Friday, 18th February, 2022

[Day 704]

This was a very strange type of day. We have been given lots of warning by the meteorological authorities that storm ‘Eunice‘ may well be the worst to hit the UK since the infamous great storm of 1987 which did all kinds of damage across Southern England. Because at that time the country did not receive sufficient warning as was thought that the storm would veer away and only clip the UK, I get the impression that nothing is being left to chance this time. So we have had lots of warnings including a ‘red’ warning from the Meteorological Office and people are being urged to stay away from the coasts as they could literally be swept away. So when I woke up this morning, I expected that there would be at least some premonition of the storm yet to come but there was only a strange calm. I had previously texted our domestic help to delay her journey to us in case the storm was at its height first thing in the morning but in the event there was no need and she arrived at the normal time. By mid morning, the weather conditions were evidently worsening so I texted our University of Birmingham friend to suggest that we meet in a coffee bar along the High Street. This we did, arriving within a couple of minutes of each other so we sat down for a nice long (and warm) chat with some cappuchinos and a round of teacakes inside us. The wind had got rather swirly and rain-filled as we made our way to the coffeeshop but when we emerged about an hour and a half later, the height of the storm seemed to have passed us over. We invited our friend to come and have some lunch with us and he readily accepted. I was cooking a simple rissotto with some smoked mackerel as the protein element so our friend stood at my shoulder as I cooked the meal (which I have done many times before) to learn some lessons. Then we had a very pleasant meal which we complemented with half a glass of white wine and a good time was had by all. This afternoon, we have a kept an eye on the news broadcasts to see if the storm damage was extensive or not. The most dramatic pictures were of parts of the (plastic) roof of the O2 Millenium Dome building being ripped away in London whilst the church spire of the principal church in Wells, Somerset was pictured in the act of being blown away. There were also some dramatic pictures of trees being uprooted and falling – I suppose with the ubiquity of mobile phones, it is easier to capture these images than would have been the case in 1987. I am going to email some of our Hampshire friends to see how they have coped and as they tend to live in rural environments, whether they had been troubled with falling trees or worse.

To overcome my conputer problems (my computer getting slower and slower for none of the usual self-evident reasons) I have resolved to start a miniature savings programme and to replace my desktop computer in or about May time. This gives me the time to do as well as a certain amount of saving as well as ‘project managing’ the transition from the old computer to the new. This is the kind of thing that has to happen every 5 years or so or whatever is the interval that people choose these days to update their systems. Things are a little different this time around as ‘normally’ one gets as much RAM as you can afford and, more or less the same for storage capacity. But Apple has rather changed the nature of the calculations insofar as they have developed a new generation of chips (M1) with what what is called ‘unified memory’. Without getting at all technical, this allows their minimum configuration of an 8GB memory to be tightly integrated into the CPU to give the same performance as a conventional 16GB configuration often regarded as the minimum necessary for today’s ‘normal’ home user. I have got the benefit of time on my side and I may be able to resurrect the arrangements that I have made in the past to get an Education discount on my hardware although this has proved possible but a little complicated when I was last in the market.

The winter Olympics in Tokyo has largely failed to set the nation alight, no doubt due to the fact that many of our hyped up medal hopefuls have not managed to deliver and it seemed very likely that as the games end in a few days time that the GB team leaves Tokyo with the sum total of zero medals. But in the past few hours I gather that both the men’s and the women’s curling teams have pulled off thrilling last-minute victories over their rivals meaning that they have both qualified as finalists. That means a guaranteed silver even if both fail to achive their ultimate victory so there may be some interesting highlights to catch up on later.