Monday, 1st January, 2024

[Day 1386]

So here we are at the start of a new year. I stayed up last night in order to see in the New Year and sent off various ‘Happy New Year’ messages from my iphone contact list. It always strikes me as odd that the first thing one does in a new year is to consume alcohol but I did treat myself to a thimble sized glass of a single malt. I only watched a few minutes of the fireworks and got myself off to bed at the earliest opportunity. Yesterday afternoon, Meg and I watched ‘The Jungle Book’ in which the animation was superb. I only mention this because I have an early memory of being read portions of this book. My mother always had a life long interest in scouting and, indeed, I have a photograph of her with a cast of hundreds in a meeting of all of the local scouts in Hull when she must have been about 18. What her role was in this gathering, I am afraid is lost in the mists of time. But my mother, when working as a local government officer and before she went to train to be a teacher, ran the local Cub pack and, at the age of eight or nine, was automatically part of this cub pack. But I have quite vivid memories of my mother sitting the cubs in a circle round a make-believe campfire (actually, just a candle room on a block of wood in an unlit basement room) whilst she read out portions of ‘The Jungle Book’ – in the Rudyard Kipling terminology, evidently my mother was ‘Akela’. My memories consist of this group of young cub scouts listening with rapt attention and in absolute silence whilst my mother each week would read out a portion of ‘The Jungle Book’. I am sure the experience of running a cub pack would have served her in good stead when she applied at a mature age to undertake teacher training in the 1950’s when it was almost unheard of for mature students to enter a training college.

We always thought that today was going to be an ‘itsy-bitsy’ kind of day because one never knows which shops are open and which closed. The day started off with clear skies (although this was not to last) so we thought that a trip to the park would not be unpleasant so we made up a flask of coffee and determined to go there, after we had made a trip to a local garage in order to pick up a copy of our daily newspaper. I had assumed Waitrose would be closed but as we whizzed past, it appeared to be open so we changed our plans and parked the car. But as I was getting the car parking ticket, one of the store assistants who knows me well came dashing out to inform me that the cafeteria part of Waitrose was not open this morning. So I collected my newspaper and we then journeyed on to the park as was our original intention. We had our coffee and then some nibbles and then started out for home as we knew that during most of the day, the ‘Drama’ channel was going to screen several episodes, end-to-end, of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’. But we were just approaching our car when we bumped into a couple of very old park friends with whom we get on tremendously well and with whom we have been to have lunch on several occasions in the past year. We quickly caught up on each other’s news but by this stage, Meg was gettiung a little chilled in her wheelchair so we raced home and got ourselves tuned into the Jane Austen of which we had only missed a few minutes.

The next day or so is going to prove interesting in my ‘audio’ life. The explanation for this is that Meg and I have become habitual listeners to ClassicFM and we have several radios, typically purchased for very reasonable sums, on eBay and the like, in many rooms of the house. But ClassicFM have decided that they are going to enhance the listening experience of their listeners by upgrading their transmitted signal to DAB+ and hence are turning off the unenhanced DAB signal. The upshot of all of this is that many of our radios will not now receive ClassicFM amd therefore not fulfil the purpose for which they were principally bought. The ‘switch over’ date is either tomorrow of Wednesday but I am not quite sure when. When that happens, it will bve a case of trial and error to see which radios will receive the enhanced DAB+ signal and which will not. An alternative is to switch to the FM signal which in some parts of the house (and some audio units) produces a more than tolerable listening experience but others give you the terrible FM ‘hiss’ In our particular house, I have discovered that the horizontal positioning of an antenna often, but not invariably, gives better results but there is quite a degree of unpredictability, as well as trial and error involved in the whole process. So when the changeover actually occurs (and it may for 6.00am on Wednesday but ClassicFM are being a bit coy about this) I shall have to go around the house and consider my options on a case by case basis.