Friday, 3rd February, 2023

[Day 1054]

Today being the end of the week, Meg and I had nothing really in prospect so it was a toss-up whether we went to the park or visited Waitrose in the off-chance that we might bump into any of our pre-pandemic friends. Eventually, we decided on the off-chance to visit Waitrose and we were really glad that we did because sitting there waiting for us was our University of Birmingham friend. We were both pleased to see each other and we had one of those chats where one thing leads to another. One amusing topic of conversation was the disjunction that is apparent between the normal speaking voice with which we are familiar and the sound of your voice as captured on a tape recorder, for example. As we hear the sound of our voice mediated somewhat by the bones of our skull, then what we imagine to be our normal speaking voice is not what what others hear. This then led onto one of the insights of social psychology which I have always found fascinating. This is the self concept that individuals have of themselves and an early social psychologist at the turn of the century dubbed this ‘the looking glass self’ The essential idea behind this psychological contruct is that we form the perceptions that we have of ourselves from the way in others perceive us – on other words, other people in their interactions with us constitute a type of mirror or ‘looking glass’. There is subtlety attached to all of this because it is actually our perceptions of other people’s perceptions of us that get built into our own self-identity. I remember that as boys playing football in the school yard during playtime, as a rather cruel joke we use to take the kid that happened to be the least skilful at football and then all pretend to him that he was absolutly brilliant, even allowing him to score occasionally to add to his self belief. The young ‘victim’ (as they were in reality) then started to think of themselves as really talented which I suppose is rather a cruel joke but that is what children sometimes do to each other in the playground. Allied to this story is the other one I blogged about the other day when the world famous footballer Pele had just died. The story is told of an amateur footballer who had been knocked unconscious and was being treated by the trainer at the edge of the pitch. But the manager was desperate to get him playing again in a very tight Cup match and when the trainer explained that, after the concussion, the footballer was confused and could not remember who he was, the manager retorted ‘Tell him he is Pele and get him back on the pitch!’ The conversation with our University of Birmingham friend then flowed on to the topic of the level of musical education we had both received and how we all have to find our natural level of ability before we realise that we were never going to become concert pianists or performers.

his lunchtime we raided the freeer and found one piece of frozen white fish that was going to constitute our lunch. The frozen fish is nutritious enough but not particularly flavoursome, so it needed a bit of ‘tarting up’ for our meal. I discovered that I had a half packet of Hollandaise sauce powder left which I then enhanced with some ‘mixed Italian herbs’ I discovered in our spice rack and all of this had the desired effect as our lunch turned out to be quite tasty and was complemented with a baked potato and some green beans. After lunch, we enjoyed a little concert of some Mozart piano sonatas and then tuned in to an old version of ‘Morse’ being shown on ITV3. The theme of this proved a little ‘dark’ for Meg (teenagers dying after taking ‘E’ and similar laboratory manufactured drugs) so we abandoned this and tuned into an animal type program that was more of Meg’s cup of tea. I read the newspaper from cover-to-cover and successfully completed a ‘difficult’ Soduka which I rarely do these days. Meg and I are looking forward to this weekend because it is the start of the 6 Nations rugby competition – some of it collides with our visit to church on late Saturday afternoon so we shall have to make a judicious use of our Personal Video Recorder to record the matches (or even the whole series) for later viewing.

The first hint of a breakthrouh in some of the public sector strikes was seen this afternoon. Nurses in Wales with the Royal College of Nursing have called off planned strike action next week after a pay offer this afternoon. Pat Cullen, the union’s general secretary, observed that if the other governments can negotiate and find more money for this year, the prime minister can do the same. This puts the presssure upon health ministers who refuse to negotiate on the nursing dispute in England to come up with a similar offer but somehow, I think that they will still hold fast and not accept the precedent of the nurses in Wales.