Tuesday, 17th January, 2023

[Day 1037]

Last night was the culmination of the waiting period for a job lot of 46 classical CDs that were being sold on eBay and in which I was particularly interested. Firstly, these CDs almost exactly mirror my own (classical) musical tastes and preferences which is remarkable in itself. But secondly, this was not just an assembly of CDs but were very evidently the work of a very discerning collector as all of the performers were absolutely top rate and many of the performances could be regarded as definitive in their genre. The starting bid was £15 for all 46 but I tried to be a little streetwise but did not submit my bid until about 3-4 minutes before the ending time for the auction. The eBay auction system works by automatically upping your bid in about £1 increments until you emerge as the winner of the auction (or have been outbid). In my case, there was one other bidder and evidently his top limit must have been lower than mine otherwise he would have won the auction. The system normally tells you when you have won but last night I got a rather strange message to say that ‘eBay was trying to determine who had won the auction’ followed by an invitation to pay, from which I concluded that I had won the auction for only a little over the initial starting price. Needless to say, I paid on the spot and now await the results of my successful bid in a few days time. I have already worked out the storage area because I have in the past spotted some little plastic baskets with a carrying handle on the side (rather as though it were actually a jug rather than a basket) in which some 22-23 CDs fit absolutely beautifully. So when the CDs arrive, I have a home already prepared for them but today, on the way down to my Pilates class, I popped into our neighbourhood Poundland to see if I could replenish the couple I already had in stock. I was in luck and also managed to secure some of those little felt ‘feet’ that you pop onto the bottom of items to make them effectively scratchproof.

Today the temperatures were well below freezing at about -4 degrees and before we could get the car out, we needed to resort to our ‘warm water in a watering can’ treatment to de-ice the car before we got on our way. It looks as though the cold snap will be with us for a few days yet, as well. Of course, this little system of ours has worked OK but we still have the ice on the inside of the car windscreen to cope with which we did successfully. When we got to Waitrose which is normal every Tuesday morning, none of our usual friends were there and we suspect the bad weather might have deterred some of them from venturing out. But as we were on the point of departure, one of our friends turned up and we spent an interesting half hour, discussing amongst other things the kinds of strategies in which has to engage when either moving or clearing a house. One typically has to take the decision to either keep, throw away or donate items either to friends and relatives or, in some cases, donate to the local charity shop. I recall with a certain amount of horror when we moved house some 15 years ago and, in those days, old credit card statements were paper versions not online) and often contained full details of name, address and credit card number and therefore could only be junked at one’s peril. Hence every single piece of paper had to be read to ensure that no personal information should fall into the wrong hands and the sifting process is time consuming in the extreme. When we were due to leave, our friend was having a little difficuly rising from her chair (as she has mobility difficulties) but two of the staff rushed to her aid and helped to get her onto her feet and hence on her way. Our friend is extremely independent and generally self sufficient but there are always times in which one needs a little bit of help. So incredible service from the Waitrose staff but, of course, we are all known to the staff as regulars and our particular Waitrose does have an incredible service ethic.

The major political story today is about the conflict between the Westminster and the Scottish parliaments over the Gender Recognition issues upon which the Scots have recently voted – and which the Westminster parliament will not pass through for final signature by the monarch. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the particular legislation which will be fought out in a variety of courts over the next year or so, perhaps a massive tactical mistake is being made by the Westminster Parliament. When the public opinion in favour of a second referendum is on a knife-edge in Scotland, a dispute between the Scottish and English parliaments can only reinforce the case that the SNP are making for a fully independent Scotland.