Wednesday, 5th July, 2023

[Day 1206]

Today the weather was set somewhat more fair but the humidity seemed to build up as the day wore on. This morning, Meg and I needed to have a passport photo of Meg taken in connection with some legal work so we actually chose another car park which minimised the amount of walking that Meg needed to walk along the High Street. As we were about to leave the photo shop, we received a very welcome phone call inviting us for coffee in Waitrose at the other end of the High Street. We made our way via one or two charity shops and were very pleased to see our friend being gradually restored to health after his recent bout of illness. One of the slight frustrations of life is that when our present car experiences a low type pressure in any of its four tyres, a symbol appears in the car’s information system as a constant reminder to get something done about it. What I have learned, through some experiences in the past, is that once the tyres are correctly inflated, the ‘flat tyre’ symbol does not disappear but one has to locate the appropriate setting in the controls (buried some way down) and then re-initilise it. This happened today and after I had checked out my tyres, I then had to come home and consult the web to find out how to reset, and thus eliminate, the warning symbol. After all of this, we decided to forget about the grass-cutting which we normally do on Wednesdays because we were expecting a long and important telephone call this afternoon.

Last night, when I had a bit of time to myself, I was intrigued to attempt to discover the value and provenance of the better of the piano stools which I purchased yesterday. Finding the value of piano stools via Bay is not necessarily an easy thing to do. There are several offered for sale but they are almost inevitably put into an auction where one can only surmise what the final selling price is likely to be. But more importantly, and given the nature of the items, they always seem to be offered on a ‘collection only’ basis and they always seem to be at least one hundred miles away from the Midlands. So my efforts in this direction initially scored a blank. I then consulted a veriety of websites to attempt to ascertain the kind of wood from which the stool was made and narrowed my options down to deal, cherrywood and mahogany. I think that mahogany was probably the best match but one can never be sure about such things. Finally, I hit on a vein of websites which were showing antique piano stools and this avenue of approach seemed a lot more fruitful. Looking at how the stool I had bought fitted into the general panorama of what I say displayed, I am now pretty certain that I have acquired a vintage Edwardian piano stool, manufactured about 1900 and which, in an antique dealer’s shop, would probably start off from £150 upwards. If attempting to buy one of these items through a straight eBay transaction, I think the price may lay in the range of £70-£120. But putting together a series of clues, I suspect that I am now the proud owner of a piece of vintage furniture worth considerably more than the price I paid for it. When I get somebody a bit more knowledgable than myself, it will be interesting to see if my guestimate and/or judgement is confirmed.

This afternoon, I had a long and important telephone call, by prior arrangement, with Worcestershire Association of Carers. This organisation acts both as a voluntary organisation with its own mission and agenda but also acts as an agent for Worcestershire County Council when it is in ‘assessment’ mode. The conversation was about an hour and a half long and generally fruitful as my contact made some suggestions some of which she is going to action and others of which I might be able to action myself. All of this may mean that there a range of sources of help and advice to assist with my wife’s health condition which may eventually prove helpful to us but I think that it may be several months before any real benefits manifest themselves.

Tonight there is going to be a program on the TV celebrating the life and achievements of Florence Nightingale. I remember well when I was attending a Total Quality Management conference in Sheffield when I was accumulating papers for my PhD that the floor was given to a Japanese TQM expert. His lecture started with words to the effect that speaking to a British audience, we did not need to be reminded about the life and career of Florence Nightgale, the great English….At this point, most of the audience was expecting to hear the words ‘nurse’ but instead the Japanese academic spoke the words ‘social statistician and nurse’ It is instructive for us now to appreciate that Florence Nightingale gave us the pie-chart and several other graphical representations that have become the bread-and-butter of modern statistics, perhaps well known to all school children. I am wondering, and will no doubt soon find out, whether this is reflected in the program this evening.