Sunday, 2nd May 2021

[Day 412]

Today was the day that yesterday ought to have been i.e. it was bright, sunny and springlike and was the kind of day that you associate with May Day (1st May) rather than May 2nd. So we were straight into our Sunday morning routine which involves me going and getting the Sunday newspapers early and before we settle down to watch the Andrew Marr show. My newsagent who is busy writing a book at the moment asked me if I knew of any editors in Bromsgrove – by this, I think he means a proof-reader plus ‘second pair of eyes’ to oversee a manuscript so ever keen for this sort of thing I volunteered to do it for him chapter by chapter whenever he wants to let me have it. As he uses MicroSoft Word on a Mac (as do I) then there should be any compatibility issues. After the Andrew Marr show, we walked down into town and, believe it not, soon met up with about 2-4 of our park ‘regulars’ where we had a jolly time but recognised that tomorrow might be quite a wet and soggy day according to weather forecasts so tomorrow we will feel less inclined to linger if the heavens have opened above us. On our return home, I got to work on the pork joint that we had slow cooking throughout the morning. I always make some onion gravy and then divide the whole joint into two halves -freezing one half for future weeks. Then I cut off some slices from the joint and pop it in the gravy thickened with instant potato (a cheat, which I buy from Asda incredibly cheaply when I see it) and finally a splash of Sarson’s ‘Browning’ (colouring agent) which is yet another cheat to make the gravy look richer than it is. Finally this gets complemented with Cavolo Nero kale and a baked potato. As you might expect, most of the afternoon is devoted to an intense reading of the Sunday newspapers.

In the not quite middle of the night, I was playing about with the little speaker I have popped onto the resurrected IBM ThinkPad, when I suddenly remembered that I already had some quite decent little speakers tucked away somewhere. Actually,I had bought them to complement a little Samson machine I had a few years ago and then disposed of. Excitedly, I hooked up the speakers to the Thinkpad and although it was the middle of the night (and therefore I had to keep the volume right down) nonetheless the tone and quality seemed excellent to me. They were little squat Logitech speakers, made in China but well constructed with some interesting little detail.The speakers themselves were about 1½” which is surely enough for a laptop, for which they were designed. The speakers housings were about 4½” tall and had little rubberised strips incorporated into the base so that they wouldn’t slide around all over one’s desktop. Another design detail that I had not fully appreciated when I bought them a few years (current price £15) is that the back of each speaker contains a cable management arrangement around which you can wind any excess length of cable so that you only have the amount of cable lying across your desktop that you happen to need. They achieve their power through a USB which does take to take up one precious USB slot. But then I had a bit of a brainwave. I had bought from Poundland about a year ago a ‘Power Bank‘ (for the princely sum of £1!) designed to give your phone an emergency boost of power if you need it whilst out on the road. Anyway,I had one of these units already charged up and found this was an excellent power source for my speakers (which at half volume are only about 0.6 watts anyway) Remembering my ‘O’-level physics (Watts=volts*amps) I worked out that this power brick might give me 50 hours of play time before it needs to be recharged (if I got this wrong by a factor of 10, 5 hours is still quite a decent whack) I went on the web on my main computer to find a review of these Logitech speakers and the reviews that I found were incredibly sniffy about them (e.g. ‘with the volume cranked up to only 50% the speakers emitted a distorted and jarring sound..the bass and mids tended to fade away as the volume got higher’) I have to say, they sounded incredibly good to me and I played a variety of classical tracks on them this morning – I wonder if audiophiles and audio experts get anything intolerant of a system that doesn’t cost hundreds of pounds! Anyway, I am delighted by what I have and I suspect that I will be giving myself a good diet of my favourite classical tracks to give them a good trial whilst I am busy reading and writing my emails first thing every morning!