Monday,13th September, 2021

[Day 546]

The start of another week and the weather is starting to feel a tad autumnal. Meg and I have commitments both today and tomorrow but we are looking to a little spell of fine weather on Wednesday (and no storms before then) so I can have a chance to pick this year’s crop of damsons before a storm comes along and shakes them all of the branches. After we had got showered and some morning jobs done, Meg and I were wondering whether to go down to town by car to save some time because we knew that we would have to have a pretty early lunch so that we could set off for our afternoon trip in plenty of time. One of the little jobs I engaged in this morning was a bit of spreadsheet work to get my finances (or rather my record keeping) shipshape. As I was doing this, a thought occurred to me which is hardly original. That is, whenever you are working with a spreadsheet, perhaps you are working with TWO spreadsheets – one on the computer in front of you and the other which is actually in your head. Then when you examine the physical spreadsheet and you see something which is not quite right, unexpected or anomalous you automatically cross check with the spreadsheet ‘in your head’ to reconcile the two. I suspect that accountants (or good ones) always work this way – you don’t just look at a spreadsheet full of figures and say ‘x must be the answer’ but have a fair idea what a value (or a spreadsheet cell) ‘ought’ to say. When I discussed this with my son, he argued that a combination of check sums and pivot tables always made the answer a ‘correct’ one so it could just be my own ideosyncratic way of working. As we were going into town by car, we spotted our friends whose wedding anniversary it was today just on their way home from a funeral. Anyway, it was good to stop by and give them our congratulations ‘in the flesh’ as it were – in my card to them, I pointed out that the generally speaking, the first fifty years of married life were the worst and all was plain sailing after that. So we picked up our ‘Times‘ and had quite a pleasant coffee and comestibles in the park before setting off for home and then an early lunch.

Then, at 2.00pm we set off for Solihull where we had an appointment at the building society where we have several savings accounts. All that we intended to do was to make our accounts into joint accounts – I suspect that we hadn’t done this in the first place as it always a bit of ‘pfaff’ having to gets two lots of ID and what have you and, in general, it is easier to set up an account in single rather than in joint names. We needed to fill a four page form for each one of our accounts (serving a different ‘savings pot’) and then in the building society, these had to be checked over and then our four lots of ID neded to be physically examined. It took two of the clerical staff the best part of half an hour to do all of this and we waited patiently. However, the staff did not appear to mind – one wonders if they did not have much work to do if people like us had not turned up with our demands. They were very gracious and accommodating about all of this but once it had been done, we wandered along the High Street and treated ourselves to a cappucino and ‘tarte de pommes’ in a recently opened and refitted coffee bar cum cocktail bar. Then, as we had not visited this high street for a couple of years, courtesy of the pandemic, we took the opportunity to pop into the Cancer Research charity shop where we bought a Bill Bryson book and an anniversary card, noting that they had a magnificent range of Christmas cards of the type we like (both religious and secular) We made a mental note to come back before Christmas so that we could get a good supply – we always used to get our Christmad cards from the Oxfam shop in Bromsgrove but this has unforunately closed down.

Tonight it has been announced that a single shot of vaccine is to be ‘offered’ to all schoolchildren beteen the ages of 12-15. The science and politics behind all of of this is that whilst the risk of infection is low, the disproportionate effects of school disruption should be minimised if possible. It is also well known that most of the public health scientific community know that schools transmit virus rapidly and the summer holidays acted as a type of firebreak – now that the schools have gone back, it might only be a week or so before rates start to rocket. So are we vaccinating school chidren far too late – most of Europe and the States have been doing it for weeks now and we really ought to have started this in mid-August!