Saturday, 4th February, 2023

[Day 1055]

Today was the start of a weekend to which we had been looking forward for some time as it was the start of the 6 Nations rugby competition. Rather than a walk in the park this morning, we decided that we would pay a visit to a large multi-product store on the edge of town in order to buy some medicaments and also a couple of little storage baskets. This having been done (and a certain amount of work to remove the extra sticky labels from the same) we returned home to have our elevenses in the comfort of our own home and to have a bit of a read of the newspapers. Then it was a case of having a simple lunch of quiche and vegetables before we settled down for an afternoon of rugby. We are able to watch the whole of the Ireland-Wales match at our leisure but the Englnd-Scotlnd game is another matter. We should be able to watch most of the first half of this match but then our normal church attendance intervenes. We have programmed our PVR on a ‘series record’ and, in theory, we should be able to catch the second half of the match but I am not holding my breath over this.

The news media is dominated today by the massive police search for the woman walking her dog in Lanacashire who has disappeared without trace when walking quite near a river bank. After extensive searches, the police ae working on the theory, but it is only a theory, that the woman had slipped into the river and been swept away. It is possible that as the river had quite steeply banked sides that the dog’s ball rolled into the river and that the missing woman may have been trying to retrieve this which accounts for her slip into the water. But all of this is conjecture and it is that is causing some discomforture to her family and friends. A enormous amount of technology seems to be being deployed in the search for the missing woman. We have seen police helicopters, drones, underwater sonar, police frog divers and probably much more that I have not mentioned. So far, not a single clue (such as the dog’s ball?) has been revealed but, in theory, the sonar unit dragged behind the police launch should be able to detect underwater shapes including a body. The police efforts and resources are all concentrated upon this but it may take some days to discern whether this is good police work or whether there may be other explanations. The disappearance of the woman is quite baffling to everybody but in the fullness of time, we may discover what has happened. Just out of interest, I Googled to see how common drownings are in the UK and came across the latest annual figures that suggested that each year there are some 80 drownings by ‘falling in’, a further 73 which are alcohol related and 34 due to swimming in all waters. The point here is that there are nearly 200 drownings a year but hardly any attract the attention afforded to this particular case.

When we returned from church this evening, we had the bowl of soup which is the repast that we always tend to have upon our return and then took our chances with the PVR to see the second half of the England-Scotlnd match. The PVR performed flawlessly and the series record seeme to have worked as it should. Scotlnd won the match in the dying minutes of the game and, I think, deservedly so but in truth there was very little between the two teams. We have some more rugby tomorrow but France vs. Italy is not going to be particularly exciting although next weekend will see France v. Ireland which may well prove the match of the series. Whilst on the subject of TV, the whole nation is on tenterhooks to watch the final episode of the third series of ‘Happy Valley’ at 9.00 tomorrow evening. We have only come lately to the joys of this series based upon a doughty policewoman based in Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire. Tomorrow night is the last episode of three series and there will no more after tomorrow night. I did read one comment in a newspaper that all actors and producers of TV dramas ought to be made to watch a series of ‘Happy Valley’ to show how the job ought to be done. It is also rumoured that several alternative endings have been filmed so that if any on them is inadvertently leaked, another ending can be substituted.

Tonight it has reported that the Chinese ‘spy’ balloon which has been making its way across the landmass of the United States has been succesfully shot down once the balloon was safely over water. Informed commentators are arguing that this Chinese balloon was a spy mission that went wrong – as for the US shooting it down, it is hard to see any military in a northern European society to allow a transgression of their airspace as egregious as this to go unpunished. One does wonder, though, what parts of the downed balloon the United States will manage to get their hands on to learn exactly what games the Chinese military are playing.