Saturday, 8th April, 2023

[Day 1118]

Easter Saturday has arrived in a fine and bright way which means that today and tomorrow at least, the nation might rejoice in springlike weather. The weather forecasters are predicting that the UK may well be hotter than certain parts of Greece such as Crete in the next day or so but the Bank Holiday will end with a massive downpour. Meg and I breakfasted and then I spent a certain amount of time digging out the first three lectures in a rather innovative course that I used to teach called ‘Thinking About Management’ All of this arose because I was talking to our University of Birmingham friend about this particular course and that I had managed to incorporate within it some rudiments of a course in Logic which I had studied for ‘A’-level (on my own) in order to gain admission to university in 1964-65. The first three lectures of ‘Thinking About Management‘ were concerned with thinking about the thinking process itself and I wished to convey the different styles of thinking, principally contrasting the straight-line deductive type of thinking which characterises a lot of Western science (labelled by one academic source as ‘convergent thinking’) with other thinking styles such as more circular, lateral thinking styles popularised by academics such as de Bono and sometimes decribed as ‘divergent thinking’) After a very long and discursive ‘romp’ around the field in the first leture, the second was concerned with the rudiments of logic whilst the third was concerned with the correct way to approach a critique of an academic article. When we eventually got to Waitrose, I treated our University of Birmingham friend to a mini-tutorial on these materials and, of course, he had come across some of these ideas before but in a different guise. In return our friend gave us a series of Foundation and Intermediate CD-based courses in Spanish by Michel Thomas which I think was highly regarded when first produced. There is a ‘cunning plan’ behind all of this because I am hopeful that if the weather is fair in the next week or so ahead, I can get busy with some gardening whilst Meg can sit on either of our benches (one at the front, the other at the rear) of our property and can rekindle her proficiency in Spanish whilst keeping an eye on me as I garden. That is the theory upon which I am going to work in any case.

Whilst we were having our coffee in Waitrose, we experienced a little incident for which I must confess total responsibility. Our University of Birmingham friend was by my side at a double table, whilst Meg was sitting opposite to us. I had brought along two quite heavy philosophy books to lend to our friend and I asked Meg to pick up the the quite heavy bag and pass it to me. Being unbalanced and twisting sideways Meg fell, or rather slithered, to the floor and finished up flat on her back. This created quite a commotion and people rushed to help. One of the Waitrose shop assistants and myself hauled Meg to her feet and thence onto a bench from which further falls were unlikely. I explained that this was quite a common event after Meg had drunk a pint of gin for breakfast but the whole incident was characterised by smiles and laughter all round. The manager made an appearance and was duly solicitous whilst another of the staff who is primarily responsible for looking after the extensive flower collection came over with a donated bunch of spring flowers to help Meg get over the shock of being on the floor. Of course, as probably the oldest of this store’s clients and being frequent visitors, we are well known within the store but the reaction of the staff and fellow customers was incredibly heart-warming. Mind you, I have been scraping Meg off various floors all of our married life and even before, the first such incident being when I had to pick Meg up from a moving moving pavement in an airport in Paris. She was wearing a 40lb rucksack at the time which had occasioned the first topple but others have followed regularly over the years.

This afternoon, we have spent a very pleasant afternoon listening to the ClassicFM countdown. Each year, ClassicFM exhorts its listeners to vote for their favourite pieces – these are then played in reverse order starting at 9.00am on Good Friday morning and then culminates in the most favourite piece some time in the evening of Bank Holiday Monday. This makes ClassicFM quite an an interesting listening experience over a Bank Holiday weekend and pulls it ahead of Radio 3 who decided to broadcast popular tracks of film music to compete. I think that Radio 3 has misjudged what is appropriate to an Easter Saturday afternoon but that I suppose is a question of judgement and taste. But I think the ClassicFM strategy is quite a sound one as you are led into listening to items which reflect listeners’ choices. This evening Meg and I are on duty to ‘meet and greet’ in our local church. We are looking forward to the fine weather tomorrow and we have arranged to meet our friend in the park, all being well.