Friday, 12th March, 2021

[Day 361]

Today started off as a beautiful fine day – Meg and I enjoyed our walk down into town where we picked up our newspapers and one or two little items from Waitrose which is on our way back. We seemed to have been running a little bit earlier today and we made our way to our benches overlooking the park, knowing that we would have some time to wait before any of our acquaintances showed their faces. However, the weather started to worsen and some squally wintry showers swept along to spoil our enjoyment and we even had a brief smattering of hail for good measure. Whilst we were waiting, we were passed by a young Irish mother we have chatted to before – we have some things in common because she attends the same church as do we but normally for the Sunday morning rather than the Saturday evening services, so our paths have not crossed for quite some time. Then our Birmingham University friend hove into view and several other people we have come to know quite well. One is an elderly gentlemen of 87 years who is quite remarkable because he walks for at least 8 km per day (even more by the time he gets home) His progress is checked on a ‘smart’ watch so he knows just how far he has walked and a GP daughter keeps track of him remotely. Our acquaintance had had a career in Export sales and in the course of his work had worked in both Kuwait and in Cairo. You never know what interesting lives people have led until you ask them of course, but I never fail to be surprised by the interesting facts that emerge from our gentle questioning. Later, we were joined by one of regulars (who happens to be a wheelchair user) so I was pleased that she stopped her chariot in time and did not run me over (which was quite a possibility) Some others joined us so we finished up as a little gaggle of six but by now the weather was turning against all of us so we decided universally that we had better strike for home.

This afternoon was devoted to some routine domestic matters. One thing I do at this time of the month is getting my accounts in order (I record transactions in a large ‘day book’ and then reconcile this with my online statements) This was a task quite soon accomplished so we returned to our newspapers to complete the afternoon. Earlier this morning and still preoccupied by ‘back up’ routines, I had a bit of a lateral thought and thought that I would use the memory card recently populated with my backup data in a different way. On checking that I had plenty of space in the external drive attached to the portable that I have, I thought I might as well as put a backup on there as well as on the hard-disk drive of the portable itself. So I now have my most recent backup on 2-3 different media in 2 different locations so were disaster to strike, I should be able to restore my files fairly easily.

As a greater proportion of the population get vaccinated and the weeks roll by, so data is starting to accumulate concerning the efficacy of the vaccines. The number of people vaccinated is now over 23 million in the UK. There have been a few reports of people suffering blood clots just after receiving the vaccine but the WHO and others hasten to reassure us that that there seems to be no causal link with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Whilst cases in the UK are falling very rapidly, the rates in central and in Eastern Europe seem to be rising quite rapidly. It could be, of course, that all countries are a slightly different stage in the life cycle of the pandemic but it is surely reassuring that the data is generally moving in the right direction in the UK. Infections are up very slightly compared with a week ago but the number of fatalities is 61 less than a week ago when it was 236. I will personally feel a little happier once we have Easter out of the way and hope that the ‘R’ rate has not been forced higher by the great influx of schoolchildren going back to school this week. The Easter break may well give us all just a little bit more breathing space.

We have just spent a very pleasant hour chatting with one of my ex-Hampshire friends. As well as being a fund of good stories (and a repository of a great deal of knowledge) he used to work for IBM which means that if I can struck on any little computing issues, my friend and colleague can generally supply me with the answers!