When I woke up this morning I remembered that daughter Chloe had spent the night and so had the pleasure of her company until after lunch, when she returned East Dulwich. This was one of those rare occasions when it was not necessary to ask Chloe to help me deal with a backlog of printing for this blog, so instead we were able to have a nice relaxed morning and chat together. Chloe. leads a very busy life or atypical modern mum. As a mother of three young schoolchildren or, in effect, four, if you include Karl! As a consultant in clinical psychology at the Maudsley Hospital, three days a week and, what the Americans call a homemaker, in other words, someone who runs the household, and to have a couple of nights away from that, where she can perhaps have a lie in, is an unknown luxury which no doubt, does her a power of good, when she comes here.
The recent scare over my health, I suspect is the reason for the increase in visits from both children. Now that I am showing definite signs of improvement, it may well mean I shall see less of her but whatever the reason, it was lovely to see her today.
After another satisfactory night, under the vigilance of my night nurse Sylvia, I picked up, on the World Service, which I have playing all night, the latest dramas concerning the Euro and the Eurozone. This time it was Spain again, rather than the recent alarms we have heard about Greece. The Spanish government had come to the market to raise €40 billion to bolster then banks reserves. They had made it clear they did not wish to raise this money through the IMF or the World Bank, the subtleties of which escaped me, particularly in the dark wee hours. However, some independent audit had worked out that they needed at least double that sum so the general feeling was that they should ask for €100 billion.
How this money differs from that raised through the IMF et al, at approximately 6% interest, is beyond me, as generally, when you look at it, it is still debt that has to be paid off in the long run and this is yet another stalling process to put off the evil day. As I have said many months ago. I believe the Eurozone to be fundamentally compromised and the inevitable outcome will be some sort of re-arrangement, or two tiered market, with Germany, heading up the elite more stable countries and the second tier, including such countries as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
In discussing this to my carers when I was being got up and dressed this morning, one of them told me of an elderly relative who had been advised by a very senior government minister, purely in a friendly exchange, to liquidate her stock exchange holdings and have the flexibility of cash. I reminded her of the pre-war depression and the effect that it had on anyone in Germany who had taken such advice, where it became clear that on this occasion chattels and real property were the sort of thing to be in, certainly not cash with raging inflation. Some people were having to be paid twice daily, in an attempt to keep up with inflation, and currency was being printed in millions of Deutschmarks. So much so that people were taking wheelbarrow loads of currency to buy the basic commodities of life. No, certainly in those days, no one wanted to be in cash. I can claim no knowledge of what happened to the ordinary man in the street during this nightmare of spiralling inflation but I understand that the best thing was to be in debt. Provided you have something valuable you could sell at the right time and thus eliminate your debts for a fraction of what they had cost you.
I shudder to think how we would cope under similar circumstances and pray I do not have to find out the hard way.
Chloe left shortly after lunch to return to her brood we were pulling her leg about the sort of state the house would be in when she returned, however, she quickly disabused us of this common misunderstanding. Today’s ideal husband takes on his share of most of the ordinary household activities. After all, if both husband and wife work, why should he not share in the running the home? By that it is meant anything from changing nappies to cleaning the house, shopping etc. In fact, I was pleased to learn from my daughter that son-in-law, Karl is, an almost perfect example of this modern man.
Going back to my generation, when most wives did not work, the modern man in those days would come home and expect a little bit of fuss to be made of him. He would shortly be comfortably seated in his favourite armchair with a pipe or cigarette and a small glass of sherry, or the like, and his wife or one of the older children would be scurrying around for his slippers. I wonder whether I would have coped with this modern man approach!
Coming back to today. there have been horrendous floods in North Wales, where a month’ s rainfall has been thrown at the inhabitants in one day! You can imagine the chaos that that it has caused, and very heavy rainfall, in the same part of the country, is forecast for today. The people who seem to have been most affected are the poor souls who live in caravan parks. From a purely selfish point of view.
I must confess that I have an element of smug satisfaction in having bought a house that is something like 600 feet above sea level. I would like to say that this was a deliberate choice on my behalf, bearing in mind the flooding possibility, but that would be totally untrue. The fact is that it was pure serendipity where the choice that was made just happened to be the right one, when it came to flooding.
A short e-mail from the good Doctor Michael, flying over Singapore to let us know that all was well and he was well underway home. I suppose the amazing aspect of this is that the message was sent from his BlackBerry. Singapore holds abiding memories for me. The first time I was there in 1956. I found myself barricaded in the British Club as a result of some rioting, which was going on. The second time and there was years later, with’ my lovely’ and it was there that we learned that Princess Diana had been killed in Paris.
The weather forecasters were right (for once!), Although it is still quite early in the morning it is beginning to rain and the depth of greyness in the sky gives one the feeling that is not likely to stop for sometime. The temperature is well down in single figures and here we are ten-day short of the beginning of summer!
I finish this rather dismal entry with a short moving story, that is going round the clubs, of a poor chap who was recently killed on a golf course. Click here for the full sad story.