Wednesday, 16th February, 2022

[Day 702]

Today is the day when we are going to see our friends in Oxfordshire so we got up reasonably early to get breakfasted and our washing done. After my son had a good old ‘go’ at my desktop computer to attempt to ascertain why it is running so slowly, I think I may have identified the source of the problem as virus checking program seemed to be hogging a lot of CPU resources. My son and I might have a go at uninstalling the virus checker which is not as simple as it sounds as this sort of program protects itself against attempts to disable it – for obvious reasons. We may have to search on the web for a specialised uninstaller specific to the make of virus checker, then see if its absence makes any difference and then possibly installing another program that may prove to be less problematic. I have investigated the price of new systems and I may have to buy a new one in a few months time but not yet. I have started to log the amount of time that it takes to log on and whereas it was 7 minutes yesterday, it was 5 minutes today so it is possible that our attempts to clean up the system are meeting with a modicum of success.

We called in to collect our newspaper before we set off on our journey. I had previously given our newsagent the web address for my collection of ‘Vertically Challenged Anecdotes’ – this is so named because my collection of stories are not ‘tall stories’ but are basically true and therefore the opposite of ‘tall stories’ – hence they ‘vertically challenged’ or short stories.

We set off to see our friends in plenty of time and once we had located a particularly tricky junction south of Oxford we pulled into a favourite parking spot and allowed ourselves a quick cup of coffee and a banana to sustain us. Although the weather had been fine for most of the journey, once we got into Oxfordshire the rain clouds had started to gather. We did notice at fairly close range a couple of red kites- there is a colony of them towards the south of the M40. We then proceeded to our friends, ignoring the Sat Nav’s instruction to us to take a narrow ‘forest’ road – if you ignore this direction, the Sat Nav takes you by a more sensible route a mile or so down the road. Then we arrived at our friends about 20 minutes early but no matter. We had a wonderful meal all made with home-grown type ingredients and of course several hours of wonderful conversation. As well as the perennial politics, our friends were telling us about a car crash in which they had been involved a day or so ago but fortunately with no injuries of any kind. We then gravitated onto the topic of how we were all growing old (dis)gracefully and other family matters. We left for home whilst we still had a couple of hours of daylight left to us and made progress at a reasonable pace until we were half way up the M40. Then the skies darkened and we ran into a torrental rain storm – or rather it ran into us. Fortunately, the rain was of an intensity that the windscreen wipers could cope without difficulty but we passed a crash which must have occurred minutes beforehand in which one car had run into the back of another.

Not being of a particularly royalist disposition, I did feel a smidgeon of sympathy for the Queen. Yesterday it looked as though the Prince Andrew affair had been finally put to bed as an out-of-court settlement had been made. There is no way Prince Andrew would have won this case with the damning evidence of his arm around Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts) and the standard of proof set as ‘the balance of probabilities’. It is rumoured, by the way, that the Queen might be digging into own pocket to fund the (reported) settlement which may well be of the order of £10-12million. So the Queen might have slept easily for one night before police have launched an investigation into a bid to give honours and citizenship to a Saudi national linked to the Prince of Wales’s charity The Prince’s Foundation. The Met said in a statement: ‘The decision follows an assessment of a September 2021 letter. This related to media reporting alleging offers of help were made to secure honours and citizenship for a Saudi national.’ So in two days we have two large scandals both involving sons of the Queen and, in Charles case, the Monarch in waiting. Needless to say, all kinds of questions are now being asked about the future of the monarchy – republicans must be rubbing their hands in glee for this conjunction of two scandals in two days!