Thursday, 1st April, 2021

[Day 381]

Well today, 1st April (‘All Fools Day‘) has dawned with no evident April fools in sight. There are two famous ones that I remember particularly well. The first was The Guardian’s special supplement on ‘Sans Serif‘ complete with encouragement for people to invest in the small country – many scurried for their atlases only to discover that San Serife does not exist. The second one, which I actually saw at the time, was the late but famous Richard Dimbleby looking at the start of the spaghetti harvest (they are draped several stringy type things over the branches of low hanging trees and had the native ‘villagers’ going round to ‘cut’ the spaghetti). This fooled an awful lot of people at the time – people remarked to each other ‘Well, I never knew that spaghetti grew on trees!‘ A few days ago, though, it was announced that as VW (Volkswagen) is going to produce only electric cars then an American subsidiary was going to rename itself from Volkswagen to Voltswagen. This is almost believable and fooled a lot of people a few days ago.

Today was always going to be a slightly different kind of day as we knew that some of our friends were going to be off playing tennis and the like. Our Waitrose order was delivered this morning and I realised that there one to two things I had forgotten to put on the list yesterday morning so we popped into Waitrose to collect these.We also bought a couple of cards one of which will serve as an Easter card from a friend from whom we had received one recently and the other will serve as a bereavement card for a friend of a friend whose husband had been very ill following a stroke and for whose family his demise might well have been a blessed release. We then popped into Poundland to collect one or two cosmetic things for Meg (not out first choice of retail store but any port in a storm) and having got these popped into the park where the coffee was particularly appreciated as it was appreciably colder and windier than yesterday). There we met with one of our regulars who, although in his 80’s, does a round walk of 10 miles a day – tomorrow he is off to play a round of golf. I wonder if I can do that sort of thing in about 10-11 years time – I doubt it somehow.

This afternoon was scheduled to be ‘lawn mowing cutting’ day. After the trials of last week, today was, as they say, a ‘breeze’ and I got the large front lawn cut in two directions (North-South and than East-West) within 40 minutes. Then the back was easily done and I must say that both the lawns are looking so much better now that the grass-cuttings left around from last week’s mowing were now effectively ‘mulched’ (I have a mulching-style mower) and their appearance has improved tremendously. After a cup of tea, I had a look at a shelf where I keep one or two computer ‘mice’ and was very lucky to marry a Logitech bluetooth mouse up with its nano-receiver (which plugs into the USB port) These small receivers can get separated from their ‘parents’ very easily but now that I have another working Bluetooth mouse I popped it onto the new ThinkPad where it works a treat! Another pleasant bonus for me today which I was not anticipating.

Now for absolutely ridiculous statistics time. Most of the polytechnics at the start of the IT revolution thought that it would be better to invest in small scale laboratories of PC’s rather than mainframe terminals – so in 1997, Leicester Polytecnic had about a dozen of these labs with about 16 machines in each. When I left the Scraptoft campus to take up a new job, each machine was equipped with 20Mb of memory (admittedly, this was on the point of being updated) If every polytechnic was the same, then the memory I purchased recently (128GB flash memory purchased for £15) would have been enough memory for each machine in each lab in each of the 30 polytechnics around the country. Another way of expressing this ‘story’ is that I could have equipped eacb lab throughout the country in each of the 30 polytechnics for about ¼p per laboratory.

If you want something really scary, then consider this quote from Boris Johnson today. Looking at the situation in France which he describes as ‘very, very sad‘ then the following stark comment might make us sit bold upright in our chairs. ‘All the experience of the last year is that, when they get it in France… two or three weeks later it comes to us‘ says the PM. Of course, we have a much higher vaccination rate than in France but taking the PM’s at face value, then perhaps we are being forewarned not to be complacent and that a third wave will soon hit us emanating from the near continent.