Monday, 9th November, 2020

[Day 238]

So we now start a week in which the sequelae of the American election will start to manifest themselves. Whilst many off us (but not all) in the UK are secretly relieved that we may be seeing the back of President Trump, the sad fact remains that in the popular vote some 70 million Americans wanted him to continue as their president.We will have to wait and see what consequences flow from this today but of course being six hours behind us, every reaction seems so delayed.

Meg and I enjoyed our stroll down to the park this morning, calling by to pick up our newspapers and paying a lightning visit into Waitrose to pick up one or two things forgotten in our weekly order. Although we normally get a ‘home delivery’ from Waitrose, this week we are going to have ‘Click and Collect‘ on Thursday. This is because as soon as it was evident that a further lockdown was to come, people had evidently gone onto the web as soon as they could and all of the delivery slots for this week had been taken (although we have managed to book a slot for the week after). After we had left the park, we did run into our Italian friend again and spent a very pleasant time (probably at least 20 minutes) discussing family matters. I think this was therapeutic for all of us and again, we were speculating how and whether we can experience another get-together over the Christmas period.

I had set myself a little project this afternoon which was to gradually put some of our ‘indispensable’ things into the storage spaces in our new car. My son helped me to get my iPhone to get plugged into the Honda’s communications and video systems. After a pause in which the Bluetooth seemed not to work, we eventually got the iPhone’s and the car’s systems to communicate with each other so now it should be possible to both make and receive mobile phone calls whilst we are on the move. My son and I tested out that I could actually receive a call but I am sure it should be fairly easy to actually make a call once we have got this far.

The previous car that we owned had a really cavernous boot (very useful for accommodating two suitcases side by side when we went on holiday). To ensure that my shopping did not roll all over the place, I abandoned the system that I had been deploying (a couple of those low sided fruit boxes that supermarkets often use both to transport and also to display fruit such as apples and oranges) and decided to invest in a couple of what are technically called ‘car boot organisers’. There are a variety of these on the market and they are generally rectangular in nature but divided into two compartments – hence a couple of them gives you four storage spaces which are about the size that would each take a small own-brand supermarket woven carrier bag. So a typical weekly shop of about four bags full fits nicely into the boot organisers already in place (really bulky but light items such as kitchen paper and toilet paper goes on the back seat in any case). I transferred the two car boot organisers to which I had treated myself some three years ago into the new car, knowing that the new boot whilst fairly large did not match the capacity of my previous car. Then, I had some really good fortune. The two car boot organisers fitted well but with about a 10″ gap between them. But I also had in my garage a little rectangular bucket (in which I can store some day-to-day car cleaning materials) which was some 9″ in width and therefore fitted perfectly in between the two storage containers. In addition, I had a little rectangle of space left over in which I could completely accommodate the shopping bags (stored inside each other) that we keep in the boot of the car so that we do not forget them on a weekly shopping trip. All of this might sound incredibly pedestrian but it is good to have a nice neat system when the car is new so that you can carry on with the same pattern (although I shall probably persist with the Waitrose ‘Home Delivery’ system now that I am used to it)

The news this afternoon was dominated by news of the vaccine which may prove to have a 90% efficacy rate if it passes through its remaining regulatory hurdles and is is brought into use by the end of the year. The ‘big Pharma’ firms involved Pfizer and BioNTech (American + German ?) described it as a ‘great day for science and humanity’. I am pretty convinced that the announcement could well have been made some days ago but was delayed until the American elections were out of the way in case Donald Trump claimed ‘a cure was at hand‘ and managed to snatch a victory on the back of it.

In the late afternoon, we ‘Zoom’ed one of our good Winchester friends. I commiserated with her over the death of a faithful and long lived cat (who had reached the grand old age of 21) and the two of us are going to join a video link into the funeral of the wife of a mutual colleague/friend on Wednesday next. We have agreed to Zoom again in a fortnight’s time – I really must get myself a calendar which can record the dates and times of all of the FaceTime/Skype/Zoom calls were are now making quite regularly.