Thursday, 21st December, 2023

[Day 1375]

Today being the Thursday just before Christmas, we suspected that the supermarkets would be absolutely bursting from the minute that they opened. So I left in plenty of time, filling the car up with petrol and surrounded by white vans in the supermarket filling station at that hour in the morning. When I got to our local Aldi they were already open – if I had a shop last week, I might have known they would be opening an hour early in the days before Christmas. But it was not too bad when I got inside, the only frustrations being that the extra Christmas stock displaces some of your usual items and so the shelves require some extra navigation as well as shoppers treating themselves to Christmas delicacies. Nonetheless, I got all of the things that I felt that I needed leaving the wine to be bought at Waitrose which I really feel is superior to the Aldi offering. Then it was a case of getting home, getting unpacked and then being just about organised before the carer allocated to Meg make her appearance for a two hour stint. She turned out to be a pleasant lass with a sunny disposition and a Pyschology graduate to boot so we had some points of contact in our introductions one to the other. Then I left to go on the road and get some non-food shopping done before Christmas. The principal item that I had in mind was two or three of those slim calendars which we have in strategic places, the one in the kitchen just fitting nicely inside the kitchen door, being used (in theory) to record people’s birthdays throughout the year. There did not seem to be a great selection this year and I avoided those with cute puppies and kittens before settling on some that we will need to live with throughout the forthcoming year. There was a certain amount of drama when I left the house to go shopping as quite a large and mature tree had completely fallen across the road from which our drive leads off. A man in a small van had been sent out to deal with the situation as best he could – the only thing that I could do was to reverse back into my own drive and access town from the opposite direction. I did not particularly enjoy trecking up and down the High Street but I did acquire some of those stout vegetable/fruit boxes in which supermarkets receive some of their stock and for which I have a particular use in mind. After I returned home, the carer departed and I started to think about our lunch for the day.

After lunch, I had a particular job to do which was to give a spring clean to the two piece settee which I had installed last Monday. I must say it just not look particularly grubbby but in the case of second hand fabric furniture, I felt I ought to give it a clean before using it in earnest. I had done a certain anount of reading beforehand and following the advice to give it a good brushing to loosen any dirt caught in the fibres of the fabric. I had purchased a brand new little dustpan and brush so this task was easy but then I should have given the whole a vacuuming but could not work out how to utilise the crevice attachment so gave this stage a miss. The next thing I did was to use a recipe I had acquired from the web which was to mix up in a spray container a cup of distilled water (straight from the dryer in our case) mixed with 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 cup of ‘rubbing alcohol’ (and I just happened to have enough in stock) So the task consisted of removing the four substantial cushions and then lightly spraying the arms, front and back of the settee itself. I then used plain kitchen paper to absorb any excess moisture. The american recipe called for the addition of a few drops of orange essence but I did not feel inclined to go hunting around for this. So the settee is in a disaggregated state at the moment but later on this evening, or in the very early morning, I shall reassemble it before our domestic help arrives and gives it her seal of approval (or even a thumbs down, but I think this is unlikely)

The other day I was casting an opinion whether IBM keyboards helped you to avoid typos and were a delight to type upon. I found that I was not mistaken and other users have enthused about how brilliant they find these classic IBM keyboards in shart contrast to the things that are current today. Incidentally, this generation of IBM thinkpads were built like tanks and evidently the IBM engineers had abandoned all ideas of saving weight in order not to compromise a really sturdy build quality. I think I am correct in stating that Neil Armstrong was equipped with one in his mission for the moon decades and decades ago. Whilst on the subject of workstations, I have utilised one of the fruit boxes, already a functional black, with some extra materials which means that I have organised my little workstation so that the piano stool and the table height are correctly aligned. I did a few measurements around the height and the optimal distance between seat and desktop should be of the order of 9″-10″ which I have now achieved.