Sunday, 6th September, 2020

[Day 174]

This morning was one of those beautiful, bright crisp days (although it was not to last) and I had decided to take the opportunity to walk down early to my regular newspaper shop in order to secure a supply of my normal Sunday newspapers and then get back in time for the Andrew Marr show starting at 9.0 When I got to the newsagents, I asked the elderly Asian proprietor if he had watched the recent transmission in the BBC Proms series of the concert by Anoushka Shankar (Ravi Shankar’s daughter) – as it happened, he had and we exchanged thoughts as to how enthralled we both were by the performance. I happened to mention that my wife had seen Ravi Shankar play in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester in about 1966, whereupon the shopkeeper told me that he and his family had served Ravi Shankar a meal when he was playing in a refurbished concert hall in Coventry in 1966. They say that there are ‘six degrees of separation’ which is the idea that all people in the world are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other – by this theory, assuming that Ravi Shankar had met Indira Ghandi on several occasions then we are only about 4 jumps away from Indira Ghandi if you follow my drift. After we had watched the Andrew Marr show, Meg and I walked down to the park and, upon leaving the house, had a chat with our next-door neighbour who like us is shortly to celebrate birthdays, wedding anniversaries and the like (we made a mental note of when these are!). On our way down the hill, we saw the grandchild of one of our sets of friends (we knew it she had been born last December) that we had heard a lot about but not actually seen until today. Then, on the way home, we had a long, long chat with some other friends. In particular, we wanted to know how their grandson had fared after the ‘A’-levels debacle. It so happened that he was more than happy to accept and keep with his second choice of university (even though his first had come back to him, offering to honour their promise of a place) and was already making active preparations to start his new university term. In the course of our extended conversation, we covered various childhood traumas that had afflicted on of our friends and then ranged several other things, including how our friend Alistair had returned to Ceylon (as it was then called) for a family vacation, missed our wedding but their family showed us with gifts when we got married on September 9th, 1967.

Although this blog is written and published using WordPress, I also keep a parallel text version of it and I thought that as we were up to day 174, it would be useful to keep up some back-ups. I keep two different backups on two different servers so that if one of them went ‘belly up’ then the other would always be available. Whilst doing this, I worked out how to configure my version of CyberDuck (an FTP client) ensuring that I always start off with the correct local and remote folders ready. This means that a backup will be an easy task to do regularly, particularly if it does not become too complicated or burdensome.

We had hoped to go and visit Meg’s recently bereaved cousin who is in sheltered accommodation in Bolton, Greater Manchester. I suppose it is the operation of ‘Sod’s law‘ that of all the towns and cities where Meg’s cousin might have gone to live to be near her daughter, Bolton is the one town which by a large margin is heading the infection ‘league’ with 99 cases per 100,000 – by way of contrast, Blackburn with Darwen which is just next door has a rate of 48 per 100,000. We shall have to wait and see whether this subsides in time for a planned visit on the occasion of Meg’s birthday in about a month’s time. Today, there is even more grim news that the new infection rate has increased from 1,800 yesterday to 3,000 today (which is a dramatic, not to say concerning, rate of increase) So far as we can tell, the new infection rate seems to predominate in the 18-49 age group and there is a rumour in one of today’s newspapers that the Bolton ‘spike’ originated in one traveller returning from holiday, infected (perhaps by fellow Brits not observing social distancing rules whilst on holiday) and then going on a pub crawl leaving a trail destruction behind him…