Monday, 24th May, 2021

[Day 434]

Today was a day when our normal routines went by the board as we were engaged in some different appointments today. Practically first thing in the morning, my son and I drove to Redditch so that my son’s car could receive a software upgrade – this procedure takes most of the day, apparently. So we needed to drive in convoy so that having dropped his car off, I could transport him back home again. Then I proceeded on to Droitwich as I needed to pop into a cafe/restaurant that Meg and I had frequented last week and we saw a piece of artwork that we particularly liked. Having checked with our next door neighbour that his wife would appreciate the piece of artwork we had seen for her forthcoming 70th birthday, I was more than pleased to secure the same i.e. it had not been sold in the meantime. I did have to go and get cash out in order to complete my purchase as this is handed over straight to the artist without going through the books of the cafe but that’s OK. I then go round a local hardware store (Wilko, popular in the Midlands) and purchased one or two little things whilst I could. I had also seen a copy of Bill Brysons ‘The Short History of Nearly Everything‘ which I had noticed on display outside one of the charity shops in Droitwich. I intended to buy a copy of this (for about £1) so that I could put it in the hands of my local park friends but of course Sod’s law was in operation and the book had evidently been sold. However, I have managed to locate a (cheap enough) second hand version on eBay so this should be with me by Friday. When I eventually got home, we were in the middle of a hail storm and we could, in theory, have waited for the rain clouds to pass over and then walk down to the park. So Meg and I decided to give our walk a miss this morning as the weather seemed so variable – the occasional shower is one thing, but at this time of year it is quite possible to be subject to an instant cloudburst and get absolutely soaked to the skin.

We had purchased as part of our Waitrose shopping a Waitrose chicken, complete with herbs etc and in its own metal tray and cook-in-the-oven plastic bag. I evidently had not bought a chicken like this – the technique I used to use was to flour the inside of a ‘roaster bag’ and then put the chicken inside and roast this way. Anyway, I followed the Waitrose instructions – after the cooking was about two thirds done, you cut a large window in the top of the bag to allow for a more complete roast. I have got to say this turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and tastiest meals of chicken I have had in years! We tend not to eat a lot of chicken here in the UK and when we do we tend to buy only chicken thighs, complete with bone and cook them in their entirety before removing the (too fatty) skin and leg bone at the point of serving. When we are in Spain, we are not averse to eating chicken but I suspect they are more ‘free range’ and more flavoursome than would be their counterpart on the UK.

On my IBM ThinkPad, I have installed a copy of OEClassic as an email client and this works OK on the additional identities I have installed (for web-based emails) – however, the Outlook bit seems to be a bit ‘iffy’ for a reason which is a bit beyond me. I suspect that my original account was with Hotmail and this was migrated over to Outlook and then somehow stitched (by Microsoft) into their Office365 suite so I am not surprised if there seem to be occasional glitches. However, I have installed a copy of the super secure email system called Protonmail and paid them a subscription for the full version. However, they do allow you to install a ‘free’ version of the program which is essentially the same and with some limited functionality (which you would expect in a free version anyway) but with an mailbox that will only store 500MB (i.e. 0.5GB) of emails. On consulting the number of emails on my main system and looking at how much memory they consume, I think that 500MB should give me approx. 4,000 emails before I run out of space – as this will only be for occasional use (e.g. when you have to supply an email address to access some shopping-type websites) then I am sure this will more than suffice for at least a couple of years.

Meg and I have just watched the classic episode of ‘Fawlty Towers‘ in which a guest died (not that Basil noticed when he served him his breakfast) and the staff had to make frantic efforts to hide the body. Incidentally, when I worked in a 375-bedded 4-star hotel In Harrogate in the 1950’s about once or twice a year a guest would die in bed. How to dispose of the body? Answer – wrapped in a roll of carpet and transported downstairs in the lift (and the guests suspected nothing!)