When I was at work this would have been a holiday week because it was Susan's birthday week. I had six weeks holiday for much of my working life and four were always reserved for important weeks in our lives: our birthdays, the week we met and the week we married. Christmas usually accounted for another, so there was always a floating week which we sometimes bolted onto one of the other weeks. It was a system which worked well.
This week has been a little different. An elderly friend who lives alone has been in hospital with a broken shoulder and I have been visiting him daily, then 'phoning around his family and other friends with news. With luck he will go home next week and others will play a more active role in his care and support as we live too far away and don't have a car.
I also broke a filling and had to dash off to the dentist. I now have two appointments before Christmas so that I can have a crown made and fitted. I also had to go for a pre-op interview, as I am having a 'juvenile' bunion operated on in early-January and will be out of action for some time. Both these things happened on Susan's birthday, but we did manage to have a nice long lunch at the Loch Fyne seafood restaurant in town and saw the temporary ice rink in the Market Square. Our arrival home coincided with our friend Judith coming round with a very scrummy chocolate cake which just keeps on going (thank you Judith).
Yesterday I had my picture taken by the Evening Post for a news story they hope to run about my planned Lenton walking map for next spring. We will see if they do. By far the most depressing news this week has been about Labour's 'Donorgate' with high-ranking Party officials and government ministers claiming ignorance of the law or that they have done nothing wrong in accepting donations from one person via another. Coming so soon after the cash for honours scandal it makes one feel ashamed to be a member of the Labour Party, even though I know these idiots who bring the Party into disrepute are a very small minority. The trouble is they have top jobs.
So, what is to be done? I am in no doubt. They should be reprimanded by the Labour Party and barred from holding public or Party office for a suitable period of time. The public has to see that we do not treat this kind of behaviour lightly. There cannot be one law for ordinary mortals and another for the great and the good. These people have become detached from reality.
For years, Susan was the Financial Supervisor of our local credit union. Susan spent a good day every month going though the records and accounts, sometimes asking questions, sometimes highlighting concerns. She was expected to know the rules and regulations governing credit unions and had to take part in training days. If something had gone wrong, Susan would have been called to account and would not have been able to hide behind excuses. And so it should be with the Labour Party. I hope there is no cover up. I hope there are prosecutions and I hope people are forced to resign if they don't have the decency to do it voluntarily.
I voted for Harriet Harman in the Deputy Labour Party Leadership contest earlier this year and feel betrayed. Her excuses are feeble mumblings and her behaviour is that of someone without any sense of honour or responsibility. She cannot hide behind her 'campaign team'. If she has any sense of obligation to the Labour Party then she should resign. It is all so, so sad and she only has herself to blame. She is an experienced politician who has done a lot of good things over the years, but this only makes what she allowed to happen worse. She should have known better.
I decribe my blog as being about 'life in and around a small inner-city park' and so it is. This week my life has been touched by a national scandal, as well as more personal events which remind me of the importance of goodness and friends and family. These are the things which matter most, but we cannot escape from the fact that how we are able to live our lives as individuals and a community is shaped and influenced, to some degree, by events in other places — which is why we have to take an interest in them, even if we would rather being thinking about things closer to home.
Happy Birthday Susan and thank you Alicia and Steve for the lovely flowers and Judith for the chocolate cake. I love you all.
Harriet Harman, the Labour deputy leader, was forced to implicate Gordon Brown deeper into the donor scandal last night as Scotland Yard was called in to investigate the affair.