Tuesday, 6th December, 2022

[Day 995]

Today being a Tuesday, it is our Waitrose day as well my Pilates day. As we are by now accustomed, Meg and I went down to our usual haunt to see if we could hook up with old friends. We are well ahead of ourself this morning so we wandered down the High Street to get another opticians’s appointment for Meg and this was arranged without undue fuss and bother. We popped into a local ‘Health and Beauty’ type shop to buy some of the things we cannot get in our local supermarket. Then we eventually made it into Waitrose and did, indeed, meet two of our pre-pandemic regulars whose company we always enjoy. When we arrived back home, we found two magnificent wreaths laid out in our porch. These were two that we had pre-ordered from a friend who who lives down the road and who specialises in making them, primarily for those in the church congregation who would particularly want one. I am not sure but it may be a local tradition for some people to buy wreaths and then put them on the graves of loved ones, particularly if quite recently departed. Then it was a case of walking down to the Pilates class where the class was joined by another male class member who generally attended at another time. We men at Pilates classes always seem to joke a fair amount and today was no exception with me at at one end of the class and the other male class member at the other. I had to be a little bit cautious with some of my Pilates ‘stretches’ because my neck has provd to be a little problematic. However, it is just possible that an hour of stretching and other exercises, including shoulder exercises, might have eased it up somewhat.

What follows now is a World Cup story but not of the usual type. The match between Croatia and Japan, which we did not watch, had run to full time and then to extra time. As the scores were tied, it was evidently penalty time so we decided to tune in to watch the exciting part of the match. The Japan players looked both young and exceptionally nervous when they came to take their penalties. As one of them approached the ball, I remarked to my better half that he was going to miss as indeed he did. The Japanese did not score in three of their first four penalties and, in general terms, it was evident that they had not practised the art of penalty taking. The Croations on the other hand seemed to be quite relaxed (and in one case, over-relaxed as his casual shot hit the post) so it was not a surprise to see that Croatia won the game on penalties. But it was part of the crowd reaction that I found particularly amusing. The Croation flag (and colours) is a series of red and white chequered squares and some of the (male) Croation supporters had attired themselves in what looked like completely Arab dress and head-dress but the material being the same that makes up the Croation flag and national playing colours. This looked so incongruous that it impossible not to let out a loud guffaw when the camera panned over them in the course of filming the ecstatic crowd reactions to the victory. I wonder if the same crew will show up again when Croatia play Brazil in the next round on Friday. I might watch part of the match although I am sure that Brazil will quickly sweep Croatia aside. Mind you, they were finalists against France in the last World Cup and so far, a very small nation certainly punches above its weight. And as a little footnote to this story, in a second penalty shootout, Morocco has just beaten Spain which is quite a turnup for the books. it confirms the reputation of this particular World Cup as the revenge of the underdogs (or the up and coming nations, in any case)

No sooner had I got back from my Pilates session and was in the course of dishing up our delayed lunch, than I got a telephone call from the Bank which my son and I will be visiting tomorrow. Some of the documents that I submitted to the bank recently needed sone revision and when I got back onto my computer, I could see where the problem lay. As I was attempting to download various documents, I used the ‘Print to PDF’ option and assumed that the ensuing PDF would be the complete document and not just the first page of it. So I had to go and re-do several of my documents to get the desired result and am going to take them along as hard copy tomorrow as well emailing them to the Bank (their own ‘secure’ system not working as it should) I could have done without this extra work all afternoon but at least the efforts were eventually crowned with success and I am a little older and wiser than I was. We are having an early night tonight as I do need to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to brave the vagaries of the Bromsgrove rush hour on the way to the train station.