Sunday, 13th December, 2020

[Day 272]

Well, I have to admit that I woke up feeling a little tired this morning. I had got up reasonably early to make Meg and I an early morning cup of tea. Then I flew to Spain to represent GB in an international athletics competition and then flew home again. I donned a one-piece of athletics wear (called, I believe a ‘onesie’) in a shocking bright pink and then ran from my home to the Pilates studio when I chatted with my fellow course members about my activities of the night before. And then I woke up! Needless to say, all of my athletic ventures were part of a vivid dream which I had immediately after falling asleep again after I had brought my wife her early morning cup of tea. After these little adventures I had a quick wash and jumped into the car to get my supply of Sunday newspapers (which might be particularly insightful on the eve of a ‘no-deal’ showdown). We then watched the Andrew Marr show before walking down to the park. When we set off, it was absolutely raining cats and dogs so we even availed ourselves of an umbrella. We had determined that we would forget about attempt to sit down in view of the rain – but we would have our flask of coffee and then make for home. We made for the park bandstand which is our typical retreat when it is raining hard. When we got there we met an interesting trio. They were demonstrating a sort of adult tricycle (or a bike with two wide wheels at the rear if you like). The young men and his two female accomplices had chosen today to attract some visitors in order to demonstrate their appliance – needless to say, there was nobody around for miles around (apart from Meg and myself) After they half-heartedly pointed the major features of their bike (they were never going to make a sale aspires started at £1.000 and only went North of that) we chatted about this and that. One of the girls came from the British Virgin Islands (and the only thing that comes to mind there is ‘tax-haven’) whilst the others forebears came from East Africa (either Kenya or Uganda) I mentioned to her that Idi Amin, the Ugandan head of state, had thrown all of the Asians out of Uganda in the 1970’s and many entrepreneurial style Asians from Uganda, Malawi and Kenya made their way to England in general and Leicester in particular. (Leicester, to its shame, put out several adverts at the time saying ‘Do NOT come to Leicester‘) Our young friend had only a hazy idea of these events and thought that her grandfather may have mentioned Idi Amin. Anyway, I thought I would enlighten her about some of the interesting facts of past colonial history and how Churchill had granted Asians British passports as an inducement to move from Asia to East Africa to provide labour for the tea-plantations. We were asked how many years we had been married and when I mentioned 53 years (since 1967) and this provided me with the excuse of showing her our wedding photos where Meg was displaying her ‘Mary Quant’ style wedding dress. I hasten to add it was not a genuine Mary Quant – but Meg sketched out the designs and Meg’s mother, an excellent coutourier, made it up. It was our chance to show the younger generation a bit of social history in any case.

The news came through late morning that the UK-EU trade deal talks were going to be extended – but we do not know for how long. The Observer this morning (not the Sunday Times!) was full of stories of how the leaders of manufacturing industry as well as ‘Tory grandees’ (Michael Heseltine but who else?) were getting seriously alarmed that with a ‘no-deal’ we might be throwing ourselves over a cliff – well a 6% diminution in our GDP on top of the COVID-10 induced damage. It does appear that none of the advantages promised for us by the ardent Brexiteers are showing any signs of appearance (after ‘the easiest deal in history’, ‘ an oven-ready deal’ and similar nonsenses)

After we had our Sunday lunch and a good read and then I started to update my Christmas card ‘database’ (actually a Word template) This is when the nightmare started! The print images showed several of the entries over-printing each other but this did not appear in the main file. So there were masses of inconsistencies that I tried to resolve but couldn’t. Anyway, I think I have run off 90% of the address labels that I need and then I need some hours (reconstructing? recreating?) the Word file so that next year it runs off easily as it should. The ironic thing is that last year, it ran off with no problems at all so what has happened in the meantime ? Perhaps amending some of the items threw things out of kilter, as they say.