Saturday, 8th May, 2021

[Day 418]

When we woke up this morning it was evidently raining quite hard and carried on splattering for most of the day. A quick look at the Weather app on our iPhone confirmed that there was an 80% chance of rain all day so we certainly did not rush to walk down through the rain. In conditions like this, it is always a tight call whether we walk in the slight drizzle but at the risk of the heavens opening and us getting completely soaked through or whether it is more prudent to go by car. In the end, prudence prevailed and we made our way to the paper shop by car. When getting back into the car, I must have put the control in my back pocket and sat upon it because the car mysteriously opened every window and then its ‘moonlight’ roof as well. Mystified as I was by all of this I set about closing all of the open windows and the ‘moon-roof’ and a semblance of order being restored, we made our way towards the park. On our way there, we were behind a car and I said to Meg ‘Is that a nodding dog on the back window of that car?’ As it turned out, it was a dog that happened to be nodding rather than a nodding dog (= toy!) if you get my drift. We parked the car and were just making for the band stand when our University of Birmingham friend turned up – he had been in the park for some time and we were very pleased to see each other. By this time the rain had stopped but our friend always has a spare towel in his rucksack (as do we) so between us, we managed to wipe the park benches dry and then sat down and had a really pleasant chat. I can never remember exactly the subject of our conversations but we seem to flow easily from seemingly disconnected topic to the next. As we are all going out on a joint birthday trip next Tuesday, it was just as well to make some last minute arrangements and timings – for example, Severn Valley Railways requires us to attend some 40 minutes before the departure time in order to comply with some COVID-19 precautions.

When we got home, we had a traditional Saturday lunchtime treat of some Waitrose sausages which we always enjoy. Then we settled down letting the trickle of election results flow past us whilst we were gently reading. Many of the results were completely predictable eg. the County Council where I am living (Worcstershire) showed the Tories increasing their representation in the County Council whilst the Labour Party had another atrocious night. But apparently the Liberal Democrats picked up a seat in Bromsgrove which is quite a coup for them (in a strongly Conservative town). Nationally, there were one or two surprises. Cambridgeshire County Council went to ‘No overall control’ which was very much against the prevailing trend. In the West of England mayoral election, Labour had a rare success securing about 60% of the vote and taking the mayoralty I think from the Tories. In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has been remarkably successful increasing the SNP seats by just failing by 1 seat to secure an overall majority (64 seats out of 129 – one more seat was needed for an absolute majority). However, Nicola Sturgeon can still claim that a majority of those casting voted have voted for there to be a vote on independence as some 8 Green MSP’s have been elected as well (and they are even more strongly pro-independent than the SNP) Meanwhile the Labour Party is full of recriminations as the Deputy Leader, Angela Raynor, has been made the sacrificial lamb and has been sacked – despite the fact that the maladroit planning all came from the office of the leader (Keir Starmer) and not his deputy. So the Labour Party is turning into a vicious fight with each other – so what changes?

Still fine-tuning my IBM ThinkPad, I have been looking around for a browser/search engine which as a very small footprint i.e. is a very low consumer of resources such as RAM as I have so little to play with compared with a more modern machine. I have settled on a little browser called Pale Moon which is basically FireFox without a lot of the extra bits added on and optimised so that it works best in 32-bit mode (i.e. older hardware like mine) For a search engine, I am using DuckDuckGo – behind the really strange title is a browser dedicated to making sure you cannot be tracked when you are surfing the web and therefore nasties are far less likely to come your way. So far, I have had a limited play with Pale Moon but as it loaded both my blog and one of my websites in about 1-2 seconds, i.e. practically instantly, then this is exactly what you want in a browser which you are going to use for the very occasional foray into the internet i.e. not browsing as such but going to a known site such as one of my own websites. More about this tomorrow!