I got up early this morning and walked down into town to collect my Sunday newspaper, as I normally do, treating myself to a little Mozart concert as I walked. But when I got to the shop, there was a bit of disappointment as the Sunday Times had been left off the delivery pattern to the newsagent, although there was a possibility it could be delivered later. So I walked home empty handed and listened to the Laura Kuennsberg program whilst having breakfast (and then dozing). After Meg and I had got our act together, we decided to make a trip to the park even though it was gloomy. When we started off, there was the finest of drizzle that did not bother us greatly but by the time we were sitting on the park bench, the rain had intensified quite a lot. We were just finishing off our coffee and deciding to cut our losses and get home quickly when we had a phone call from our University of Birmingham friend. It did not take us long to decide that we should all like to treat ourselves to a coffee in Waitrose so we got there as soon as we could, braving the elements as we went. After we had made a rendez-vous with our friend inside the café, Meg and I treated ourselves to a bowl of chicken and vegetable soup which was delicious. We spent the best part of two hours altogether in Waitrose as we seemed to have a lot to chat about. We were exploring regional dialects and regional accents and, in particular, whether people felt held back in their educational or occupational careers if they had a marked regional accent. Of course, sometimes regional accents seem to be in and out of fashion but we were both fascinated by the way in which accents can change over quite a short distance. For example, the distance beween Manchester and Bolton is only about 11 miles but there is a distinct change of accent to be found as one moves from the orbit of one to the other. The same thing can be found more locally as the Black country accent (for example found in Dudley) is distinct from central Birmingham, even though the distances involved are only about 8-9 miles. One suspects with greater degrees of geographical and social mobility some of these regional differences may be lessening. On the other hand, there are always those who like to play upon and possibly play up a regional accent if they think they might add to their political image – I am thinking of particular Labour Party politicians at this point. After we had coffee in the park and soup in the café, Meg and I did not feel the need for a further cooked lunch, so we made ourelves some cheese and biscuits which we consumed with a cup of tea when we got in.
Sunday afternoons were devoted to a good read of the Sunday newspapers – in the event we had called in at our usual newsagents and a copy of the Sunday Times had been delivered to them by then. Half way through the afternoon, we received a delivery from Amazon and it was the notepad speakers I had ordered a few days ago to interface with my newly resurrected CD/DVD player. These were a small pair of German made cubes which stood about 7cm tall whilst the actual speaker diameters were about 3.5 cm. At first, I thought these were not going to work and then I remembered that they needed their own independent power supply and this could be provided by one of these ‘power brick’ chargers that you can utilise to give your phone an emergency boost of power should it run flat. I paid £8.00 only for these speakers on the grounds that I did not need anything too big and bulky and were they to fail to work, I would have not wasted a great deal of money. Once I had connected the power brick, the whole rig exceeded my expectations. Often connecting external speakers will disconnect the unit’s own internal speakers (as it does on my laptop, for example) But in the case of the CD/DVD player, the external speakers with their independently provided volume control worked in tandem with the internal speakers, making four speakers all in all. I tested my configuration by playing my recently acquired copy of Brahm’s German Requiem and it filled my kitchen with as much sound as I could possibly need without any discernible distortion when it came to the highest and lowest notes at near maximum volume. I might try it out on my son whose hearing is much more acute than mine and who used to be a bit of an audiophile in his time but at the end of the day, I am very pleased with both my purchase and the results I have achieved.
Some late breaking news is that the Argentinians have beaten narrowly beaten England at Rugby for the first time ever and by a single point. I suppose that that if this trend continues, there is a case for expanding the Six Nations rugby to the Seven Nations and this may come about in the fullness of time.