Thursday, 5th November, 2020

[Day 234]

Well, today seems an ‘intermediate’ kind of day. This is because several things are due to happen tomorrow (USA election finally ‘called’ on favour of Biden or Trump) and we are due to pick up our new car tomorrow. So today, we contented ourselves with getting bits and pieces done before tomorrow. The weather was fairly fine but a little chilly today (in line with forecasts) and we enjoyed our walk, made more enjoyable by little chats on route. We met one of our oldest friends complete with child (grandchild, actually) who she had been taking to observe the ducks now that the grandchild is about 11 months old. We also ran into the very good neighbour of a friend of ours who has been having a bit of a traumatic time recently, having to undergo a series of tests (endoscopies) which didn’t work out as intended as well as some blood tests. We are hoping that the outcome of all of tis is not unfavourable but she only lost her husband about twelve months ago to liver cancer. Finally, on the way home we stopped to chat with a friendly guy who was trimming his hedges and seemed inclined to talk – it must be the fine weather that encourages people to smile and chat with neighbours. Actually, when I think about it, today was the first day of the ‘Lockdown Mark II‘ so you would have thought that there would been hardly any traffic on the roads and the streets would have been almost deserted. However, the traffic did not seem to have abated much and the number of people in the park about the same as aways (but then, of course, exercise is not only permitted but encouraged under the new regime).

Having got home and eaten an early lunch, I knew that I wanted to make a fairly early start in ‘prepping’ the car before we hand it in tomorrow in exchange for our new one. About a week ago, I had the car quite well valeted by one of a group of Kurds to whom we have been going for years and who operate from a carpark of a local pub (unused during the day!) This afternoon, I got myself into my car washing routine (which, as it happens, involved an assortment of watering cans used for the sole purpose of car washing) and buckets of detergent water. This bit went all right but I knew that when you hand over a car there are a variety of your own mats, boot impedimenta, CD’s, and other bits of documentation which are always kept in the car, such as the permit for the Municipal tip which has to be displayed before they let you in. The car is now in a fit condition to be handed over and we are are almost prepared for the handover tomorrow – I must remember to take along certain documents, handbooks, log books, spare keys etc. After all had been completed (whilst the daylight lasted) I popped over to see a neighbour because we wanted to check out some aspects of her house alarm system and it is always better to have two bodies (and heads) associated with this so that you do not inadvertently lock yourself out. As it happened, all was well so back into the house for tea.

I mentioned earlier that today was a kind of ‘waiting game’ in the US presidential elections. The system that seems to be deployed is that even though the count in a particular state is not complete, then a state is ‘called’ i.e. allocated to one candidate or the other if the gap between the candidates is greater than the number of ballots yet to be counted – even if all of the uncounted votes went to the losing candidate, then the gap is too great to be bridged. This is what you might call the ‘easy’ call of a state. But the American commentators seem to be deploying a much more sophisticated kind of calling that works that likes. Candidate A is 1.0% ahead (translated into votes) but you know that the remaining votes are coming from a county in which y% of people may have voted. If you know from historic voting patterns or other socio-demographic data that an uncounted county will generate so may votes for one candidate or another, then it is possible to ‘almost’ predict what the final result will be. This sounds unduly abstract but a good case in point is Pennsylvania. About 88% of the vote has been counted and Trump is leading Biden by about 1.4% or 90,500 votes. But there is about 12% of the vote yet to be counted which is approx. 870,000. It looks as though the majority of the yet-to-be-counted vote will be Democrat which will be about 470,000 which is five times the deficit. Is it any wonder that the Republicans want the count to be stopped ‘immediately’ whilst they are ahead. We have the strange spectacle (to us) of crowds of Republican supporters where Trump appears to be ahead shouting ‘Stop the Count‘ whereas in the states where Trump appears to be behind they are chanting ‘Count the Vote‘ Tomorrow, we will see how all of this works out!