Tuesday, 2nd January, 2024

[Day 1387]

So today is the day when we are starting to return to a degree of normality after the Christmas and New Year break. We are still slightly in the holiday break, however, as I suspect that it will be next Monday before things return to 'normal normal' as it were. Today when it started (i.e. just after midnight) is when the ClassicFM switch over from DAB to DAB+ was due to take place and when I was up in the night, I discovered the worst and the best. To start with the worst first, four of my Pure Radios in various locations failed to received DAB+ plus one of my recently acquired Panasonic mini-systems. But there was some better news in that practically all cases, there was a proximate source that received ClassicFM that would serve the purpose in that particular location. But the much better news was that in each of the three locations that are in almost constant use (in order of priority, the bedroom, then the kitchen and then our en-suite shower room), I had already had DAB+ so continued reception was assured. The location about which I was most relieved was our bedtime radio because I rely upon this, for for Meg and myself, to program this so that it switched off after a specified period of time and I have learnt to adjust the volumes to be just about audible if you want to listen but sufficiently quiet to drift off to sleep as well. So at the end of the day, the changeover which could have spelled a lot of disruption was managed to give me the functionality that I had previously enjoyed. Today was the day when the 'early morning' carers were not scheduled to call so we slept in for a little (but I had been up in the middle of the night doing some messing about with my DAB/DAB+ radio receivers) It was raining cats and dogs this morning but, nonetheless, after we had witnessed the terrible sight of the Japanese airliner ablaze across the whole of its fusilage in a Tokyo airport, Meg and I ventured forth to Waitrose. This really was as quiet as the grave but two of our friends turned up whom we were heartily glad to see and we had our customary chat and a laugh. As it turned out, we were the sole cafeteria clients for the morning insofar as I could tell.

Today was the day when I should have gone to undertake my Pilates session but Meg was feeling particularly fragile and it really was a 50:50 call whether I should go and risk Meg having a stressful hour and a half plus with a carer or stay with her for the morning. The carer was someone we had not met before so we decided to let her stay and make Meg's acquaintance (useful for futher occasions?) and have an extended chat with her. As she was of Pakistani origin, I managed to fill a good hour with various stories, the first of which was the wedding gifts which the mother of our Sri Lankan flatmate bestowed upon us when we were married in 1967 (a tea chest of tea, a sari shot through with silver thread and a 1lb tin of saffron!) We also intimated some of our experiences whilst we worked at Leicester Polytechnic of which one was the extended story, absolutely with no hint of exaggeration, as to how Meg had collaborated with the 'secret' part of the British state (police, border agencies) to smuggle a Muslim student out of the country with new papers in order to avoid an arranged marriage. Our student finished off, via my mother in Leeds, to get to a sympathetic aunt in Copenhagen. The sequel to this story is that after the successful transit out of the country, the police advised us to take a different route home each day for about a fortnight so that the mentally disturbed father, the possessor of several legal firearms, did not smell a rat and come after us. I must admit there are not many stories that lecturers in Higher Education could give that parallel this one.

Meg and I then had our normal Tuesday lunch day meal of fishcakes and easily cooked vegetables. After our afternoon cup of tea which we conventionally take after the clock has struck 4.00pm, Meg sat on our new two-seater settee and I put on a concert on Amazon Prime of choral performances that we have often played before but of which we never tire and always brings solace to the weary soul. I was also delighted to have improvised a little to provide Meg with a little table for her afternoon cup of tea. Instead of buying another table and perhaps adding to the clutter, I took a little melamine tray which I keep for the purpose inside one of our piano stools adjacent to the settee and this swings into purpose just when required and is easy to put away again. Tomorrow is the day when we would normally go the Methodist Centre for a coffee but one of our friends told us this morning that it was not opening this week so we may well have to make other plans for the morn. Droitwich is a possibility if the road is not flooded, which it might well be.