Wednesday, 31st March, 2021

[Day 380]

After a beautiful day such as we had yesterday, today seemed to be equally as good. We know that this beautiful spell of weather may end fairly soon to give rise to neat Artic conditions if the weather forecasts for the forthcoming Easter weekend are to be believed. But Meg and I are enjoying the sunshine whilst we can and sauntered down to town a little later than usual as we felt some lassitude after the travelling of yesterday. Meg made straight for our usual park bench whilst I popped off to get the newspapers. When I got back, Meg was still alone but we were soon joined by our University of Birmingham friend and other close friends from church. The latter two we were particularly keen to bump into because we are booked in to quite a long Eastertide service on Saturday evening and whilst we received intimations that it would be long we are not quite sure what is the nature of the ceremonies are to be held. We will find out in a day or so in any case. I chatted away to my University of Birmingham friend about my excitement in bringing my newly acquired IBM ThinkPad into use. I have got some of my ‘easier’ statistical programs safely transferred into flash memory from whence they can be run easily (I am trying to keep quite a clear distinction between Windows programs and associated files on the hard disk of the Thinkpad whilst my own programs, Dos utilities and datafilee are kept in a portable flash memory) As an aside, it is amazing how ridiculously cheap such flash memory is now becoming. Courtesy of Amazon, I have just purchased a little USB thumb-sized SanDisk flash memory drive for which I paid £15.00 for 128GB (actually 125,000 Mb) and, once you have done the maths, this works out at 12p per Mb. I can divulge that in my newly acquired (very old!) ThinkPad, I only have a 40Gb hard disk and about 23Gb was ‘free’ for my own uses. But my recently acquired flash memory drive increases this memory by nearly 5½ times at what you must say is a minimal cost. SanDisk offers a five year warranty on this flash memory and I suppose you back up somehow on a really old-fashioned Hard Disk Drive (HDD) which might fail over time and not dramatically as is the case with flash memory. Just to conclude my little computing section for today – I was delighted to see that both MicroSoft Word (2007) edition and Excel (2007) edition had been left on the computer. I read in the file of my PhD recently re-discovered and was delighted to see that it read in perfectly with every bit of formatting (including line drawing and box graphics perfectly) In the late afternoon, I showed Meg a slide show of our original wedding photographs (black and white, which retain an original type of crispness as professional photographers know) and she managed to identify everyone on the phots from 52½ years ago which is astounding (not to say gratifying).

Tomorrow,if the weather continues to hold fair, it will be time for the lawns to receive their second ‘hair-cut’ of the season. I am always reminded that the very act of cutting releases a hormone which encourages grass to grow – in other words, once the cutting season starts, one has to carry on assiduously. There is still quite a lot of grass-cuttings lying around from the very first cut of the season last week but once the lawn has been cut (at the correct height this week) the mulching effect of the mower ought to dispose of this quite easily and the lawns will start to look tidy again. We are not the possessor of really fine lawn grasses and the like which can give a striped lawn effect – rather, we have a more ‘meadowy’ look which suits us fine.

The COVID-19 situation in France seems to be very rapidly worsening. President Macron is due to announce a range of sweeping measures including a night-time curfew. Major shops will be closed and the new measures will last for a month. President Macron is saying that ‘we will lose control if we do not act now‘ and France ‘is now facing a race against the clock‘ It looks as though medical facilities are on the brink of being will overwhelmed. Returning to the domestic front, there are several photos of absolutely shocking scenes of parks and public spaces having been extensively littered after the crowds had been out enjoying the sunshine yesterday. There are horrific scenes of parks in our major cities and whilst the British have never been very good on litter, the scenes confronting the authorities are horrifying. I am glad to say I haven’t seen any of that in our own local park but it is evident that the local police, if they had tried to intervene, would have been absolutely overwhelmed.