tells me it is an “irregular verb” as if I’m meant to know what that is. My reply is that if I carry on learning the number of “irregular” verbs will soon be greater than the number of regular ones. Her reply is to stereotype the French as being difficult.

📌 Zelenskiy said on the radio that he didn’t want the Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Liverpool. He wanted it in one of the countries that shares a border with Ukraine. But not Russia, obvs.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…


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