Saturday, 15th July, 2023

[Day 1216]

Today is the day of the Bromsgrove Carnival so we expect that town might be very busy and also that that our local traffic systems would be disrupted as a consequence. We decided to pop into town to pick up our newspaper before the roads might be blocked off and we were unable to get access. We had made tentative plans to head out of town whilst we could and let the carnival take care of itself. On the way down into town, though, we noticed that the local information signs said that the roads would be blocked off between 12.00 and 4.00 and not between 10.00 and 4.00 as I thought. So we had a quick change of plan and decided to pop into Waitrose (if we could) where we bump into our normal café crowd. I also texted our University of Birmingham friend to tell him of our change of plan and so we all ended up in the cafe, enjoying a customary Saturday coffee together. Earlier in the day, I had wondered to myself whether it is was possible for my iPhone to make a sound recording and given that little video clips are possible, I was sure this would be be built into the iphone’s capabilities. After a quick Google search, I discovered that I needed to access my Utilities folder and then automatically download a utility called ‘VoiceMemos‘ after which I was all ready to go. So I sat down at my Casio keyboard, got it into the appropriate instrument mode, and then recorded myself playing the Hoffman ‘Barcarolle‘ first with the right hand and then with the left hand duplicating the right hand but an octave lower. Now that all of this is committed to posterity, I was able to bore my Waitrose café friends with my rendition whereupon I was informed, in no uncertain manner, that in a year’s time they would demand a fully featured concert. On leaving Waitrose, we bumped into one of our Irish friends and caught up with some of the news we wished to share with each other, after which I prepared a fairly light lunch of quiche, carrots and peas. When we arrived back from our little venture into town, I could see that a package that I had ordered had been delivered as I knew that it would be there this morning. What I had ordered was a special alumunium ‘rollator’ which is the name that the manufacturers give to those kinds of three wheeled walkers that we sometimes see in the park. One of the market leaders in the manufacture of these walkers was selling their product at a discounted price, discounted still further if you filled in a little certificate form that allowed you to order the product ex-VAT if the intended recipient was a disabled person. So this product was quite easily assembled and at 4.5 kg (about 101bs) was light enough to quite easily load into the boot of a car. Once assembled, I checked that the product would quite easily fit into the boot of our car which it did and this means that when Meg and I walk any distance in the park, this product will make Meg’s progress so much easier. It may be a day or so before I can give it a good trial but all of the indications are favourable so far.

Meg and I always have a fairly lazy Saturday afternoon, knowing that we will be out in the late afternoon to attend our weekly Church service. But this afternoon, it was the Ladies Winmbledon finals so Meg and I started to watch this. The match turned out to be quite interesting although not of tremendously high quality. However, it was noteworthy because the Czech,Marketa Vondrousova beat Tunisian opponent Ons Jabeur in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in the final. This made her the first unseeded woman to ever win Wimbledon. The nearest precedent that we have was Billy Jean King who was a finalist in 1963 (sixty years ago) but who did not win the title. What was quite fascinatimg about this game, apart from the fact that both players had runs where they lost several games in a row, was the body language displayed by Jabeur, the Tunisian. She had been a finalist last year and prhaps understood the pressure of a Wimbledon final but from about halfway through the match her self belief seem to drain from her and it was no surprise to me that she eventually lost the match. The whole match rather reminded me of those matches where an under-par England meet an equally under-par Australia in the Test Match and it is unclear who is going to prevail.

What may the final instalment of the Boris Johnson mobile phone saga may be resolving itself. The government has apparently found its own version of the pin number. According to Politico, the inputting of the password will be done by government-appointed ‘technical experts’ rather than Johnson himself. So the COVID enquiry may well have access to these materials but a much wider question is whether we have to wait until the committee reports to reveal what these messages reveal about Johnson’s preparedness (or lack of it) for the pandemic. Of course, it is always possible that an ‘unattributable’ leak from the enquiry might take place – there again, it might not.