Sunday, 9th April, 2023

[Day 1119]

So Easter Day has dawned for another year. Last night, Meg and I attended the Easter services which were much longer and more complex than usual. Perhaps not unsurprisingly in the course of a two hour service that looked a little under-rehearsed, some of the celebrants looked as though as they had lost the plot a little and a certain amount of improvisation was called for but everybody got there in the end. Today was promised to be a slightly better day but it did not turn out to be such a fine day as yesterday. We got off to a slightly false start as we intended to pick up our copy of the newspaper from our usual newsagent but it was closed. So we said to ourselves that we pick up a newspaper after we had paid a visit to the park. There, on our usual bench, we met up with our University of Birmingham friend where we carried forward some of the conversations of yesterday, mainly considering the research cultures of the universities in which we had worked and our various coping trategies for dealing with the regular assessments for what became known as the ‘Research Assessment Exercise‘ All research active academics wer meant to be put forward the best of the papers they had published in the past four years and each submitting department given some kind of score, to the best of my memory. But a certain amount of gaming went on in all of these activities and some injustices were certainly in evidence, in both of our experience. Our friend received a telephone call and this rather cut short our conversation this morning. Nonetheless, we had enjoyed a coffee taken in our flask and allowed ourselves to partake in some little chocolate eggs contained within a larger Easter egg present which our son had thoughtfully provided for us the last time he had called round at the house. Last night with fellow worshippers and again today, I announced to anyone that would hear as that Lent was now over, and I had given up fast cars, loose women, drinking, gambling and chocolate for Lent, I was now at liberty to pursue all of these activities again (when the opportunity presents itself). After we had left our friend in the park, we realised that we still had to get a copy of our usual Sunday nespaper somewhere. Our first point of call was the local garage but they were sold out. Then we tried a shop on the High Street but that appeared not only shut but now closed down. We set off for our local Morrison’s supermarket, passing en-route a ‘One Stop’ shop but that, too, had run out. As we got to the supermarket, it too was closed but as we drove past the associated garage, we noticed that they had some newspapers so I called in and got one of the last two remaining copies. Evidently, when other avid newspaper readers could not get a paper from their normal source of supply, every other source in the district was visited so we felt fortunate to get our newspaper at last.

Once we got home, I checked on ‘spatchcock’ chicken that we had had cooking in the oven. Fortunately, it was only a little over its suggested cooking time so it was a comparatively simple job to prepare some vegetables and have a traditional Sunday lunch. I happened to have some cranberry sauce in the fridge and this went just as well with chicken as with turkey that it traditionally accompanies. After lunch was over, Meg and I thought that we would treat ourselves to a quarter final match of Championship club rugby. The billed match was the French tean La Rochelle vs. Saracens (which team supplies several players in the English national team) In the event the match was disppointing as Saracens conceded penalty after penlty (I think I stopped counting after the first 18) from which the French team typically capitalised and then scored. So La Rochelle were nine points ahead after only about aix minutes and this became the pattern for the rest of the match. Although the match was played at a lighning pace, the errors conceded by Saracens at the breakdown eventually made the match completely one-sided.

We sometimes watch the BBC ‘CountryFile‘ programme which must have been going for decades now but they have a slot (aimed at farmers and growers?) giving a weather forecast for the week ahead. We can now expect a week of lower temperatures, bands of showers and some quite gusty winds until things improve next weekend so it is case of spring delayed. The same program looked at the way in which plants and herbs that were traditional remedies are now being re-evaluated as antibiotic resistance is gradually increasing. I knew that leeches were still used in the NHS today but the same applies to some maggots (very good at removing diseased and dying portions of skin and flesh in certain conditions) Later on, I spent some time sending an Easter e-greetings card to a friend who sent me one recently but whose return card may sit around in the postbox until next Tuesday, given the non-collection of mail over the Bank Holiday.