Saturday, 23rd July, 2022

[Day 859]

You are never quite sure what a day is going to bring and so it proved to be today. The day dawned bright enough but it was somewhat cloudy, not to mention muggy, and looked as though we might get a smattering of rain although it didn’t arise. Getting into town to pick up our newspaper proved to be a little problematic. There were enormous traffic jams throughout the town and particularly upon the street on which our newsgagent has his shop. When I eventually, and patiently, found my way to the shop I was infomed that a drunken driver had crashed into one of the local traffic signal staunctions and as a repair crew were busy working upon this, there was a complex sytem of temporary traffic lights. On our way down into town, we espied our University of Birmingham friend and wound down the car window to tell him we would meet him in the park. When we did get there, rather later than we had anticipated, we met two of our regulars (our friend just hailed and Seasoned World Traveller) who were sitting on a park bench together. These two are being a smidgeon careful in each other’s company as they both have had sniffles in the last week and were anxious that if they were harbouring anything a bit more serious than a slight cold, then they had no wish to inflict it upon each other. Nonetheless, we all did meet up on a regular ‘high level’ bench which overlooks a lot of the park and which is our favourite watering hole. We have a bit of a suspicion that when we start to talk politics, which is nearly every day, other members of the public who are nearby do not want to overhear any part of our conversation, even by accident, and tend to get up and walk away. This may well reflect a deeper division which sociologists in the past have labelled the difference between a ‘local’ and a ‘cosmopolitan’ world view. I suppose that with a mutual interest in national politics and more broadly in international affairs, we are firmly in the ‘cosmopolitan’ camp and are frankly just a bit bored, not to say uninterested, in what is happening within the very local vicinity (say within a couple of miles). This is perhaps too crude a distinction because one can be both local and cosmopolitan as the mood might take you although ‘pure’ locals are more likely to stay that way. As we were sitting on the bench we were passed by a couple of elderly Irish friends (friends of friends) that we know quite well and who attend the same church as we do but on a Sunday rather than a Saturday. We all congratulated each other how we had managed to survive the horrendous temperatures of the past week when the temperature reached over 40 degrees in Lincolnshire. Finally, Meg and I set off for the car on a way home and were enthusisatically greeted by a labradoodle type dog – this is quite a common occurrence. We got into conversation with the middle aged lady owner and one topic of conversation flowed on to another. Eventually, it transpired that she was a headteacher of a Catholic school in a neighbouring town but also attended our church but on a Sunday rather than a Saturday. We found we had quite a lot of interesting points of mutual interest, so I gave her one of my business cards which I keep with my phone in the event that we have a chance meeting like this. As my daughter-in-law is a headteacher, we understood to some extent the occupational pressures that she was under and we parted wondering if we might bump into each again somewhere. Finally, before we actually reached the car, we encountered our Intrepid Octogenerian Hiker and we exchanged some reminisciences about the characters that we could remember from ‘The Beano’ of our youth (principally Dan Dare, Dennis the Menace, Pansy Potter, Beryl the Peril and Desperate Dan) I will not start to explain who these characters well but readers of a certain (more advanced) age may well remember them quite well. In addition, as I ran around with the ‘vicarage’ children in the small village in which I lived in Yorkshire, I was introduced to the very middle class comic (‘Eagle‘) because the CofE vicar himself was very friendly with Marcus Morris who founded the ‘Eagle‘ and ‘Girl‘ comics in about 1950 and it survived until about 1969. These two vicars had served together with each in WWII and hence their friendship.

This morning, I amused myself by creating a little ‘Group’ of my BT email addresses in one of my companion email clients. This is so that I can send a ‘keep alive’ message at least once every 150 days which is a condition of use for the BT accounts in order to keep them active. So I have put a note on my calendar to activate my ‘Keep Live’ routine in about four and a half months time.