Tuesday, 6th April, 2021

[Day 386]

Today our weather had evidently moderated somewhat – the very clear skies of yesterday had given way to some interesting clouds (some white and fluffy, some evidently moisture-bearing) and whilst there was a coolish breeze, it did not have the severity that we experienced yesterday. So our walk to gather our newspapers was quite pleasant and then we made our way into the park where we thought we would coincide (as we did) with our University of Birmingham friend. After quite a chat and joined by one or two others of our acquaintances (including some who have actually read this blog), the weather suddenly seemed to take a turn for the worse so we willingly decided it was time to return home. On our way home, though, we paused outside the house of one of our oldest friends down the street. We discussed the likely date of the funeral arrangements for a near neighbour whose husband had died and we speculated that, as soon as the weather improves, we would be in a position to drink tea (or champagne!) in the gardens of each other’s houses. I must say that with the plethora of spring flowers and with all of the flowering trees and shrubs in profusion then all of the gardens down to road are looking a treat. However, there were certainly flurries of snow in the wee small hours of the morning as well as another flurry of snow in the late afternoon. I suppose that it is quite within the bounds of possibility that in a few day’s time we have ‘snowstorms’ which are a strange mixture of actual snow flakes mingling with the blossom from the various trees that are swept off by a gusts of wind.

After we got home, we had one of those rare moments when all of the family members were starting to think about their prospects in the year or so ahead. I suppose there is something about both the time of year and also the start of the end of the lockdown that encourages one to start to raise one’s eyes slightly towards the horizon and wonder what our various prospects for the year or so ahead. Meg and I know that in the fullness of time we will eventually move into our very last house where all the relevant goods and services (not to mention friends) are well within walking distance. This is assuming, of course, that one no longer uses a car (the occasional taxi can be cheap enough) and that you have a house that is perfectly adapted to one’s needs. Why some English people think that retiring to a little village which I could call ‘Little-Puddleton-by the-water’ with one bus a week and no village shop or other services is beyond me. I suppose that the ‘rural’ ideology is strongly implanted in the minds of the populace by estate agents amongst others. I am always amused by the fact that when a new bit of ‘infill’ occurs, there is a desire to advertise it with the symbolism of oak trees and squirrels and exotically sounding names, preferably with the name ‘Orchard’ in it – and this evocation of a rural idyll will sell the houses. I am not sure that other countries romanticise the countryside to quite the same extent that the English do, but I may be wrong in all of this.

Last night, I was playing about with my IBM ThinkPad and wondering if I could get some virus protection on it. Having trawled the web I downloaded an apparently ‘free’ antivirus program with excellent reviews and decided to try it out. It turned out that the ‘free’ bit was only the ability to use it ‘free’ for about three days of evaluation built into it before some money was demanded of you. However, it did have within the suite various functional bits that removed some redundant programs and ‘clutter’ from the computer (which seemed to work very well), as well as removing some ‘start up’ programs which one did not need but which slow the whole start up time. I vaguely wondered if I might happen to have an installation disk for Windows 7 which, indeed, I did locate. However, if you try to install this over XP you have to physically remove all of the XP first and then install Windows 7 in the empty space. I contemplated this for a moment and decided it was better not to upgrade but to be happy with a limited system which I knew did work rather than one which aborted, leaving you with nothing. I also found a legitimate copy of a Norton Internet Security 2011 (complete with its cellophane wrapping) and gleefully installed it – only to discover that the Norton system refused to accept its own Product Key (indicating its authenticity) Nonetheless, some of this suite works as intended and when I have time I will take a camera shot of the product key, send it off to Norton, and ask them to supply me with a code that works (or an updated product).