Monday, 5th December, 2022

[Day 994]

Today is what I would describe as an ‘itsy-bitsy’ type of day. We thought that the weather was going to be quite a lot colder this morning so Meg and I made sure that we had plenty of layers of nice warm clothing on before we got going for the day. To get us going, we raided our supplies and had a nice hot bowl of porridge which as we all know is slow-release carbohydrate and therefore helps to sustain you right throughout the morning. We tend to have treacle on our porridge and supplies of this were soon exhausted but as we will be going to Waitrose tomorrow morning, we can soon replenish these. We collected our newspaper and set out for our constitutional walk through the park. We had decided to give sitting on the park benches a miss as we assumed that the benches would be wet (as usual) not to mention cold so we thought that we just do one large circuit of the paths surrounding the pond in the park which I would guess is about 400 metres long but I feel need to measure it accurately one of these days. Upon our return, we made our elevenses but had them at home in front of the TV and waited for the Daily Politics show just after 12.00 on BBC2 which is always lively debate and exceeding well chaired by Jo Coburn. Why I think she is so good is that not only is incredibly well-informed but incisive and analytical to boot. Moreover, by inclination or because of her training, she does not let her personality intrude over into whatever interview or story she is covering and this is all to the good. Anyway, we generally enjoy this show each day from Monday to Thursday and after it, I go off to cook our midday meal. We noticed that when we got back from our walk this morning, two of our neighbours had got round to giving us Christmas cards which I had hardly started to think about this year. When I complete this task, I tend to get the ones to be posted, particularly the overseas ones, out of the way first and then do the neighbours and the ‘delivered by hand’ copies of cards last of all. However, I suspect that this year I shall be sending fewer Christmas cards than usual not least because of the cost but also because many of our friends will be sending email versions if any at all.

Through the post this morning, I had delivered one of those ‘thumb sized’ USB drives which I am going to fill with music and put it into our little music centre which, as it is so unobtrustive, can be an almost permanent fixture. My first attempt did not achieve success as I had two large folders (BACH and MOZART) and perhaps the little system did not know how to process these. So I tried putting everyone onto the root, but this failed as well. Eventually, I put two large composite .mp3’s onto the root directory and the little system seemed to cope with this quite well. Not being a computer but only a ‘music player’, it depends what software ‘firmware’ is baked into the system, I suppose, but by a system of trial and error I am finding out what will work and what will not.

The cold weather snap will be with us for about a week as cold Artic air is being drawn across the UK. There is official advice being given to the general population, namely ‘Try to heat the rooms you use most, such as the living and bedroom to at least 18C if you can, and keep your bedroom windows closed at night.’ I would thought that in this cold weather, the advice to keep your bedroom windows closed is somewhat superfluous but I suppose there are always some people who are used to having the bedroom window open at least a little and are loathe to break the habits of a lifetime. The temperature today was about 6 degrees when we set forth in the car but we need to spare a thought for those surviving in the Ukraine. I read today that ‘civilians in parts of the country will be left without power, heating or water as a result of Russian attacks on infrastructure, and could face frostbite, hypothermia and pneumonia. Temperatures will get as low as -20C.’ So if we think we are going to suffer in a cold snap, we need to think about what is happening in the Ukraine where hostilities are going to go into a ‘winter phase’ as both sides find it difficult to fight when the weather is as cold as this.

The Labour Party are announcing plans to ‘abolish’ by which I think they really mean ‘reform’ the House of Lords. Whilst being committed to the concept of a second, revising chamber and loathing the hereditery principles which holds sway in the present House of Lords, the alternative is not completely clear. If there is to be a degree of democratic accountability, then a second chamber cannot completely frustrate the mandate of the lower house – the present system of practically ‘no whipping’ in the second chamber is actually an admirable one.