Friday, 19th February, 2021

[Day 340]

Today was one of those kinds of days in which there was a degree of low-hanging cloud and showers always threatening but not quite materialising. We collected our newspapers and were in two minds whether or not to seek the shelter of the bandstand in the park – in the event, we decided to try our luck on one of the local benches and it although it was blustery and lots of water in the air, we were not being actually rained upon so we judged it better to try our luck on the bench. The poor weather kept some of the mothers with young children away whilst the ardent dog walkers were there in force as always. Talking about mothers and young children, I saw a young mother made up to the eyeballs who was dragging a two and a three year old through the mud. They were both howling and covered in mud but their mother dragged them along anyway, no doubt encouraging them to stand ‘on their own two feet’ which they didn’t. Just a little scene from park life. We didn’t meet with Birmingham University friend today as he had other things to do but we will probably meet on Sunday, all being well.

Today, I thought I would try something different for lunch. We had ordered some coley from Waitrose which actually came cut in the form of blocks of fish (but not reconstituted) I made a background mix of onions, peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms and then added the fish. Under the instruction of our domestic help, I made a type of roux which went over the fish and then slopped half a jar of onion and garlic ‘goo’ onto it before the whole was baked in the oven. It did actually turned out OK and I am sure I have tasted something similar in a Spanish restaurant but I couldn’t recall what they actually called it.

This afternoon after a slight snooze and a read, I decide to carry on cleaning up the study because having cleared some much ‘clutter’ off the desk, I did need to do something with it. One of these items was what I think is called a Digital Picture Frame and I had purchased one about four years ago, principally with our (then forthcoming) 50th wedding anniversary in mind. During my cleanup, I had an extraordinary stroke of luck because I discovered an unlabelled pen drive near to the picture frame but I had no idea what was on it. Inserting into the computer, I found that it actually contained the ordinal wedding photos (from 1967) which I had digitised and soundtracks of the music that had been played. This afternoon, I took the picture frame, inserted the pen drive into the slot provided, turned on the ‘On’ button and wondered what would happen. What we actually got was a rolling display of the digitised wedding photographs from 1967, all of the photos of the guests that we had taken at the celebration we held in a hotel near Kidderminster in 2017 (some three and a half years ago) complete with all of the tracks of music (internet derived copies of the original playlist that approximated very closely to the originals). I felt that all of this was an absolute bonus so now that I know what a fantastic record that we have of the memories of both the original service and our celebration some fifty years later. I must box it up carefully and as soon as the lockdown ends, we can bore some of our friends rigid with it all when we next manage to socialise in each others houses. (I suppose I could take a big video of all of this on my iPhone but the resultant file might be multiple megabytes in length so perhaps not.)

More interesting vaccine news is forthcoming tonight. A study in The Lancet (weekly medical periodical) has shown that the efficiency off the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is raised from 76% to 81% if a gap of about three months is left between the initial and the second dose. The report also said that a single standard dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is 76% effective from day 22 to day 90 after the jab – meaning protection was not reduced in the three months between the first and second dose. The infection rate in London is also reducing very rapidly. What would be very interesting to know is how much of the reduction in the infection rate is due to the lockdown, how much to the vaccinations provided and how what is the ratio of one to the other. Perhaps in the fullness of time, we will tell. To round off the week, I FaceTimed one of my Hampshire friends who seems incredibly busy organising various Zoom events and we had a good old catch up on the last week’s news.