Monday, 17th May, 2021

[Day 427]

Well here we are at the start of another week and the weather looks to be set a bit more fair than we have got used to over the past few days. We eventually got ourselves going this morning but we knew that our University of Birmingham friend was off playing tennis so we did not rush down to the park. It was quite a delightful day today and, unusually, we did not bump into any of our usual friends down the road this morning. Nonetheless, we picked up our newspapers and had a pleasant sojourn in the park until we made our way homewards a little late in the day. Tomorrow we know we will be on a slightly different schedule as my Pilates class is due to resume so this rather dictates what time to leave the park and I start my walk down into town for my exercise class. After lunch, we should have done some tidying up but to be honest I was quite glad to have a long, slow and relaxing read after yesterday when I had to jump up and mow the lawns.

Today was the day when many of the most irksome lockdown restrictions were being relaxed. In particular, two families may now meet with each and socialise but indoors this time inside and not outdoors. Of most significance is that pubs and restaurants are now allowed to have indoor customers (albeit sitting at a table i.e. not queuing at the bar and with some social distancing still in place) Finally, of course, we are now allowed to hug each other – although the government dare not intervene in relationships between husbands and wives so presumably hugging has never been off the agenda (but does the virus know that?). So we can now go ahead and hug each other provided we do it ‘carefully’ presumably breathing past each other and not into each other’s faces. Incidentally, I have been highly amused by the supplements in The Times and The Guardian which are full of practical advice as to how couples who have not been able to share intimate moments with each may now do so and to how resolve any difficulties they might encounter (I kid you not!) Mind you, I still have the feeling that the lockdown might have been extended for another fortnight to allow us to gather some more data on the Indian variant of the virus which is now present in at least 86 local authority areas. According to Sky News then: ‘A total of 2,323 cases of the Indian coronavirus variant have been reported in the UK, the health secretary has said. Delivering a COVID-19 statement in the Commons, Matt Hancock said 483 cases have been confirmed in Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, where the variant is now the dominant strain.’ Surge testing is due to start shortly in Bedford so it is not just Bolton in the North West of England which is problematic. I am still firmly of the view that the government is taking the most massive gamble and all could still go horribly wrong – and who suffers then?

On my IBM ThinkPad, I had installed a fantastic program called NoteTab which I used to use extensively (an therefore with which I am getting reacquainted) Its prime use is as an HTML editor which means that you can code and then see the results instantly in your bowser of choice (which you access directly from the program itself. But NoteTab itself is most famous amongst journalists as well as academics and other professionals, for having a system which is like a miniature database. How it works is this – using the NoteTab special notation which is very easy to learn – you would make an ‘entry’ and then all of the information associated with it (usually a page full). All of the entries are then shown in a column on the left hand side and on clicking an entry all of its associated information is then shown on the right. In the past, I have used this system to provide me with ‘instant’ information concerning my computing activities as when I have learnt to do something, I make a new entry (such as, for example, how to add a name tag to a photo) and then I have all of the information I need at my fingertips. You can see what journalists have loved this system – I think the size of one’s little database can extend up to 2GB and the system can handle up to about 5,400 entries (equivalent to nearly 15 years of a daily blog) before you have to start a second file. The third feature which it has and I have been using today is that you can create a little file with an URL reference within it (for example, external mail programs) Then with only a highlight and a couple of clicks you can access the program directly so instead of loading up one’s browser and then clicking a tab this little system does the same for you but so much more quickly and snappily. Brilliant! (at least for me)