Sunday, 30th January, 2022

[Day 685]

As I walked down for my newspaper this morning, the sky was clear and bright blue but it was still quite chilly without some rainwear. I collected our newspaper, checking that it contained the ‘Culture’ section which details all of the TV and radio programmes for the week ahead. Then it was a quick breakfast whilst watching the new ‘Sunday Morning’ hosted now by Sophie Raworth who has replaced Andrew Marr since the latter’s retirement. I must confess that after getting up and then two vigorous walks (there and back) I sometimes tend to doze – but knowing that it Liz Truss being interviewed, there was nothing much to keep me awake. On the subject of Sunday politics shows, Channel 4 are hosting a new evening show by Andrew Neil who could only stand GB News for a fortnight before falling out with them. On his new show, he is expected to reflect on the day’s news, interview heavyweight guests and look ahead to the coming week. Neil has agreed to present a Channel 4 documentary examining the prime minister’s leadership crisis: Boris Johnson: Has He Run Out of Road? is to be screened tonight. It will explore a string of scandals on the leader’s watch, including the Owen Paterson lobbying row and the continuing Downing Street party saga. Meg and I walked down to the park where we met (by prior arrangement) our University of Birmingham friend and then we were, in fact, joined by some other mutual friends who, like us, are regular park walkers. We discussed politics (of course) and eventually finished up talking about the causes and consequences of the 1958 Munich air disaster in which 50% of the aircraft’s passengers, including members of the Manchester United football team, perished. It was later established that the crash was caused by the slush on the runway, which slowed the plane too much to enable take-off. The pilot was initially blamed for which he was very bitter (I knew his brother) He was cleared in 1968, ten years after the incident. Then it was a walk home before a somewhat delayed Sunday lunch (chicken thighs)

I have been feeling moderately pleased with myself, having got a file manager to work which had suddenly stopped working. On occasions, you may want web page which is nothing more than a vehicle for a lot of clickable links. Although this can be done in HTML, if you have a file manager (with clickable links) then all you have to do is to put a .php program in each folder. I have had one such directory lister as they are called but for some reason it has suddenly just ceased working, presenting the user with just a blank page. I do not have the technical skills to wade through 400 lines of PHP code to discover what is the source of the problem – it might be quite a simple thing but the best thing to do is to abandon that directory lister and to find another. After a few judicious searchings on the web, I found a script which works quite well but does not quite give the neat, compact tabled results that my old program gave me. Anyway, I managed to ‘tweak’ the script so that each link became a clickable rather than a downloadable link and also got rid of a huge chunk of code whose function was obscure but not essential. I managed to get the program down to one quarter of its original length and it works fine for the purposes for which I want it. When I look at the ‘permissions’ associated with the script, provided one keeps the copyright notice in place, one is given the legal right to alter, modify and even sell the program as the spirit takes you. It is always very satisfying to find a computing solution that works, once you have run into a roadblock.

The COVID news is somewhat more positive this morning. The number of new infections has dropped to the lowest since 14th December (six weeks ago) and this appears to show that the fight against the Omicron variant is starting to show some positive results. To counter this, though, the infection rate in schools is increasing so rapidly that some staff are not implementing the latest ‘liberalisation’ rules announced in the middle of last week. My own observations are that individuals are still observing mask-wearing and hand-sanitising procedures both in the shops that still request these and even when walking in the open street where presumably, the virus is less extant. However, I still feel that an undue complacency may set in and I would not be surprised if another variant or even a sub-variant were to arise and bite us when we are least expecting it. The scientists seem to be uncovering the explanation of why lung function is affected in Long-Covid cases. Whether this lung damage is permanent or not, I do not know but if recovery is possible, it is likely to be very slow.