Saturday, 30th October, 2021

[Day 593]

Today has been one of those days when, fortunately, everything turned our right rather than wrong – to be honest, I am so used to little things going wrong that I am quite surprised when lots of things in a row go right. I have two iPads, one bought at least 6-7 years ago and which I had almost written off when it got clattered onto a hospital floor over three years ago now and the display went horribly wrong. ‘That’s it‘ I thought to myself at the time – I had better get myself a new and more up-to-date version when I get out of hospital, which I did. But then the old one ‘repaired’ itself – I had assumed that a clatter on the floor had misaligned some of the screen technology and once broken, it would stay that way. Anyway, as if by magic, it repaired itself so I regard this very old and original iPad for one thing only and that is to act as a source of music to get me quickly off to sleep. Since coming back from Wales, I had ‘mislaid’ my old iPad but suddenly I stared at at a blue cover sitting on a chair in my study and realised that it was hiding ‘in plain sight’ as it were. The whole point of this story is that I decided to restore it to its bedtime-sleep-inducing function. After a recharge of its batteries and location on a tiny little bedside table I had acquired which was exactly the same height of the bed (to avoid another clatter on the floor), I had a yearning to hear a particular piece of music which I very much enjoy and that is Brahms’s ‘A German Requiem‘ . I have to say this worked like a charm as I was off to sleep in about two minutes. Even when I got up in the middle of the night to attend to the call of nature and put on my especial favourite which is Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23. This time I was off back to sleep before about 10 bars had been played, so another astounding success.I struggled a bit with a pair of Apple earphones which had the unforunate tendency, shared my many of its species, to drop out of one’s ears on the turn of a head. Then I remembered that I had about two years ago, bought some absolutely excellent Panasonic earphones which were carefully and skilfully designed so that theuy did not drop out of ear (and hence were much appreciated by the jogging community) So another set get ordered via Amazon at the very reasonable price of £6.00 or so so I shall certainly manage until they arrive.

This morning, as forecast, we had a tremendous band of heavy rain sweeping across the country. After it, though, we had a wonderful burst of sunshine and when Meg and I went on our walk, we even felt the warmth of the sun’s rays as a bonus. We popped into Waitrose to purchase one item of which we were running short and I treated myself to a round of brown toast and Marmite. Then we made our way to the park, knowing that we would not see our University of Birmingham friend who had texted us to say that he was suffering from a very heavy cold and even though he might come to the park he did not want to make contact with us and possibly infect us (very thoughtful of him) Just then, our Italian lady friend turned out and we always have time for a good chat – we were wondering whether it would be safe for us to go and watch a performance of ‘The Nutcracker‘ at the Birmingham Hippodrome (postponed from last year). As we were talking, we had another conversation with our avid walking octogenarian acquaintance before we were joined on the adjacent park bench by our Seasoned World Traveller friend. We introduced our two friends to each other and in no time at all they were arging the toss over something or other (in agreement, actually, whether we should treat the perpetrators of violent crimes as ill rather than bad). Then we set off for home, knowing that lunch was quite delayed. On our way home, though, we bumped into our Italian friend again (she had gone home by car!) and this occasioned a further chat.

Tomorrow is the coincidence of both Halloween and the end of British Summer Time (when the clocks go back) I cannot remember when there was last a coincidence like this but it must have occurred before today. Most of the paraphernalia surrounding Halloween such as ‘Trick-or- Treating‘ seems to have originated in 1930’s America, although Europe does have Halloween traditions of its own. To commemorate the end of Summer and the beginning of winter, the Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.