Saturday, 26th September, 2020

[Day 194]

It was a beautiful fine day with a clear blue sky but with quite a biting easterly wind that swirled around us, making us feel distinctly cool. Part of our Saturday routine is to attend the service at St. Mary’s, Harvington (Hall) and we were a select band of 15 this morning. The church service sheet contained even more warnings from the government concerning social distancing and related measures, so the government has probably written to all of the churches asking them to reinforce the message. After this, a wonderful drive back where we always enjoy the Worcestershire countryside and then we picked up all of our newspapers (and supplements) that tend to sell out early on a Saturday. Then we came home and gave ourselves a Saturday treat (Waitrose sausages) which we bake in the oven supplemented by an onion gravy.

After lunch and after pressure from other family members, I set to work clearing the garage of empty bottles which had been generated by the damson gin-making process. Eventually, I need about 70 220 cl bottles in which to put the decanted gin so our domestic help and I are saving these frantically. In addition, whenever I get an empty glass jar, I tend to wash it up, remove the label (not always easily) and these I will donate to my sister the next time I see her. In addition, I keep glass jars in theory to accommodate screws and handyman bits-and-pieces within the garage. I got halfway through the task today but tomorrow will be a ‘gin-shaking’ day (to encourage the damsons to release their flavours into the gin). We are still eating the compote I made from the left-over damsons several weeks ago and it is delicious as it takes only a small spoonful in yoghurt, semolina, rice pudding or what have you.

Since I have put a keyboard and mice on my iPad I have been experimenting with software that will enable me to write or refine a document or .html file and then transmit it into the ‘cloud’ or, preferably, to one of my own websites. I had to consult an old diary to see how I had managed to do in a very ‘kludgy’ way in the past but reminding myself of the software I had used in the past, I downloaded the updated version of a special coding and text-editor which goes by the name of Textastic. This is now up to version 12, I think it is which speaks highly for it. Some of the documentation I gleaned from the web indicated that it should be possible to FTP files over to a remote server (e.g. to one of your own web page) and to cut a long story short, I found that I managed to write a .html file (actually adapting another file I managed to download) and then get it successfully uploaded to my webspace. To be able to do this in one package on an iPad is incredibly useful to me as I like to be able to do things when I am on holiday and away from my normal computing resources. The whole philosophy of the iPad was that it was meant to be. vehicle for ‘consuming’ (e.g. viewing) things and is not very well oriented to producing things (documents and webpages) but, over time, developers have found a way to write packages that enables one to do this. In the early days of the iPad, the designers did not let you get anywhere near the file structure which we are accustomed to on desktop PC’s but eventually, I think the users have found a way of bending an iPad to their wishes, as it were.

Meanwhile, 1700 students at Manchester Metropolitan University are being asked to spend 14 days in self-isolation after 127 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. This pattern may well be repeated at universities up and down the country – at the last count, there were at least 32 universities reporting COVID-19 infections. Unfortunately, halls of residence are exactly the places where it is difficult to socially distance and the virus can rampage unchecked throughout all of the communal areas. Should the student body have been discouraged from attending, I ask myself, as the term probably only starts on Monday!