Friday, 1st September, 2023

[Day 1264]

Today started off in the middle of the night, if you know what I mean. As I suspected, whilst I was playing about familiarising myself with Amazon Music, after a lot of promptings to take out a subscription and repeatedly pressing the ‘No’ button, eventually by mistake I had pressed the ‘accept’ button which meant that after a grace period of 30 days I would be charged £10.00 a month to access this service. As things go these days, this is not a great deal of money and we will be listening to a lot of classical music on Amazon music but I was unclear how much you get for ‘free’ without a subscription and therefore how much extra the £10.00 a month buys for you. But then I discovered that if I only wanted to play Amazon Music on one device (i.e. the TV with its FireStick) this was available for £5 pcm which did seem OK to me. I price everything in terms of ‘cups of coffee worth’ and for the sake of one and a half cups of coffee a month, this was quite acceptable and so I started to try to get my subscription changed. This proved to be so difficult, not least because the option to change to the lower rate was ‘greyed out’ and therefore unavailable. Eventually, I got onto one of those ‘chat’ aids which always gave me a somewhat oblique answer to what I was trying to do. I suspect it is a series of Artificial Intelligence inspired responses fired at you with intervention only by a human at a late stage. But to cut a long story short, in the middle of the night I managed to get my existing subscription of £10 a month cancelled, a £5 a month ‘Single Device’ subscription put into its place and so I eventually got to bed a happy bunny, making sure that the changes I had made seemed to register OK both on my desk computer and also on the TV FireStick app.

Today, our domestic help calls round and, of course, I always have things to show her. In particular, I wanted her to see the newly acquired Marzi and Remy steinware which arrived yesterday and now forms a collection of three (one larger one dating from the 1880’s and two slightly smaller pieces dating from the 1960’s) She thought I had made an excellent purchase as the three form a nice type of ‘unity’ and the light naturally falls upon them from a side window in our Music Room. I had also rearranged some other ornaments so that that ‘owls’ are together in one room. When our domestic help arrived, I helped her get settled in with her cup of tea by playing ‘Shenandoah‘ to her which I now nearly always play note perfect. After our breakfast, I got a telephone call from one of the doctors in the group practice in response to the web form that I filled in to request a telephone consultation and she indicated that she would prescribe some medication which may prove helpful to Meg in the afternoons. But she seemed somewhat cautious as sometimes the medication that they prescribe can make things worse rather than better but nonetheless some new pills should arrive in a few days time once they work their way through the system (we have our medicines delivered to us through the Lloyds system which is a boon) Then we made our way to the park, where we met up by prior arrangement with our University of Birmingham friend. This friend is keen to expand his circle of acquaintances and has joined several walking groups which sounds to us to be a very good idea because, in the course of a long hike, it always possible to find a kindred spirit. But the first walk at 8-9 miles long seemed to be rather demanding but you never know what you are letting yourself in for until you try it. So we gave our friend every encouragement to keep on walking and we trust in the fullness of time, he finds a congenial set of companions.

This afternoon, Meg and I listened to classical music streamed through our TV, courtesy of Amazon Music. Be delving around in some of the menu systems, I found it possible to access a list of the entire contents of the album which is called ‘100 Best Classics‘. Whilst Meg was busy listening, I was also passively listening but at the same time making a text file of the song particulars. A simple ‘cut and paste’ did not work when the screen contents scrolled upwards so I was reduced to getting a screenful of titles (of the order of 5-7 at a time) and then pasting them into a text file and text editor that I use reguarly for my blog. This was a little fiddly but ultimately rewarding because I finished up with a paper copy that ran to several pages long.I emailed the list from my laptop via email to my main computer from whence I could acquire a printed copy.

There is a massive scandal afflicting the schools which is just now seeing the light of day. More than 150 schools throughout the country have got to take steps to repair their buildings if afflicted by a specially light (and weak) form of concrete called RAAC – Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete. The problem seems to have been known about for years and warnings were issued to schools some months ago. But making schools close only a day or so before the new term (instead of the start of the long summer vacation)points to government incompetence in the extreme. Also, slashing the school building program to one half of what it should be to ensure safety are the chickens of austerity coming home to roost with a vengeance.