Sunday, 17th October, 2021

[Day 580]

So another Sunday dawns which is always a mark of how the weeks are rolling by. This morning, having got up early, a tremendous rainstorm passed over the Midlands but it had done its worst by the time I came to walk down, on my own, to collect the Sunday newspaper. After the Andrew Marr show, I prepared the elevenses and we walked slowly down to the park in weather that was damp but not actually raining. We found our University of Birmingham friend chatting with a dog owner (of a labradoodle, which are obviously quite popular). Not being a particularly ‘doggy’ person, I thought I would just put the word Labradoodle into Google to see what transpired. I was amazed at the wealth of information that the website provided on several headings of adaptability, all around friendliness, health and grooming needs, trainability, physical needs, vital statistics to be followed by extensive additional information on coat types, general temperament and I know not what else besides. I must acknowledge that the days are long gone when you saw a puppy sitting in the corner of a per shop window and you paid about 7s6d for it – or was it even more? Anyway, we were soon deep into a conversation whether hypocrisy (engaging in activity despite one’s declared politics) was much more rampant on the left than on the right. I argued that hypocrisy is always less on the right because they ‘own’ the system, benefit from it, and therefore have less need to iron out inconsistencies whereas the claim on the left is that they can manage capitalism better than the capitalists (which is occasionally correct but the general electorate remain to be convinced) Our political dicussions are like that – but they are always a little inconclusive. There is another line that we might pursue in the days ahead i.e. that voters are more influenced by sheer emotion (and those who manipulate symbols better, generally true of the right) than rationality, facts, figures and pure reason.

Now for the biggest disappointment of the day. Before we went for our walk, I unpacked our brand-ndw Tefal SoupMaker and followed the instructions to give it a preliminary clean. All you had to do was to fill it with hot water and press a button. What actually happened was that each of the control LED lights lit up in a sequence and nothing else happened. This was repeated several times with the same result – so it could well be a case of not DOA (Dead on Arrival) but Malfunctioning on Arrival. So I consulted the website and submitted a form to TEFAL asking whether this was a fault and should the unit be returned? The form was accepted but with a message to say that because of COVID restrictions on staff, it might be some time before a response would be forthcoming. There is also a Customer Service telephone number so this might have be tried in the morning. I suspect that it is a case of returning the whole thing (fairly easy with Amazon but a nuisance all the same) and hope that I do not get another from the same batch with the same fault occurring on the next one. Just to rub salt into the wound, my book on Making Soups in your SoupMaker arrived also from Amazon but this will have to wait until I get a unit that works. I tried a quick Google search to see how common faults might be on brand new machines but this information does not seem to be readily available (I wonder why?)

Sky News have produced a report called COVID crisis – The pandemic year. Their trailer for their report indicates: ‘You can look behind the scenes to discover what the government knew (and didn’t know) about the new coronavirus as the number of deaths began to rise. Make your own mind up as to what the UK got right, and where lessons can be learnt.’ This looks as though it might be incredibly informative – it is interesting that SKY are producing a report like this but the BBC which seems to me to have been totally emasculated in recent years would not do anything that appeared so critical of the government. Anyway, I need to give this a good read to see if it fulfills the promise.

The week ahead looks as though we shall enjoy (?) a mild but wettish few days and then a really cold blast is going to hit us from the Arctic with zero and sub-zero temeperatures to which to look forward. If it is going to cold and dry then this is one thing but cold with an icy wind is something else altogether. One is tempted to use the phrase ‘Winter drawers on‘ but people might realise that this phrase (or rather jokes) was banned by the BBC in their ‘Green Book’ published in 1949 along with any references to ladies underwear, honeymoon couples or fig leaves. One can only say that times have changed!