Wednesday, 21st October, 2020

[Day 219]

We know that the weather might be quite fine tomorrow but it certainly was not today as the morning seemed dominated by windy and squally showers. However, the wind was not particularly cold so our normal walk was not unpleasant but I still had to engage in the daily ritual of wiping the park bench dry – fortunately, we always pack a spare tea towel in our rucksack so we are well used to making the place habitable. From a distance, we spotted one or two of our normal ‘park’ or ‘ex-Waitrose‘ friends but I suspect that none of us wanted to linger for too long in case we got rained upon even more. Meg and I had a hairdressing appointment in the middle of the day (our hairdresser comes to the house accoutred with visors and gloves) and was on time, so Meg and I had had to schedule our lunch so we had got it all over (if not washed up) before she arrived. We now tend to pay people who provide us with services by electronic payments which saves scrabbling around for the odd £5 note (which incidentally seem to be rare as hen’s teeth these days)

As my mobile phone contract had run its three years and expired a few days ago, I thought I would go down into town and work out what my options might be. So I ensured that my existing phone was backed up and 100% charged before I set forth in the late afternoon. Although my contract was with EE, I was pretty sure that there was a CarPhone Warehouse on the High Street and so my game plan was to visit CarPhone Warehouse, see what deals I could be offered and then use this to trade a better deal with EE. But as I have not visited the High Street for some time, then Carphone Warehouse seems to have disappeared (I looked on the web and discovered just now that they have closed 531 standalone stores and made 2,000 staff redundant on 3rd April.) As our attention was elsewhere because of the virus, I didn’t know or even notice the demise of CarPhone Warehouse. Undeterred, I went into my (deserted) EE store, told them I was at end of my contract and wondered what my options were – I vaguely had in mind that I wanted to trade up to a slightly smaller and more convenient model than my current iPhone and had read some reviews of the SE model. Basically, Apple have done a most un-Apple like thing and combined some old technology (screen size, footprint) with some advances in chip design and performance to produce a phone with 90% of the performance of the bigger beasts in the Apple stable for about 50% of the price. I was pleasantly surprised to be told I could have a brand new phone at a price cut of 40% of the contract price I had been paying and they could transfer all of my old phone data over and have it installed on the new one within the hour. This was a pleasant surprise, and not what I was expecting The EE assistant pointed me in the direction of a cheaper shop that here I purchased a screen protector and a new case at a 20% discount and for about £20.00. So made my way home, amazed that everything had been so trouble free (as yet) as well as so much cheaper.

Meanwhile, back into the real world! the COVID-19 cases totalled 26,700 in a single day which is a frightening figure (you have to work out how many become seriously ill, then have to be hospitalised, them progress into a Critical Care unit and then, for some, die of the virus). South Yorkshire have joined Manchester into being promoted to ‘Tier 3’ which basically outlaws any indoor or outdoor meetings, pubs can only stay open if they are serving a ‘substantial meal’ How many business in the hospitality sector can survive? However, having said that, there is certainly the growth of what one can term ‘the night-time economy’ There are 650 licensed premises (principally pubs) in Manchester City centre alone. How many nightclubs there are is anybody’s guess and I have not been able to even make a guesstimate but I would I suspect that it is in the range of 50-100. When I was a student in Manchester in the mid 1960s there were..2! One has to ask the question – how many pubs/nightclubs does a city like Manchester need? (I realise this is a somewhat heretical question to ask but I ask it anyway)