Saturday, 14th January, 2023

[Day 1034]

Today has been a wonderfully enjoyable day so far. The weather was a bit cold and miserable outside and in view of the occasional showers, we were not at all tempted to go for a daily walk. Instead we had a leisurely breakfast aided by our morning ‘concert’ Since I have installed my new Panasonic mini hifi system in the kitchen with easily accessible CDs by the side of the unit, we often treat ourselves to a ‘de facto’ concert whilst we are preparing breakfast, eating it and then washing up afterwards but Saturday morning is a bit of an exception as the presenter on ClassicFM is Aled Jones. I must say that I knew him as the famous boy soprano but according to the Wikipedia entry, Jones became famous for the cover version of ‘Walking in the Air’, the song from Channel 4’s animated film The Snowman, based on the book by Raymond Briggs. The record reached number five in the UK charts in 1985. I don’t know how much influence the presenter has in conjunction with the producer but I found Aled Jones choice of music and presentational style completely consistent with my own tastes. I do not have many dislikes apart from what I call ‘te-tum-te-tum’ type music and there is a bit too much William Walton as well, but generally I am pretty content with what ClassicFM has to offer during the day (and occasionally during the night as well) Today we met with our University of Birmingham friend by arrangement in the Waitrose coffee bar and had over an hour of really informative chat with each other. We both had some little pieces of electrical equipment we are going to let each other have use of when we next meet, which is probably tomorrow. We also had the opportunity to chat with one of our pre-pandemic friends who used to be a very serious fell walker before some of the infirmities of old age struck us down. We exchanged experiences that we both had in our youth (me on one occsion only, our acquaintance much more often) of ‘skinny dipping’ – so called because the only bathing suit you have on is your own skin. Meg and I treat ourselves to whatever is on special offer from the Waitrose bakery and today we had chocolate muffins which turned out to be absolutely delicious so we must repeat the experience when we can. When we returned hom, we had some tomato and pepper packet soup and then I got cooking the lunch time meal. On a Saturday, this often is what emerges from the depth of the freezer and on this occasion it was some beef mince, mixed with some fried onions and then made a bit more moist with some onion gravy and a dollop of the cheap brown sauce that I frequently use to tart up what stews or mixtures I am cooking at the moment. The bit of rioja we had left over from a few days ago also went down pretty well.

Today being Saturday is the day when we attend church, leaving the house at about 5.30. I am looking forward to the day when we can do this in the light rather than the dark. But first, we treated ourselves to some more classical music tracks this afternoon. Because our ‘normal’ CD storage racks are quite full, when we buy new CDs we tend to put them in a bundle in some of our numerous bookcases and here it is easy to forget all about them. So it proved to be today and we found two CDs which we thoroughly enjoyed. The first of these was ‘Duets from Fmous operas’ whilst the second was similarly famous operatic arias so this proved to be a wonderful little bonus for us. By the way, as though we do not have enough classical CDs, I have recently developed a real liking for Mozart piano sonatas (as well as the well-known concertos) and last night was lucky in an ebay auction where I acquired a CD for 99p plus postage. I suppose that certain music lovers have in the past acquired huge libraries of classical CDs but now they have the technology to have digital versions which are much more space saving as well as searchable in a way that CDs are not- hence they are disposing of them at prices that might be a fraction of what they initially paid for them.

In about a fortnight’s time, no doubt, the ‘6 Nations’ Rugby season will start and at weekly and fortnightly intervals, we can be treated to a feast of matches. On ‘playing’ weekend, we can have two matches on a Saturday and one on the following Sunday and I still enjoy this so much more than football which I rarely watch. I find the arm wrestling and shirt pulling totally off-putting and in my view (evidently not widely shared) I would give a yellow card for the first offence and a red for the second every time I witnessed this. Incidentally, I think the women’s game might be more enjoyable to watch as it is a bit more ‘positional’ and a bit less of the brute physicality that characterises the men’s game.