Tuesday, 7th April, 2020

[Day 22]

What a beautiful day it was today – sunny with clear blue skies and the modicum of wind. I can report that having been bereft of ducklings, we were delighted to see another brood of four ducklings emerge. Whether it was 40% of the previous group of ten or whether they were absolutely newly hatched chicks born to a different mother (which I can suspect), who can say? We were also delighted to see some of our favourite friends who live just down the road and who we used to see at Mass on a Saturday evening – the latter habit we have got into to enhance our range of social contacts, but we did manage to give some solace to the Monsignor when he was stricken with colon cancer and Meg and I went on a journey to see him at a rather splendid diocesan retreat for sick and retired priests (in a house designed by Pugin) located in Staffordshire. Our friends seemed, like us, to be bearing up quite well – they were going to walk across the public park in Bromsgrove (Sanders Park – donated by a 19th C. industrialist) and round the grounds of Grafton Manor which is an Elizabethan manor house in the vicinity and used, in more normal times, as a wedding venue and up-market restaurant. Bromsgrove has a festival of arts and similar events once a year and Grafton Manor has hosted some concerts there. We attended a concert in which a young violinist played Mendelssohn’s violin concerto brilliantly (if I remember correctly).

We had a quiet afternoon in which I rediscovered the joys of dusting, polishing, etc (our bathroom on this occasion). I suppose years ago, and perhaps even today, there used to be the ritual of the ‘Spring Clean’ and so this was a brilliant opportunity to reinvent the tradition. Actually, whilst turning out our bedroom, I did discover a hardback notebook that I had forgotten about. It was actually a 2019 Page-a-Day diary but I had labelled it up nicely with some of those little stick-on letters that you can buy in some stationers. The idea behind it is this. Often by our telephone and on our working desks, we have little notebooks in which we write down the ephemera of the day. In the course of time, a lot of this can be junked – but the more important bits of information (telephone number, people’s names and addresses) can be written up in the Scrapbook where they will not get lost (at least that it the theory, anyway – it only works, though, if you make a conscious effort to transfer useful stuff from your daily jottings into it on a regular basis) The idea for this came to me several years ago when I got frustrated learning how to do something on the computer (e.g. finding software that puts captions across the bottom of photos that you wish to keep) So I called this book ‘What have I learnt/re-learnt TODAY’ and I notice that I actually started it in March 2102 (evidently 8 years ago) My little system is. like this – whenever I discover a new technique or something I wish to retain, then I will enter it on a new page with the date first and the subject matter second. Opening it at random, for example, the entry for Wednesday, 20th August 2014 was ‘MCH’s own URL shortener’ i.e. a way of taking a long and complex web address and shortening it into something more memorable without going to the trouble and expense of buying a new domain name (although I do do this on occasions) Then, at the back of the book I have an index of all of my entries (they number 92 at the moment) which gives the subject matter and then a date e,g, see entry for such-and-such a date. I must say, that I found this system does work very well for me – how many of us can remember what you did in March, 2012 if you do not use the technique regularly? Anyway, as I thought it was of a thin day, I would pass that tip on to all and sundry…