Saturday, 29th May, 2021

[Day 439]

Today could best be described as a 'glowering' kind of day- although the weather is meant to be set fair for a few days, it was one of those days today when there seemed to covering of low white cloud and a generally muggy feeling. Despite this less than promising start, we nonetheless made it to the park where I deposited Meg on a bench before I set off to collect the newspapers. Then we soon acquired our regular cohort of park friends (well, at least two of them) and discussed the affairs of the day. Then it was home to have a fairly swift lunch because there was a job that needed doing in the afternoon. Basically, this was to get our communal lawns cut and this for a particular reason. The lawns were only cut a week ago but the combination of rain and sun has made the dandelions proliferate - and basically they look a mess. But tomorrow is the day when our next door neighbour is due to hold a birthday party on the occasion of his wife's birthday. The whole Hart household is invited so we are looking forward to that and there may be up to 30 guests all in all, I must admit I didn't want people turning up while the lawns looked an absolute mess so I was determined to get them cut and looking in good shape for the benefit of visitors. We got this done and then had to have a fairly quick turn around before we off to our Saturday evening church service where we leave the house at 5.30. Once we got the church car park we were greeted by one of the regulars (a vivacious Liverpudlian) who used to sit by us when we last had regular church attendances. She is now attending Harvington Hall where they have a regular Sunday morning service outdoors and therefore it is easier to comply with the COVID-19 regulations but one has a short car ride to get there (about 8 miles away)

The COVID-19 news seems to be quite worrying this evening. Sir Tim Gowers - whose argument against herd immunity helped trigger England's first lockdown last year - told Sky News that the recent increase in coronavirus cases 'worries me'.'They seem to be multiplying by a certain fraction each day - in other words, growing exponentially,' he said. Yesterday, he warned that the UK's fight to contain coronavirus could turn bad 'very, very quickly' unless the government acts cautiously on easing lockdown further. How many other epidemiologists share his concerns in uncertain at this point. Certainly, if you wanted to grasp a smidgeon of comfort, it is that whilst yesterday's infection figure was 4,182, todays is 3,398 i.e. nearly 20% less than the previous day. But evidently, as has been said before, we are racing between the vaccination rate creeping up day by day and the virus trying to reproduce exponentially. I think the June 21st deadline is still incredibly tendentious - Boris Johnson and the right wing of the Tory Party are incredibly anxious to maintain the original timetable but it all remains a huge gamble. As always on a Saturday night, it will be interesting to see what the Sunday newspapers have to say on this topic.

On my IBM Thinkpad, I have recently started using a very secure German mail system which goes by the obscure name of 'Posteo'  As they are a subscription only service (adverts are evidently anathema) the rate is only 12 euros a year. This program contains within it a feature called 'Notes' which means that whatever scribbles you might have made, it is automatically saved for you under whatever 'Notes' title you have chosen and in a folder called 'Notes' (This can be made to share data with the Apple app of the same name if you really want to) This little Notes feature seems incredibly useful but it I designed just to get text onto the screen (as if you were using a scrap  of paper) and therefore has no formatting capacities of any kind. In fact the only 'controls' are 'New Note' (which is self-evident) and 'Send to email' (self-evident again) I wondered if it would be at all possible to get any degree of formatting into the text (e.g. bold,italics) and experimentation revealed that if using an external email client (such as Outlook) one could copy a say an emboldened character into the Clipboard and thence into Notes. So I have made a sort of toolbar for myself with one emboldened characters on it. To  get, say, an emboldened heading, I copy the emboldened character (which is a 'B' for bold) into my Notes file, carry on typing immediately after it and the subsequent text incorporates the preceding formatting. I then delete the 'B' at the start of the heading and there I am with an emboldened heading. This might sound incredibly 'kludgy' as the Americans say but it works fine for me - and makes my Notes files more readable. I tend to put in them little computing 'tips and hints' on how a particulate program works and whatever I write is automatically saved whenever I leave to the program.