Monday, 20th November, 2023

[Day 1344]

I got Meg into bed by 8.30 last night and was thus able to spare some time to get my accounts and finances up-to-date which was very satisfying. I try to ensure that I have a 'daybook' of all of my bank transactions which does have the advantage of being able to find past transactions very quickly and it also has the bonus of making me check each entry to ensure that nothing nefarious has taken place. This morning our son called round to do some work and he was not a happy bunny. His magnifient archive of rail related material was being given a new 'functionality' which actually meant that a lot of archive material was deficient or difficult to access. So he was in the process of transferring his entire collection to a photo archive called SmugMug. Despite the odd sounding name, this firm has a brilliant reputation and I actually knew of it because my own 50th wedding anniversary photos, as well as some other collections, are stored on it. I decided to do a little bit of research and found the following claim made by the firm, which I do not disbelieve: 'All SmugMug photos and videos are stored at Amazon S3 for their 99.999999999% durability. If you have uploadeded 10,000 photos at Smug this means on average, Amazon will lose 1 pic every 10 million years.' Nonetheless, despite the excellent functionality, our son still had a lot of background meta information to get updated on some thousands of files which he may have to do bit by bit. Actually, on the subject of upgrading I heard some news on ClassicFM which made my heart sink. ClassicFM announces that they were upgrading their service on January 2nd to DAB+ and the old DAB signal is to be discontinued. As it happens, I have several DAB radios scattered throughout the house and listen to ClassicFM whichever room I happen to be in. Now at a stroke, these radios are being declared redundant or I have the option of returning to a hit-and-miss and 'hissy' type signal of FM service. So in the name of progress one gets a worse service than one has been accustomed to over the years - unless, of course, you had bought a DAB+ radio in the last few years.

After we had breakfasted this morning, we fell into our normal Monday routine which is to pick up our newspaper and then make for our favourite cafe down the road in Droitwich. There we were greeted warmly and indulged ourselves in a huge pot of tea and a big bacon butty on chunky brown bread. We find that the way they make it in the cafe, one bacon butty is sufficient for the two of us- one each would be overwhelming. After we left, we made for the local Waitrose where we picked up some supplies and then started to make a somewhat delayed lunch. I had one particular little chore in mind for this afternoon which was to give our new car its first wash. This is the time when normally, you can give a car a minute examination to find any particular flaws but none have been detected so far. I decided to split the car washing routine I have developed over the years into a series of separate operations. The first of these is a 'pre-wash' in which I use a specialised watering can with a very long delivery arm (designed for hanging baskets) and I find thus useful for accessing all parts of the car e.g. the roof. Then I intend to streamline my car washing operations as I may have been slightly too fastidious over the years and now I need to simplify operations, not least to save my back from further assaults. I did a quick washing operation, shot inside to do the lunch and then did some of the finishing off bits (a final wipe down with a large car cleaning mitten as well as cleaning the windows with a specialised glass cleaner). These new operations helped me to save a little time but I need to add some refinements to next time. But I did notice a little sticker in the top corner of the windscreen which once I had gone on the web to give me an explanation is the information that the car has already been treated before delivery with one of those supposedly specialised treatments to help protect against tree sap, bird droppings and other misfortunes.

One of our afternoon routines is to access the music section of YouTube and let its algorithms serve up to us some of our favourites. One of the options this afternoon was a Dutch ensemble by the name of Voces8 whose renditions of Bach and Handel are superb. The performers all turn up in their everyday clothes i.e. not formally attired as though for a concert. The camera work focuses on the concentration and dedication showing on their faces and we are quite happy to hear their renditions again and again. One piece leads to another and we saw a version of 'The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba' but with the parts normally played by flutes being played by a couple of performers on recorders and again, the effect was stunning. Many of these recordings are made in quite spartan Lutheran style churches where I am convinced that the acoustics are incredible because there are not any soft furnishings to absorb and muffle the sound. I must ask some of our musical friends whether this my conjecture is on the right lines.