Sunday, 31st January, 2021

[Day 321]

This morning I did not oversleep as I sometimes do on a Sunday morning and was therefore in plenty of time to walk down to the newsagents and get back again in time for breakfast and the Andrew Marr show. When I am walking on my own, I often use an incredibly old iPhone that I generally use as a music player – somehow (and I am not quite sure how how I did it) I have about 200 classical tracks stored it (a good selection of Mozart and Bach amongst other things. And now for the coincidence I am about to explain. At the time of our 50th wedding anniversary celebrations, I got out our large album of wedding photos to digitise them (which I did). Out from the middle of the album dropped a lined sheet of paper torn from a notebook and on it was the original organist’s notes detailing what we had played at our wedding in 1967. Meg and I can remember most of what we had played but it was nice to have the ‘definitive list’ as it were – and for this, I managed to go onto the internet and get recordings which very closely simulated what one would have heard 50 years ago. One of the things that we had sung at the wedding was the cantata ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring‘ by J. S. Bach (incredibly well known to almost everybody). It was sung for us by a close friend of Mike’s called Austin who was training to be an opera singer but we have lost contact with him decades ago (and he may no longer even be alive) Anyway, a very good acquaintance of ours was Clive who used to walk his two Jack Russell terriers every day and we often stopped to engaged in conversation and jokes. Clive had played the trumpet for about 80 years and was very accomplished – we asked him if he would like to attend our wedding celebrations which he did and played ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring‘ for us at our reception. Now for the coincidence. The recording of this I got from the internet was a trumpet solo accompanied by an organ (a stunning combination, by the way) and, as it happened, this on my iPhone. Now for the coincidence. As I was passing Clive’s house, what came up on the iPhone as a random shuffle was the track of the trumpet/organ version of the cantata. Is this coincidence? fate? Beyond the grave? I am not ashamed to admit that as I was only own, I shed quite a tear in remembrance of my very good friend Clive, who departed from us in his 80’s about this time last year.

We picked up our newspapers and proceeded to the park where we met with a couple of our park friends. One we had not seen since about Christmas time and I had been carrying round a bottle of damson gin in my rucksack for weeks but we had not coincided. Now at last I could hand my little gift over and I hope she doesn’t drink it all at once (although there is more where that came from) Then we met our Birmingham University friend and caught up on several things we have been discussing over the days (I told him my ‘Clive’ coincidence by the way) Then, on the way home we met with some of our oldest church friends who were waiting patiently for their turn of the vaccination jab.

We had a normal Sunday lunch and treated ourselves to Part 1 of the Channel 5 series on ‘The Great Plague‘ – we have seen this before but it was well worth watching again and we look forward to the next two parts. Tonight, by way of experiment, I tried to see if I could access YouTube from our TV. I can, and after fishing about with Gmail usernames and passwords managed to get myself onto the YouTube system. Now we are really enjoying a production of Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ (a production with stunning voices but I’m not quite sure in what theatre it was filmed and I don’t want to pause it or mess about with it in case I can’t get it back again – I can see to that in the morning no doubt) Now I can treat myself to all kinds of things that YouTube offers (in particular Amadeus, the story of Mozart’s life which is may favourite film of all time)

I see that the number of vaccinations is fast approaching 9 million (8.97 at the last count) so that looks well on track. I wonder whether the 70 year olds are easier to process as they find they can access the vaccination centres more easily compared with the 80 year olds. I also read tonight that the 100 year old Captain Sir Tom Moore is in hospital being treated for COVID-19. Apparently, he had not been vaccinated as he was suffering from a bout of pneumonia. Wouldn’t it be a terrible comment on the year if he succumbed to it? The nation must be holding its breath.