Friday, 20th January, 2023

[Day 1040]

This morning I leapt out of bed sufficiently early for me to get myself washed, dressed and ready to enter the supermarket as soon as it opened. Although we had a frost last night, the car was not as iced up as it was a few days ago so it was relatively easy to get onto the open road and the traffic was generally quite light as well. Before I went out, my son kindly donated to me a Pure Radio which is almost an exact replacement for one that I already have except that it is ‘stuck’ on one station (which happens to be Classic FM) and is therefore almost non-functional. The Pure DAB radios are really easy both to tune and to save favourite stations to presets and also has the feature of displaying the time in a bright, digital display so I am glad to have a nice functional unit in place once again. Last night, I received a special delivery from Amazon which was a copy on the actual publication day of my great niece’s first novel. This seems to be rather a ‘dark’ oevre but reading the dedications and acknowledgements to family and friends was interesting and as far as I have got at the moment. My great niece has always shown a great talent both for acting and also for creative writing – it is said that many novels have a degree of autobiography about them and I feel that this is probably true in this case as well. Once I had got back from shopping a largish prcel had arrived which was the collection of 46 classical CDs for which I had placed a successful on eBay a few days ago. Unpacking and carefully organised the CDs into some special plastic containers (already judiciously purchased from Poundland) was a pleasure that had to await our return from our visit to the Waitrose cafe where we met one of our regulars who even at her age is still a keen bowler during the winter months. I knew almost exactly what the collection of CDs would contain and, no doubt, the pleasure that they will give will unwind during the days ahead. Whilst we were having lunch, Meg and I treated ourselves to some famous Bach choruses sung by The Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists under the baton of John Eliot Gardiner which must rate as as definitive a performance as it is possible to get. In fact, I was so delighted with the collection that I wrote a special note to the chappie on eBay who had sold them, explaining how these CDs were ones that were very consistent with our own musical tastes and how the CDs had gone to a ‘good’ home. Although a seller just wants to complete a transaction, the whole collection had evidently been been carefully thought about and assembled by a real aficianado so I felt he/she deserved to learn of their ultimate fate.

Quite a chilly air is still very much in evidence and despite the wearing of two sweaters, both Meg and I felt as though we could do with something a little hotter than our seabass served on a bed of lettuce. The dilemma was solved by serving the fish on one of those low-carb packets (sweet potato in this case)and the result was both delicious and warming.In fact, this combination reminded me of the days when at Leicester Polytechnic, the then Medical Officer of Health (who is the local government official charged with public health responsibilities)used to give a talk once a year to Health Visitors and Field Work Teachers. One, in particular, was concerned even in the 1980’s about the importance of good diet and the avoidance of obesity and junk-food generated disease patterns. His standard line of argument always used to be that we needed here in the affluent West to adopt the ‘poor man’s diet’ of fish and rice which seemed somewhat ‘way out’ when he was giving his advice but somewhat less so now that we are one or two decades down the track. Last night in the evening, Meg and I settled down to watch some back episodes of ‘Happy Valley’ on the BBC i-player in which we have become completely engrossed. I was psychologically prepared to leap up every 30-40 minutes to overcome the buffering problems that have plagued our FireStick since we have started to use it much more to catch up on past episodes. As I was poised in readiness, the technology performed flawlessly for an hour of the repeated programme – which I suppose is a sort of Sod’s Law in operation. Half way through the afternoon, our next door neighbour called around to tell us that her brother has died last night in a hospital in Wales. This was not at all unexpected but of course, it is always a bit of a shock when it occurs however prepared one feels one is. We gave what words of comfort we can and resolved to have the neighbours round for a cup of tea and a chat once the immediate turmoils are behind them. When a relative dies, there is always quite a lot to be done but her employers are expecting her back at work on the dot first thing tomorrow morning.