Saturday, 27th May, 2023

[Day 1167]

The spell of fine weather continues – as it is Bank Holiday on Monday, this is quite surprising really because over the years one has got used to the perverse way in which bad weather seems to intervene just as a Bank Holiday is due and then for the weather to improve the minute the holiday is over. We knew that we had no particular commitments to see anybody in particular today so we made up our elevenses so that we could have them in the park. We did coincide, though, with Intrepid Octogenerian Hiker who was beetling around at quite a pace of knots as he does every single day despite a slightly gammy knee. He informed us that within only a few months he would actually achieve the landmark of 90 years old so his energy and vigour are quite remarkable.

Last night, we received the sad news that the brother of Meg’s cousin had died, two weeks short of his 100th birthday. We knew that he was in a residential home and that his sister, Meg’s cousin, was in regular contact with her brother and actually spent a few hours with him before his actual demise. A bit of a dilemma is opening before us, though, because whilst a son is living in the area, practically the whole of the rest of the family, including ourselves, are spread across the Midlands. So I am left wondering where the funeral will be held but I suppose local undertakers would like to keep things within the area. This means that the majority of remaining family members will need to journey down from the Midland to Cornwall for the funeral. We do not know as yet what the funeral arrangements are going to be but Meg and I have been thinking about the logistics of attending the funeral. The way that our minds are working at the moment is that we think we will probably go down and stay in a hotel for both the night before the funeral and also for the night of the funeral day itself, thus having a little break of a couple of days in what we know is quite a picturesque part of the world. So we will just have to sit tight for several days until the funeral details have been finalised after which we can make our own more concrete plans. As it happens, Meg and I were in touch with her Cheltenham cousins (the daughter and son-in-law of her actual cousin) to arrange for them to visit us here in Bromsgrove in about three week’s time. We have made the arrangements but we may see each other in the meantime as funeral plans develop. I think that it will only be the first or second time that Meg’s cousins have visited us in this house and there have been a certain number of changes since their last visit. I am thinking about a boeuf bourguignon for a family meal because most of this can be done in our slow cooker and it is the kind of meal that will keep well if our visitors encounter delays on their journey.

They say that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks but I have been trying something new, computing-wise, at the moment. I have reconfigured some of our savings accounts so that instead of several independent little savings accounts for various purposes, I now only have one but a spreadsheet to keep track of the various ‘pots’ within it. I can see the advanatges of this method of working but I suppose one has to be incredibly disciplined not to swap entries willy-nilly from one cell of the spreadsheet to another. But so far, so good so I shall adopt this new method of working for the foreseeable future.

This afternoon, we started watching ‘Casablanca’ but having seen it several times before, we were quite easily tempted to switch over channels to watch the Cup Final match betwen Saracens and Sale, the two premier teams of English club rugby. Until about 20 minutes before the end of the match, the final result was genuinely in doubt but Saracens moved to a 10 point lead just before the end, one of the tries being an incredibly tight decision whether the ball had been held up or not but eventually the tip of the ball being adjudged to have just hit the ground a split second before a Sale arm held up the ball. Rugby as a game often hinges on incredibly tight calls such as this one but I suppose I have to settle for the fact that Saracens did have a marginal edge against their opponents although I wanted the Northen club to win.

Sky News is showing images this afternoon of long queues and ‘scenes of utter chaos’ at the UK border due to a nationwide problem with e-gates at ports and airports. The technical problem caused electronic gates to stop working late on Friday, meaning all passengers have to be processed through staffed airport desks. One does have to wonder what kinds of backup computer systems are in operation (or rather not in operation) for failures to take place nationwide. One suspects that there must have been a lack of investment and robust testing of systems for this to develop but I suppose I am thankful not to be caught in the middle of it all.