Wednesday, 7th October, 2020

[Day 205]

Today was quite a fine day, as the weather forecast indicated it might be, so we had different plans for the day. We knew that we could go off and do several things whilst the weather was set fair so we decided to visit Droitwich, which is a few miles to the south of us and which we used to visit fairly regularly. We made a telephone booking in our favourite cafe/restaurant and then set out having collected our newspapers from our regular little shop on the way out. Once we were parked in Droitwich we decided to call in at a little, old-fashioned ‘Olde World Teashoppe’ that we have visited before the era of the COVID virus. Once we arrived, they had all of their systems in place and we pointed our NHS test-and-trace app at the QR code to get ourselves signed in (which all worked perfectly). Meg ordered an Earl Grey Tea whist I ordered a Mocha coffee which turned out to be the nicest Mocha that I have tasted anywhere. We both treated ourselves to toasted teacakes and felt massively profligate (having restrained from eating too much carbohydrate recently). The cafe proprietor was a very jolly soul and in no time at all the cafe as a whole soon joined in the general merriment. Once a week they put on a special roast dinner at an incredibly reasonable price so we asked for one of their menus/cards so we can book a meal in advance if we so fancy it in a week or so. In fact,Meg and I remembered that when we had eaten there in the upstairs portion of the cafe, we had met a family who came from the area of the Potteries in which she was brought up so there was a lot of wandering memory lane on that occasion. Then we re-parked the car so as not to fall foul of over-assiduous parking wardens and made our way through the town for our lunch date. Although we had booked previously expecting the cafe to be teeming, it was in fact fairly empty so Meg and I ordered a lasagne (which I have to admit was delicious), and they very obligingly swapped the chips element which we did not fancy for some ciabatta bread with garlic butter. After lunch we called in a large ‘Wilkinsons’ hardware store (trading as ‘Wilco’ throughout the Midlands) at which we tend to replenish our supplies of cosmetics and stationery (although gardening, motoring, decorating and kitchenware etc. was available to us had we felt so inclined).

Just round the corner from the hardware store is a shoe shop from which Meg had bought a fantastically comfortable pair of boots about a year ago which she has worn most days on our journey to the park. So we thought that as shoes do not last for ever, it might be a good idea to see if they had any more of the same make. As it happened, they did not have that particular manufacturer’s line in stock but they did they did have some even better ones so Meg was more than delighted to have a new pair of boots (belated birthday present) In my own case, I have a pair of incredibly comfortable walking boots but when I examined them by turning them upside down the heels had worn away to practically nothing. I did a quick calculation that tended to suggest that I must have walked the best part of 1,000 kilometres in them so I thought I would see what the shop had on offer. Eventually, we were passed onto the proprietor himself who was extremely knowledgable about his stock and he found me a pair of Italian walking shoes (which looked good I must say) and these I was more than happy to purchase on the understanding that they might well last for 2,000 kilometres. I have to say it was a real delight to get that degree of personal attention which is all so often lacking in modern shops but the attention that we received was certainly an excellent way to build customer loyalty.

Tonight is the US vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence (solid, white, conventional American male) and Kamala Harris (brought up in California where she became the district attorney – the son of an Indian Mother and a Jamaican father). Normally vice-presidential debates do not attract a great deal of interest, but this time around there is a lot of interest. In the case of Mike Pence, it is quite possible that he might have to take over the Presidency if Donald Trump were to fall over in the next four weeks or at some time in the next four years should Donald Trump actually win. But much more likely is that Joe Biden will win but because of his age be content as a one term president which would lead the field open to Kamala Harris to become president ( the first woman president for the USA) in four years time.The debate starts at 2.0am GMT so I shall have to wait until tomorrow to see who draws blood!