Tuesday, 15th February, 2022

[Day 701]

Today was a really gloomy day and it never really seemed to get light all day, The country was evidently covered with a dense layer of rain cloud and so we ruled out our daily walk. For some reason, Meg and I slept in a little this morning although we did not have a late night last night. My main computer system is slowing up a lot for a reason which is a mystery to me at the moment – otherwise I would have fixed it. My son had a spare hour this morning so we decided to have a go to see what we could do between us. For a start we took off all of the USBs except the one driving the keyboard. Then we looked at the disk system and it only seemed about 20% full so the problem did not lie in this direction. Then we looked at the memory system but the computer had passed all of its POST (Power On Self Test) system so nothing was self evident here. Then we looked at the Resouce Monitor to see what might be clogging up the system and removed some Western Digital software (driving a backup hard disk) to see if this helped. Then we used an app callled AppCleaner which is good at removing software from the system and took off one or two things that might be slowing things down. Impressionalistically, I think the system is now a little crisper (by which I mean less sluggish) but it still runs as though the CPU is being throttled by something we know not what. As the system is now 7 years old, it may well be that we have to think about replacing it with more up-to-date hardware. The alternative is to hoik the whole sysytem of the Apple shop in Solihull where they might be able identify why the system is running slowly – but the system is still quite old in computing terms so the money spent might be better spent in defraying the cost of a brand new system. Having done what we can to make the system a bit more liveable with, I need to decide whether to ‘bite the bullet’ and go ahead to upgrade or not.

Eventually, Meg and I decided just to pop into town by car to collect our newspaper and then we came back home to enjoy our coffee and elevenses in front of our own home fire. Then it was a case of popping on my tracksuit bottoms and hastening off (in the pouring rain) for my Pilates class. We had the normal exchange of banter as we have all known each other for years but I always take the opportunity to alleviate the ATM of some of its cash whilst I pass it each week. Then it was home for a delicious meal of haddock fishcakes which we have doing in the oven whilst I am out of the house. After lunch, I made a quick visit to Waitrose to buy some wine and a plant before our dinner date tomorrow.

We now have learnt that, as we suspected, at the height of the pandemic plum jobs were being handed out to those very well connected with the Tory party. Former health secretary Matt Hancock broke the law when he appointed Tory peer Dido Harding to a top job during the Covid pandemic, the High Court has ruled. Two judges have ruled that then health secretary did not comply with a public sector equality duty when he appointed Harding as interim chair of the National Institute for Health Protection in August 2020, and former Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe as director of testing at NHS test and trace a month later. I am not sure what sanctions or penalties are to applied in this particular case but it does add to the present government’s tendency to engage in nepotism and sleaze.

The breaking news this afternoon is that Prince Andrew has finally come to a settlement with Virginia Giuffre which means that a really damaging court case is now avoided. The amount of the setllement has not been diclosed but it will probably be of the order of about £10 million. From the point of view of Prince Andrew, this settlement will no doubt draw a line under the affair – but how strange to give a woman several millions of pounds when you claim never to have met her. I am sure the rest of the Royal Family will draw a collective sign of relief. Whilst I do not like the ‘bread and circuses’ aspects of royal junketings for the Queen’s 70th Jubilee, I think that a monarch who has been that length on the throne is entitled to a smidgeon of celebration unsullied ny newspaper headines of one’s favourite son embroiled in a long and damaging court case that can only damage the reputation of the Royals as a whole.