I heard from Alice late last evening that the whole memorial service and reception afterwards and gone extremely well. She was particularly proud of son Smiler, .who endeared himself to much of the congregation by speaking some Welsh. He has been having lessons for two or three years now and I gather is making good progress in a very difficult language. Chloe also played her part by reading Psalm 23 beautifully
I remember when Karl and Chloe got married and I was told that 20 or so of Karl’s Dutch relatives were attending, I spend about three months trying to learn a few lines of Dutch in order to welcome them. It really is the most harsh and unpleasant sounding language, as half the time, in order to pronounce words correctly, it sounds as though you’re clearing your throat!
. We put through a Skype call to Richard and my mother mid-morning, hoping to find out how Alice’s journey was progressing-she told me she would call in on them on the way back but at 11 a.m she had not yet arrived. although she was expected any minute.
Listening to my World Service, on the BBC during the night, there were still very much speculation about the financial future of Greece. Although the government. there have unanimously agreed all the stringent terms which were being imposed upon them in exchange for a a further â‚¬130 billion to safeguard them against defaulting on their debts, it was by no means certain that Parliament would ratify this agreement., which in the event , I heard they had. Add to that that the 48-hour general strike against the austerity proposals and the whole position looks very tenuous. It really it would not surprise me if shortly they default on the terms of the loan. I believe Germany have said they are no longer prepared to guarantee the Greek debt if they do not abide by the strict terms laid down for them to start clearing their debt. In which case I suspect if they do default, they will be thrown out of the Eurozone. One way or the other, the matter needs resolving soonest as the degree of uncertainty is unsettling the world markets.
The other international news which is causing a great deal of consternation is the situation in Syria. President al-Assad seems determined to hang on to power at whatever cost and we have seen for ourselves how the innocent families are being bombarded in Homs, a stronghold for the rebels. How many hundreds of innocent people have been murdered. this way, we may never know. The Western powers apparently are helpless in this situation and cannot intervene so long as Russia and China are prepared to veto such intervention through the United Nations. Pray that Russia and China shortly see the light so that there can be a unanimous vote in the United Nations to stop this dreadful massacre.
Trouble is also brewing in Egypt against the military who toppled the last president. As in so many previous cases where this has happened, it seems that the military are rather loath to give up power as they seemed prepared to do when they took over in the first place.
The past two or three days with the good doctor had been very pleasant. Quiet, with both was doing our own thing, so not too exhausting. We did manage to sit in the breakfast room on two occasions when I was able to have a cigar and a glass of champagne, which, I’m pleased to say, had no ill effect on my nose at all, so I shall resume my former habits. Michael left around 5.00 pm today, heading back to Sweden. I must say we are both very grateful to him for taking over in Alice’s absence and he was absolutely wonderful about coming down every couple of hours during the night to turn me over. Hopefully we will see him here for a couple of days in March before he heads back to Australia.
As a parting gesture, Michael very kindly wrote a note of his observations of my condition which I can give to the various people at Addenbrookes, pepper and my GP. I know they appreciate his input and I am very lucky to have such an experienced friend.
As this is a fairly serious entry I will give my readers a more erudite diversion than usual. Click here for Puns for Intelligent People.