Thursday, 3rd February, 2022

[Day 689]

Thursday is my shopping day and today I am due to try out a new supermarket store (well, one I have not used for about 4 years) I have decided to give Morrisons an experimental trial after my experience at Aldi last week. Last night, I spent a certain amount of time producing a shopping list of almost everything I could possibly buy. Today, I got up early and made sure that I got to the supermarket at just about 7.00am in the morning. Whilst there, I bumped into the one of our ex-Waitrose coffee shop friends that I FaceTime regularly. When we were having one of our regular chats last night, we said that we would probably bump each other at 7.00am in the morning and so it proved. However, we only had the briefest of chats as we were both intent on getting our respective shopping done and we scurried on our way with lists in hand. Altogether, I spent a good hour and a half shopping as I thought I would as I was unfamiliar with the layout and some things are not always where you expect to find them. Nonethless, at the end of the day, I was relatively pleased at the range of goods on offer and the overall size of the shopping bill. However, having shopped in smaller stores for the last year or so, I must say that Morrisons seemed quite large by comparison and although I did not do too much back-tracking (when you forget something), nonetheless I covered a goodly number of yards in my peregrinations. Out of a shopping list of more than 40 items, there was only one that I finished without and that I can probably get from Waitrose on my normal walk for the papers. Next week, though, is a bit of a dilemma. I may well go back to the smaller Aldi store in which I used to shop before its larger big brother opened. In some ways, I quite like a lot of the smaller stores without a vast array of choices and which makes shopping a much more compact experience. So next week, I am minded to try another experimental forage and then I will sit back and think about the balance of advantages and disadvantages associated with each of the local stores.

Today, Meg and I took the car down to the park as were running a little late. We did not expect to see any of our regular crew and indeed we did not. We did strike up a conversation with an interesting young lady who was out exercising her labrapoodle. Not being a ‘doggy’ person and therefore not knowing much about this particular cross-breed, I thought I would explore a little and discovered from the web that they are a cross between the nation’s much-loved Labrador and Poodle breeds. Labradoodles, we are told, are kind and affectionate with plenty of energy and a playful nature, making them an ideal family dog. High energy, these active dogs are best suited to families who can take them for long, interesting walks of up to an hour a day. Certainly, this description seems to match up with the labrapoodles that we seem to notice every day in the park so perhaps there is a lot to be said for this admixture of genes. I often ask the owners whether such cross-breeds ‘breed true’ as they say, but they never seem to know. Then Meg and I got home to cook ourselves a vegetarian style lunch with a quiche as its centrepiece and then followed this up with a quick doze. In the late afternoon, there was some vital photocopying that needed to be done and I was reassured that everything concerned with the scanner worked like a treat, I employ a particular piece of software called ‘Vuescan‘ which had its origin in a small family firm in the United States. The founders were appalled at how many scanners were ‘junked’ because the original software had been lost or mislaid – easy to do if you have changed machines and cannot find the software to re-install it. So they set about writing an ‘all purpose’ scanner which will will run practically any basic scanner ever made and I have found it marvellous and easy to use. Not only is it free but regular free updates are also made available to registered users.

The political news this afternoon is centred around continuing feedback from the Boris Johnson personal (and unjustified) attack on Keir Starmer made last Wednesday. Two of his key aides (his ‘policy chief’ who has been with him for many a long year and his communications director) have both resigned. Apparently, his policy chief pleaded with Johnson to make a genuine apology – but all Johnson could manage was a semi-retraction whereupon the two officials felt they had no option but to resign. As I write, No. 10 has revealed that both Dan Rosenfield, the prime minister’s chief of staff, and Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary, are leaving their roles. Is this a case of rats leaving a sinking ship?