Thursday, 19th October, 2023

[Day 1312]

Today is our shopping day but I took the opportunity, just before 8.00am, to fill up with petol at the local supermaket filling station before the long journey up to Bolton tomorrow. The whole forecourt seemed dominated by ‘white vans’ and their drivers, all filling up before their day’s work no doubt but actually blocking my exit from the filling sttaion so I forced to reverse out of it. After I had done the routine shopping, I always treat myself to Aldi's famous ‘middle aisle’ This is always devoted to often remaindered items of household goods and you are never quite sure what you are going to find. But I did find a child’s activity game which involved making pictures or designs from some preformed shapes on a magnetic surface and I thought this might be useful to give Meg some useful stimulation. Although there are some templates of suggested designs, obviously the user is quite free to utilise the shapes and ‘part structures’ to compose a picture e.g. of a hospital or a train station and so on. We shall have to see how Meg gets on with this but I have also treated myself to the one remining item, in acacia wood, of a tablet-cum-bookstand which I am sure might prove useful when I use the iPad to write some text, rather than just browsing. Thursday mornings always make us a little later than our normal routine because the shopping having been done it needs to be unpacked and then Meg has to got up and breakfasted after which we prepare ourslves for a venture forth. Today, we thought we would visit the Methodist centre again but we were slightly towards the end of their normal coffee time but time enough to have a cup of tea and a round of buttered toast. We fleetingly had a quick conversation with someone we knew from our own church and then made for home. We lunched on baked potato, broccoli and the remnants of last week’s joint put into an onion gravy. Then, immediately after lunch, I suddenly felt incredibly tired so I allowed myself the luxury of a quick nap even before I had completed all of the washing up after lunch.

Last Monday, whilst we were in Droitwich, we had parked fairly near the Post Office and I took the opportunity to post back to the manufacturer’s what is popularly known as a ‘BoomBox’ which I had bought some time ago and before I started to amass some of the Panasonic Micro-HiFi systems. This particular boombox as well as an FM radio and CD player also had the facility to play tracks directly from a USB as well as having BlueTooth functionality. It is this latter facility which I have started to use more and more thee days because I can access the tracks/albums in which I am particularly interested and then play them on the iPhone whose sound output is ‘bluetoothed’ to the boombox. All I am doing is to to use the superior 8-9 cm speakers and the volume controls in the boombox to fill a living room with the music I want. The BoomBox I posted off had a volume control button which not only fell ‘off’ the machine but disappeared within the works, making it virtually unusable. The unit was guaranteed for one year, extended to three years and I succeeded in getting an RMA (Return to Manufacturer Authorisation code) from the retailer. I was amazed, but very pleasantly surprised to receive a new BoomBox (although I suppose it could have been reconditioned and sold on by the manufacturer as new) As the unit I had returned could only have got to the manufacturer on Tuesday, they must have turned it around and sent me a replacement extraordinarily quickly. So far, I have only had the most cursory of opportunities to try it out but I know that the CD part works and I managed to interface it to BlueTooth and my iPhone within seconds. So this was a little venture that turned out OK although I would not have been greatly surprised if it had taken considerable hassle to get it replaced.

This afternoon, we got a phone call and then a long, long conversation with one of my erstwhile University of Winchester colleagues. She, as it happens, has had considerable experience in dealing wth the sequelae of first an ailing mother who subsequently died and then a sister who unfortunately suffered a stroke at about the same time. Our friend is a source of considerable help in dealings that she has had (and continues to have) getting care orgnised for her mother and latterly her sister and she was able to pass some very useful tips and insights, as well being a source of huge emotional support. Our friend has stayed with us once before for an all too brief visit and may well come up and stay with us again as soon as the opportunity arises. It seems that the telephone lines between Bromsgrove and Oxfordshire were red hot today because we also got a supportive phone call from our South Oxfordshire friends and we are thinking about organising a lunch date in early December once they have a busy November out of the way. Although I intend to get an earlier night tonight to be properly rested before tomorrow, there are always the two by-election results coming through in the wee small hours of the morning to provide a temptation to stay awake.