Today is my shopping day so I arrived at my favourite supermarket a few minutes before it opened. All went as would be expected but the ‘eggs’ shelves was completely bare – members of staff informed us that the outbreak of avian flu was impacting upon their supply chain but in the next few days we will find out whether this a localised or a more widespread problem. After I had got home, breakfasted and then unpacked the shopping, the weather seemed to set fair so we decided to sally forth to Droitwich is almost just down the road. In Droitwich, we had our coffee and toasted teacake in a little cafe quite near to the Waitrose store because I wanted to go in search of a little antiques/jumble/curios type shop to see if anything caught our fancy. But it had unfortunately gone out of business so we proceeded to have a quick saunter through a charity shop which was just around the corner. We finished up buying a new Jaeger woollen top for Meg as well as a hat whilst I bought a shirt for myself which is just my size and colour. Then we went for a whizz around our favourite hardware store which is Wilko but I found the shelves a little empty of the things that I had hoped to buy. However, I bought some electrical supplies and some stationery. In the kitchen department, I was intrigued to find a couple of non-stick silicone egg poachers. As we have started to poach our eggs for our morning breakfast (although we have currently run out of eggs upon which to trial it), we will have to see if this lives up to its promise or not.
Before we went shopping this morning, a pleasant surprise turned up by the morning’s mail. On a whim, I had done a quick trawl on ebay and discovered a copy of Brahm’s ‘A German Requiem‘ which I always enjoy but I don’t think we have it anywhere on disk. This I had ordered about a couple of days ago not least because it was on offer for less than £3 with postage included but also the quality of the performers. It was Elizabeth Schwartzkopf and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau conducted by Otto Klemperer, which trio must be considered the finest performers in the classical world at the time of the original recording in 1962. EMI had digitally remastered this recording in 1986 and all in all, the performance was about 70 minutes in length. Last night,I had located a Sony CD/DVD portable recorder which I think I must have purchased at about the time of our 50th wedding anniversary celebrations to play our wedding music but I had put it in a bookcase and forgotten about it over the years. Meg and I spent a very pleasant hour listening to this outstanding recording in the new quiet music corner I have just created and it played equally well both on the Sony sound system inherited from my son and the recently discovered CD player. I was intrigued by the firm that had sold us this outstanding CD at such a reasonable price and it turned out that they were a small, specialised Scottish charity that specialised in reselling second hand goods (many of them donated?) and giving the proceeds to local charitable causes. I wondered if there was more where this came from and although the organisation itself did not seem to have other CDs available, I did find a superbly good recording of Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto‘, again for less than £3 and so this, too, was promptly ordered. However, later on in the morning, another pleasant surprise came along. I was doing an experiment to see if a tiny little notebook speaker that I had would increase the volume of the sound somewhat as the maximum volume on the CD player is adequate but could do with being a bit louder. In the course of my experiments, I relocated the player and turned it on forgetting that I had not connected the AC power supply. To my amazement, it actually started playing and I then realised that it must have an internal rechargeable power source which gets topped up, much like a laptop, every time you connect it to the mains. Naturally, the original manual had long since been mislaid but the day before I had managed to locate the manual on the web and downloaded it into my ‘Manuals’ folder. A quick consultation of this showed that the whole CD player would take about three hours to fully charge but this ought to give about 4 hours of play time. This was designed way back, I suppose, so that those taking long train journeys or European flights could watch their own DVD or listen to CDs to alleviate the tedium of the journey. I honestly did not know (or had forgotten) that the player had this play facility but am naturally delighted to have discovered it. It did cross my mind whether to go on the web and get a pair of really cheap notebook speakers but resisted the temptaion as the occasions that I might actually need a bit of enhanced volume might be few and far between.