Monday, 3rd May 2021

[Day 413]

Today, you might say, was a typical Bank Holiday Monday i.e. it was wet , cold, windy and blustery. To be fair, it seemed to be like this all over the country so we did not feel relatively deprived – but it is amazing how many times Bank Holidays in the UK just happen to coincide with a spell of really awful weather. When Meg and I were wondering whether or not to walk into town, we decided to brave it as the sky was only spluttering a little and we thought the walk would do us good. Eventually, though, we made our way to the park where we were about the only people to be seen – apart from one lonely dog walker in a hi-viz vest about 300 yards away. So we consoled ourselves by having our snack absolutely alone and feeling a little wet and miserable – I kept remembering the line written in a Blackpool theatrical digs establishment in which a rather disgruntled thespian had written in the guest book ‘We were cold and hungry – and you took us in’ As we were leaving we glanced towards the duck pond/boating lake only to discover that six little ducklings had made their presence known. They have a rather precarious existence having to contend with ‘Henry’ the (resident) heron on the one hand and some rats who we know inhabit the island in the middle of the lake. Last year, I remember seeing the mother duck paddling cross the pond with all of her ducklings spread out behind her in an orderly line. This made me remember something we once saw in Coruña in Northern Spain. A group of Japanese kindergarten children who must have been aged about 4-6 were being taken out by their teacher. The children held onto a long length of blue rope and they were placed alternatively and were similarly equally spaced on each side of the rope – they had evidently been told ‘Whatever you do – keep hold of the rope’ and all the teacher had to do in order to get them across the road was to wait for a gap in the traffic and then hang onto one end of the rope and then lead them across. A simple solution to a problem, really.

This afternoon although it was still very blustery, I decided to make a special expedition to our local Asda in order to buy a few particular things that I know cannot be bought anywhere else – for example, we quite like tins of rhubarb that we have with a hot bowl of custard but only Asda seem to stock it. Anyway, I had about eight little items on my list and, fortunately, I managed to buy each one of them. The fact it was a Bank Holiday and so wet and windy made the store practically empty which sorted my purposes down to the ground. In particular, now that I am ‘in the know’, I bought a couple of what I now know to be called ‘Power Banks’ i.e. little stores of energy a bit like a battery but where you can top up your mobile phone if you out on the road and find your battery has run out completely. In my case, I am using these power banks to power the speakers on my resurrected ThinkPad which means that a precious USB port is not taken out of commission. Incidentally, I managed to find other reviews that contrasted with the rather scabby review that I read about the Logitech speakers I have brought into use recently. These other reviews were YouTube reviews and the presenters were very enthusiastic about the quality and functionality of these speakers (as indeed I am). I gave them a good test by playing the whole of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 whilst replying to my emails this morning and I personally found the quality and the tone to be excellent. When you think of the number of variables (the quality of the actual sound card, the drivers, the speakers themselves and the inevitably subjective impressions of the hearer) perhaps it is not a surprise that one can get such a variety of opinions concerning the sound quality that the user is experiencing.

Today Boris Johnson has been declaiming that the end of the lockdown may well be in sight and that we can start to look forward to both the end of social distancing and also also the prospect of overseas holidays. It looks as France, Spain and Italy may well end up not in the ‘green zone’ but in the ‘amber zone’ which means that visitors to the countries will have self quarantine for a number of days upon their return. Quite frankly, I think it is a little too soon to be holding out such promises because there is plenty of time for new variants to arise and for all kinds of problems to manifest themselves. For example, some experts are explaining that when travelling through an airport terminal those from ‘red’ ‘amber’ and ‘green’ zones will all be mixing and queuing up together which exposes everyone to all kinds of cross-infection. The fact that an election is due in three days time is probably explanation enough for the fact that a proper degree of caution is now being abandoned – and we may all suffer in the long run.