Thursday, 13th May, 2021

[Day 423]

It really was a very gloomy day today – it looked as though it might rain nearly all of the day and so it proved to be with periods of gloom, interspersed with spatters of rain, followed by quite a downpour from the evening onwards. We have our deliveries from Waitrose on Thursday mornings so this always makes us a little later than normal in the morning. But upon reading my emails, I had some really good news from an ex-colleague from the University of Winchester. Some five years ago, he had suffered from a leukaemia type complaint from which the survival rate is only 30%-40% over five years. Anyway, the five years is now up and my colleague is delighted. He quoted with great approval the dictum of his consultant that ‘There’s no point in curing you if you don’t live a full life….. You can now go away and die of something else.’ So we are all celebrating the good news and long may it continue – perhaps it won’t be too long now before all of the ‘Old Fogies‘ can meet face-to-face and celebrate in the usual fashion.

Today, as Meg and I walked down into town we were trying to remember various family relationships and the connection between them – we wondered if some sections of ‘Meg’s family’ are a little vague about other members of the family. We were trying to work out the exact relationships between ‘x’ and ‘y’ and now we think we have solved the conundrum – at least to our satisfaction. Meg is the first cousin of one family member when traced through Meg’s mother’s side of the family – but also first cousin to another family member when traced through Meg’s father’s side of the family. Now how well these two branches of the family have attended family events in the past is a little unclear to us but when we are next in contact with any of the relevant family members it will be interesting for us to sort out how well each branch of the family is cognisant of the other – Meg is, of course, the point of articulation between these two branches of the family and the relationships are by marriage. Does this make for ‘second cousins’ or ‘cousins once removed’- having come from a small (i.e. not extensive family and my mother was an only child) then these sorts of relationships are always a bit of a mystery to me (not that I let it bother me one little bit)

When Meg and I got to the park, we were somewhat later than usual but the park was pretty deserted as everyone was dodging the rain. We did, though, bump into one of our park regulars and had quite an interesting discussion about politics and political systems – although we come to our discussions from different philosophical traditions, we are just about coinciding in the middle as it were but no doubt will work out exactly at what points we can agree or disagree when we are not completely rained off. I was speculating to myself whether in discussions of this type one should not seek to dissuade the other party of the falsity of their position but rather the veracity of one’s own.. That’s another discussion point for the next time we meet.

We were in contact with one of Meg’s cousin’s daughters via email to work out how the impending house move is going. It turns out that one house is sold but the new house will not be ready for occupation for about another three weeks until some more legal work has been completed. So tomorrow, we are going to have a ‘Zoom’ meeting when no doubt we can get all of the up-to-date information. It shouldn’t be too long now before we can make a lightning visit over to Derbyshire for a family re-union.

Quite by accident this morning, I stumbled across a mega-secure email client called ‘Posteo‘ and this I am in the process of investigating. Evidently with no income from advertising, a service like this has to be financed through a subscription only service. I had a quick look at it this morning and it seemed incredibly comprehensive (e.g. with forwarding facilities and so on) so I decided to invest my 12 euros for a year’s worth subscription to see how it works out. If one so chooses then every incoming and outgoing email is encrypted, including the headers, that would make unpenetrable by practically every hacker on earth. But is there a ‘back door in’ for civil authorities trying to track down terrorist or paedophilia type communications? This I don’t know but most of the reviews (and consumer reaction) is incredibly favourable so I will give it a go for a few months to see how it works out. An email account like this is quite useful if you are asked to give an email address for anything you might buy over the net. If you have some aliases (and TopMail give you unlimited aliases) then if you are liable to get spammed you can delete the alias and all of the spammer’s output goes into a black hole (i.e nowhere near your main email account!).