Monday, 22nd February, 2021

[Day 343]

After a somewhat delayed start, we decided that it was not going to rain today so Meg and I walked down to collect our newspapers and journey into the park as part of our normal routine. We found the park reasonably quiet after the weekend which is obviously always a busy time. We did appreciate the little bit of peace but found that every park bench was muddy as children had evidently clambered all over them in their muddy shoes. Fortunately, we came prepared for all contingencies and have an old tea towel which served both to wipe the mud off the seats and to dry them at the same time. Apart from a wave from a car, we did not bump into any of our sets of friends today, of the park genre or otherwise, so I read yesterday’s blog to Meg which I can access via my mobile phone.

This afternoon, I decided to tackle a pile of old files which required some rationalisation – and I hope to reduce the clutter a smidgeon by seeing how much of the contents I could dispense with. As is the way with things, quite a lot of things that seemed important at the time could now get junked so I helped to fill our outside paper-waste bin to overflowing before it gets emptied on Thursday morning. One of the tasks that I quite enjoy is to recycle some of the old files which I do by carefully peeling off the old labels – I noticed that on one, which had a label ‘stuck over’ a label, the original referred to the applications my son was making when he went to university which makes it about 34 years old! I also discovered a photo of myself with my ‘Spanish’ baby – well, not mine exactly, but the baby belonging to a professor from Barcelona who was a fellow examiner of a PhD in La Coruña, Northern Spain, about 6-7 years ago now.

As part of my clearing up activities I came across an old ‘pocket’ hard disk drive that I must have bought years before – when I looked on it, it did not have a great deal of data but it did have some oldish photos that I had forgotten about. So I copied these across to a legacy folder on my principal computer and then reformatted the newly discovered disk (it was FAT32 and I wanted to make sure it was NTFS compatible with the MAC) and then copied the files back over on it. As I was congratulating myself on a new discovered extra source of computer storage, I thought it might be a good idea to try to discover how old the disk drive actually was. By putting the serial number into a Seagate database, I discovered that it was about 9 years old. A bit of research on the internet indicates that most portable hard disk drives are only anticipated to have a life of about 5-6 years so I already appear to be living on borrowed time. So do I need to buy a new disk drive as a backup when the newly discovered one seems absolutely fine? I need to have a think about this one.

This afternoon’s political news has been dominated by the much-trailed ‘roadmap’ for the way in which the lockdown is be gradually released. Whilst I am not a fan of this particular government, I do feel that they have got the roadmap about right. They are suggesting a series of four gradual easing of restrictions and always subject to four criteria which are that vaccination rates continue, death rates are still reducing, infection rates are not surging and finally new variants of the virus do not threaten us. The innovative part of the proposal is that there should be a gap of five weeks before one stage and the next – this is to allow for an examination of the data to show that adverse consequence are not flowing before the next wave of the ‘un-lockdown’ continues. This all sounds incredibly sensible but as predicted the the right wing of the Conservative party (all ex-Brexiteers by the way) are still calling for restrictions to be eased at the earliest possible moment i.e. in time for Easter. The reaction of the popular press and any opinion polls gathered in the next few days will prove to be extremely interesting reading.

One treat I am saving for later on this evening is to view that new footage released by NASA of the ending of ‘Perseverance‘ onto the surface of Mars. This is said to be ‘stunning’ but I think it relates principally to the way in the craft was landed without damage, on the surface of Mars via a type of ‘sky crane’ from which the craft was lowered on a series of tethers. Whether is actually is stunning or just ‘hype’ I will be able to tell later on the evening.