Thursday, 24th September, 2020

[Day 192]

Today seemed a bit kinder day and although there was some rain in the air, we did not appear to be threatened by continuous rain as happened yesterday morning. My normal newspaper shop had run out of The Times by the time we got there so I popped round the corner to redeem my voucher in Waitrose. Whilst (briefly) inside the store I enquired of some of our favourite staff whether we could still use the table and benches that they had outside the store and they affirmed that we could. So the possibility arises that when we next meet some of our friends, we will meet not in the park but just outside our old haunts (is there a symbiotic link I ask myself?) Apart from that, we settled into our regular routine and I was reminded of a long-standing joke in Endeavour (TV series based upon the younger Morse). Every time, the elder detective Fred Thursday) was wondering what the sandwiches prepared by his wife would contain that day, Endeavour would reply along the lines ‘It’s Tuesday – so it will be cheese and pickle‘ (He was invariably correct) Thinking about detectives and lunchtime meals, I am also reminded of scenes from Maigret which I think I remember correctly from when I used to read reach novels for ‘A’-levels. Maigret’s wife was a cordon-bleu chef and the meals that she prepared for her husband were always described in loving detail – Maigret by contrast came in and bolted his food with hardly a word of appreciation (My memory may be suspect at this point but I do wonder if Simenon was being semi-autobiographical at this point) As the rain came down, we thought we might have to undergo another coffee-partaking session in the bandstand but, fortunately, I looked skywards and saw that the rain cloud was just passing so took out an old tea-towel, freshly laundered as it turned out, to wipe down the park bench so that we could eat and drink in peace – which we did.

This afternoon, I set myself the task of linking a keyword and mouse on my iPad. When I was last in a stationer’s shop, I saw a Bluetooth keyboard for sale at an incredibly low price so I went onto Amazon and ordered a keyboard-plus-mouse (from the same manufacturer, sold as a set) which arrived yesterday. I am always a little suspicious of Bluetooth technology because although in theory devices ought to recognise and pair with each other effortlessly, in practice I have had my struggles in the past. But having inserted my batteries (not supplied) the keyboard, mouse and iPad did all recognise acth other and work very well. I was a little disconcerted not to get a usual mouse pointer but a little grey circle (whose colour you could change in the ‘Settings’) which seems to be the Bluetooth way of doing things. I am pleased to say that the technology is now working just as I wanted – and I even had a spare Bluetooth Logitech mouse if the supplied mouse were to fail. The keyboard itself is only 4mm in depth (plus a raised area that gives the keyboard some rake ) and some 13.5″ in length – anyway, easily transportable within a suitcase for when we go away, so this will be a permanent feature of my suitcase from now on.

This afternoon, Rishi Sunak, was announcing the Job Support Scheme which is intended to replace the furlough scheme for those already in work. The new scheme will be less expensive (estimated 3.6 billion per year with employers raising their contribution towards the wages of employees from 25% to 55%) – this compared with the eye-watering £40 billion that the furlough scheme has cost so far. Perhaps one of the most significant things that the Chancellor had to impart was that the new arrangements were to be in place for at least six months if not a year. Moreover, we would have to assume that the shape of the economy would be fundamentally altered – this is the first indication that we have had from a member of the government that it is not just a case of getting through this crisis and then back to normal. Meanwhile, we have the highest rate of new infections ever (6,634), Glasgow University are having to cope with 124 COVID-19 infected students and 500 self-isolating. One has to wonder what is going to happen at other universities up and down the country, two weeks behind Scotland. Just as a reminder of old times, Morrisons supermarket is experiencing a run on toilet rolls, disinfectant, bleach …