Saturday, 25th March, 2023

[Day 1104]

Today was my son’s birthday which is not a date which is easily forgotten. When I woke up this morning I sent him a text wishing him Happy Birthday and suggesting that I call around with some birthday cards that he could do with today. I got a reply that he and his wife could call around after breakfast which they did. We had an impromptu and celebratory cup of tea and some little fancy cakes that they had brought around and then they departed to go off and do some shopping and then have a birthday meal in what I suppose you could describe as a gastropub. We used to frequent this often but had a terrible experience some years back, pre the pandemic where our order was mixed up with some one elses and they were served with our meal as they had ordered the same. We waited for about 40 minutes and the manager was nowhere to be seen during the whole of our dining stay. But we have never been back but there is now a new chef, and possibly new management as well, and we have heard good recent reports of dining there. However, a bad experience lingers in the mind sonewhat but no doubt we can find an occasion in the future when we can frequent it again. By this stage it was getting to late morning so we collected our newspaper and felt disinclined to walk in the park, even though it was a fairly warm day. After we had dined on meatballs baked in the oven, we thought we would look forward to the Six Nations Womens’ teams as the competition starts today. The first match was Wales vs. Ireland but it was only broadcast ‘live’ in Wales – nonetheless, it was available on the iPlayer so we enjoyed watching a very convincing Wales victory. At one stage it looked as though the Irish team would not get any points in the match at all but they redeemed themselves with a try late on in the second half.

After we returned from church, we tried to watch the Scotland vs England women’s match on iPlayer just to be met with the label ‘not available’. This all seemed a little strange as we were able to watch the Wales vs. Ireland only half an hour after kick-off whilst we were trying to watch the Scotland vs. England game some four hours after the kickoff. Bit I tried accessing this match via the iPlayer on my laptop and it seemed to work fine and I turned again to the TV and now everything worked as I expected. The England vs. Scotland match is being played in Newcastle at a much faster pace than the match during the afternoon so that makes it even more enjoyable to watch. The women’s game seems to involve much more running through the centre rather than using the long kick or even as much of the wingers but tbis is only an impression on my part and I may be mistaken. The game concluded with a massive England win who generally mauled their way for a total of ten tries, demonstrating massive power.

The political news this weekend concerns the discussions that are taking place regarding the ‘resignation honours’ lists which have been submitted by both Boris Johnson and also by Liz Truss. Each is controversial in its own way. Johnson’s list contains his own father so this is an unusual nomination to put it mildly. The extraordinary thing about the Liz Truss nomination list is that it has been submitted at all. The Liz Truss premiership lasted for about seven weeks and she was the shortest serving prime minister of all time. Althpugh she is stricly speaking, entitled to submit a list, it does rather have quite a nasty smell about it all. There is an obscure committee which has oversight of the honours system and I believe that the final decision lies with the Prime Minister of the day. If Rishi Sunak wanted to demonstrate that he was a man of integrity, then using his prerogative to not approve or to massively restrict the numbers of those expecting some retirement ‘goodies’ might prove to be a sensible policy.

This morning, as I was waiting for Meg to get ready for our little venture out to collect the newspapers, I popped into our newly commissioned little music room and tuned into my favourite radio stations which are, in order, Classic FM, Radio 4 and then Radio 3. From the little system that I have in that room, I always get excellent reception for Classic FM whilst Radio 4 is almost as good but Radion 3 is a little ‘iffy’ with what I suppose you might call stereo hiss. I have my FM aerial hooked vertically up the wall because practically every source (on the internet) indicates that a vertical orientation is always the preferred alternative. But as a tiny little experiment, I unhooked the FM aerial and laid it out in a horizontal orientation. This improved my Radio 3 reception enormously and the other two stations still had eception that was just as good. So quite by accident and without any theoretical understanding as to why this should have occurred, I now have a situation in which my FM reception is all I could hope that it could be. Perhaps that is why the FM aerials that are sold in electrical retailers often have a ‘T’ configuration and you are advised to install both the vertical and the horizontal arms. So you live and learn.