Monday, 23rd January, 2023

[Day 1043]

Today dawned a little less cold although the high pressure/cold snap is persisting a little longer than the weather forecasters initially predicted. This morning, though, we treated ourselves to a good bowl of porridge which, as all of the health experts tell us, is full of good, slow release carbohydrates and sets one up for the day. This morning, after we had breakfasted we had picked up our copy of the newspaper and we trundled along the High Street making our way towards a card shop. There we located the section for ‘In sympathy’ cards but, as I suspected, they were both hard to find and stuck at the end of a carousel and very few in number compared with the yards of space devoted to birthday cards suitable for practically any age. This task having been completed, we made our way past our local Poundland where we popped in to see whether any of our favourite little plastic containers (that are exactly the right size for storing 20+ CDs) were in stock – and they had a goodly number in stock. We purchased three of them which ought to be enough for our needs and also bought the little felt ‘feet’ that we stick on the bottom so that they do not scratch surfaces. Finally, we visited our local Waitrose where I wanted to buy a little something as a little bereavement present for our next door neighbour who has just lost her brother. Our neighbours are now in that twilight period where they are waiting for the funeral in about 10-12 days time after which, no doubt, they can start to adjust to life without their relative. As I write, we are playing a CD of a compilation of Mozart tracks and the one playing at the moment is the aria ‘Soave sia il vento’ (‘Softly blows the wind’) which I always associate with my mother’s funeral. This is because on the night before the funeral when the coffin was present in the church all night and we had just arrived in the church car park, this aria was playing -it represesents a sort of ‘goodbye’ when the two young girls in the opera are waving goodbye to their lovers. As a sort of spooky coincidence, when we were visiting Harrogate about a year later and went past the road leading to the cemetory where my mother was buried, this track was being played on ClassicFM.

This afternooon, after we had our post-prandial cup of tea, we popped around to our neighbours with the little gift and the condolence card. She was bearing up quite well but I am sure must be feeling the loss of her brother quite keenly. I busied myself in the afternoon looking up at the stocks of CDs that we have in various places to try to pull together the various bits of both Hayden and Handel that we have as I think I will now keep them altogether and much more accessible. I rediscovered part of Hayden’s ‘The Creation’ which I had in for some time and was particularly delighted that my favourite cantata (‘The heavans are teling the glory of the Lord’) was on this particular CD but as the various parts were given their German titles, I had not immediately recognised it. By today’s post came the John Eliot Gardiner rendition of arias and choruses from Bach’s ‘St John Passion’ which we particularly enjoyed playing whilst we are having a relaxing read during the afternoon. I have relocated the Panasonic ‘BoomBox’ which I purchased incredibly cheaply a few weeks ago in a more proximate location in our living room so that we can enjoy afternoon concerts whenever we want. As I am writing this, Meg and I are engaging in an interesting type of social experiment which I think is being tried across the country. If you have signed up for this experiment as Meg and I have through our utility supplier, then you are encouraged to turn off as much power as is possible to save a certain degree of energy during a period of what may well be maximum demand. With the introduction of smart meters, it is possible to calculate exactly how much less than normal your power consumption is for this particular hour (from 5pm-6pm) and then your utility company will reimburse you some money (of the order of £2-£3). In this way, the National Grid (who may well be the ultimate funder of the scheme) may be able to tunnel through this period of maximum demand without having to rely upon some coal-fired power stations that are being kept on standby in case power supplies dip below the normally accepted safe levels. Although we can import power from continental Europe, they may not be able to supply it as their own domestic customers will evidently take some priority. A few hours later when all of the sums have been computed, I am hoping that my utility provider (‘Octopus’) will manage to compute for me how much power I have actually saved and how much money I have ‘earned’ It does feel quite exciting to engage in a national project like this, the first of its kind I think, and I will report in future how successful it has been.