Monday, 16th January, 2023

[Day 1036]

Everything got off to rather a delayed start today. Our next door neighbour called round to explain that a large van was due to be delivering some furniture to him today and whilst the van was in place, it would block the exit of our car. This did delay us for about half an hour but we did eventually get underway and made our trip to the park. Today we christened a new coffee flask as our old and battered one has been in almost constant and daily use for the past three or four years and was quietly giving up the ghost. Some of the internal insulation was evidently breaking down as the exterior was getting warm (which it should not) and I also felt that the contents seemed to taste a bit strange. I have had a spare in stock for a long time now so it was a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new’ The new flask performed flawlessly and the coffee seemed to taste good as well so the replacement proved timely. Although the sky was fairly clear, the temperature had plummeted a fair deal and it was 3 degrees when we left the house. Sitting on the park bench subjected us to the occasional icy blast so we drank our coffee quickly and made for home. The park was deserted apart from a few, brave dog walkers but Monday is normally a pretty quiet day even in the best of weathers. Although Meg and I were wrapped up fairly warmly, we had not availed ourselves of any woolly scarves of which I am sure we have enough but we have not got into the habit of wearing them whilst the weather has not been particularly cold. But we are having a sharp ‘snap’ for the next day or so, so we are resolved to wrap up normally when next we need to.

So it was case of getting home and getting some warm soup inside us as soon as we could. Then we finished off the chicken legs that we started yesterday. I did a bit of an experimentation today and it worked out fine. After searing the chicken, I popped it into the oven for a good hour and a half doused in a tin of chicken soup, supplemented by some white lasagne style sauce. Then towards the end of the cooking process, I removed the meat from the thighs, leaving behind the skin and bones and then doused the meat with a goodly dollop of honey and mustard sauce that I espied in the supermarket when I last went shopping. This was then finished off in the oven and served with some Cavolo Nero and a baked potato. I think I must chalk this up as one of my success stories and I almost certainly will try this recipe again the next time we have chicken on the menu. This afternoon was a quiet afternoon in which I was engaged in getting my household accounts up-to-date. This fairly tedious task was accomplished with no undue problems and as always, I resolve to attempt to do my regular ‘book-keeping’ every few days instead of leaving it for a month.

Meg and I have started watching operas on YouTube, ‘Endeavour’ on the IT hub and some series on the BBC I-player. However, we are finding that we are having quite a lot of buffering problems after an hour or so which could be due to a host of factors or could be a case of ‘throttling’ to prevent overuse. However, a little search of the web has found a website called ‘FireStickTricks’ and the first thing they recommended was a simple ‘restart’ of the Firestick which I have tried and I will see if that cures any of the problems we have been experiencing (which needless to say, are frustrating in the extreme when you are half way through a long program) There are other suggestions which involve the use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) but I will not go to the expense and trouble of doing this unless I absolutely have to.

The teachers have today voted for strike action – some 90% of teachers voted for the strike and they exceeded the 50% turnout equired by law for a ballot to come into force. The teachers have voted to go on strike on 1st February and thereafter one day per fortnight for the next month or so. But the headteachers’ ballot only achieved 42% threshold and therefore their ballot does not count. However, the union representing headteachers may well rerun their ballot as the initial one may well have been adversely affected by the postal disputes just before Christmas – and, of course, the mood is worsening all the time. Both teachers and nurses seem to have very similar complaints apart from the real cut in their standard of living now inflation has reached 10% and that is a toxic mix of low pay and excessive workloads. One imagines that the government may be more worried by the impact of striking teachers which is bound to affect more members of the public than a train strike or a border staff walk out.