Wednesday, 2nd September, 2020

[Day 170]

We knew that today was going to be quite busy and so it proved. We made a reasonably early start to our morning walk but didn’t connect with anybody on the way down to the park or indeed on the way back until we bumped into the daughter of some near neighbours who was busy working on her garden. As we had not spoken for months, we had quite a lot of news to exchange about how we were coping with the COVID situation. Our neighbour explained to us that she was due to return to work in a solicitor’s office in the next day or so and was regarding it with a certain degree of apprehension. I am sure that those feelings are shared right across the country. In fact, I saw a headline from the Financial Times which read : ‘Goodbye to the ‘Pret economy’ and good luck to whatever replaces it’ and that is quite an interesting thought. The article continues:

Britain’s first packaged sandwich was sold by Marks and Spencer in 1980 for 43p, and the first ‘Pret A Manger’ opened six years later. It was a decade of economic transformation: city offices were replacing factories as engines of growth, and sandwiches were the fuel they ran on—

What we are seeing, or rather living through, is a transformation of our economy and it is going to look very different as traditional city centres, bustling with people, become less populated and it is possible that well-paid workers might now be spread more equally throughout the towns of the country. As the FT article indicates, the kind of economy in which a young Romanian worker who got up at 3.0am to commute for an hour and a half into Waterloo for a wage of £16,000 was not really sustainable before the lockdown and is even less so now. Many workers will have discovered that working at home, despite the lack of social contact enjoyed in the workplace, had its advantages when you take away the daily commute, having to buy clothes for work, not to mention the daily sandwiches. If I had to make a prediction, it would be that we would see the rise of a ‘sandwich box’ culture which always had a rather industrial tinge to it but may well enjoy a resurgence if enterprising entrepreneurs can tap into a new social trend.

After lunch, Meg had an appointment with the optician who has seen us for years – according to Meg, her eyes have hardly changed and she and the optician spent some time going up and down memory lane together. In the meanwhile, I had run out of kilner jars to process my damsons into damson gin but I was incredibly fortunate to pop into the nearby Poundland and alleviate them of their stock of 1 litre Kilner jars (which, to be truthful, I did not expect to find there). Then after I had collected Meg from her optician’s appointment, we made our way to a Home Bargains store nearby where I managed to locate some 1.5 litre kilner jars which I added to my stock. As soon as I got these all home, I gave them a sterilisng rinse ready for more filling activities this evening.

Tonight I decided to install a specialist text editor for the MAC called ‘Atom‘ onto a laplop I keep in the lounge – the purpose of this is that I can blog, keep an eye on the television and keep Meg company at the same time. Having got this installed and configured just about, I had no idea what key strokes were necessary to activate the viewing of the HTML code as it would appear in a browser – I knew from another version of this software installed on my main MAC how this should work. After a frustrating hour I solved the problem – you actually had to install a specialist plug-in to view your code in a browser. Why this shoud be regarded as an add-on and not an integral part of the text editor, I cannot discern but it is always a relief to eventually get a problem solved and working the way you want.