Tuesday, 21st November, 2023

[Day 1345]

Today was an interesting day in lots of ways with both its successes and also some frustations. But let us start with the success first. When I was up in the middle of the night (not an uncommon occurrence) I looked towards the IBM ThinkPad computer which I had purchased a couple of years ago, primarily to run DOS based and some Windows specific programs but which I have not taken the opportunity to use recently. On the spur of the moment and after a certain amount of fiddling about to get it to start (switching it on in the source plug is quite a good idea) I got it to spring into life again. There was a certain amount of BIOS settings to update as well as supplying a password for the router but fortunately this managed to work out well and I found, with a certain degree of satisfaction, that I could access my usual email and the FTP program that I used to use regularly to upload files into my webspace worked as well. The thing about IBM ThinkPads is that they are built like a tank and are luggable rather than portable, being incredibly well built but heavy to boot. However, I envisaged that I might be able to write text as I wished whilst working in the Music Room as this would be so much easier to use than the iPad which is incredibly 'iffy' for writing large volumes of text. But more of this later.

We got ourselves into Waitrose relatively early and waited for some of our friends to appear - and two of the regular three turned up in due course. The thing is that we all enjoy each other's company tremendously and look forward to our little Tuesday morning cabals and today was no exception. But we needed to be home relatively early for a particular reason. After a protacted series of dicussions with Social services, the first of a 2 x 2 hour tranche of care for Meg looked as though it was going to be supplied. The person who was due to call around today was to be with Meg whilst I go off for a Pilates session and when I actually got down to my session, I was treated almost like the prodigal son. After a gap of several weeks, I am pleased to say that the exercises to which I am well used over the years were not too much for me and, impressionistically, I have the feeling that my back is somewhat the better for it. The acid test will be tomorrow morning, after a good night's sleep. But for now, I am resolved to try to do about 5-10 minutes a day of stretches and the trick is to try to build them into a regular routine.

This afternoon, after lunch, I got the ThinkPad set up in the Music Room and assumed that everything would work well but was soon to be disabused. For whatever reason, I could not now get through to the web but I have a suspicion that it might be out-of-date free antivirus software that is causing the problem. I have uninstalled what may be the offending program but I shall have to wait until later to conduct some more tests and see if I have been succussful. At least I managed to write some of this blog in the Music Room on the ThinkPad, FTP it to my website (which takes seconds) and then I can carry on in our lounge on my Mac portable. Tomorrow may well prove to be an interesting day for both of us. I have made a booking in our favourite hotel in the quaint little Georgian town of Alcester that we intend to visit tomorrow. Basically this is just one long High Street but stuffed full of really good quality charity shops from which it is almost impossible to emerge empty handed. Another attraction is one of those old fashioned hardware shops that seem to stock every gadget and kitchen utensil you can imagine and tomorrow I will probably stock up on their rolls of strong, black Gorilla tape which is streets ahead of the opposition. We always enjoy the meal out as well as the lasagnes are always baked from homemade ingredients and are both piping hot and delicious - in the middle of the day during weekdays but not weekends, the restaurant puts on a restricted 'pensioners' menu which is such good value that I suspect that the proprietors hardly make any profit on it all. And then, to round off the day, we hope to make WhatsApp contact by a videolink to a cafe in Coruña where we hope that our University of Birmingham friend and our oldest and dearest Spanish friend finally meet up with each other. Occasionally today, I have managed to get snatches of the COVID-19 enquiry and this week, it is the turn of the technocrats to amplify their evidence - yesterday it was Sir Patrick Vallance (Chief Scientific Adviser) and today it was Sir Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer) Both of these have given the opinion that Boris Johnson had a fundamantal failure to grasp scientific concepts and were often bemused by the data he was given, even wanting to 'twist' the data to his own political preconceptions. It was said yesterday that Johnson, in particular, could not really understand the difference between linear (normal) and exponential growth and if this is true, one despairs at the quality of the current political elite and the type of education to which they have been exposed.