Wednesday, 21st July, 2021

[Day 492]

Today we were determined to keep on where we left off last night so we carried on with a spate of tidying up and and de-cluttering of the house. The only trouble is that in my zeal I have ‘put’ my newly acquired Philips razor in such a safe place that I cannot now found it so I am having to fall back on a trusty old reliable which is past its best but at least it works. Then our plan was to walk down to Waitrose, treat ourselves to a coffee, pick up our newspapers and have a gentle stroll back. However the ‘best laid plans of mice and men‘ as the Scottish poet Robbie Burns would have said – by chance we bumped into two best friends who live down the hill and they had just come back from giving their grand-daughter a walk in her buggy. As we had a lot of news to catch up on, we all repaired to their delightful back garden for an impromptu ‘chin wag’. Actually, we had a lot of news to impart of one sort or another, including some medical investigations that I am going to have performed on me in about eight days time so I will issue a communiqué on that later on. We must have spent the best part of an hour and a half chatting about this and that and drinking some lovely ice-cold drinks. In this very hot weather, we are all finding that we are taking every excuse to keep ourselves well hydrated – and even the plants in the pots need a drink of water some 2-3 times a day.

After we had walked home very much in the heat of the day, we had a fairly prompt lunch as I knew that I needed to get into town to visit one of the local banks before about 3.30 in the afternoon (when branches tend to shut) Our little group of houses are formed into a Resident’s Association and we manage our own financial affairs (which is just principally maintaining the communal Klargester BioDisc system and the surrounding roadways). We have a business account with a local bank (HSBC actually) and have had reasonably good service from them for the last ten years. But now under the latest banking regulations, we have to prove who we say we are and this is proving problematic. Our treasurer has been hanging on the phone for 40 minutes with the message ‘All our operatives are busy at the moment but your call is important to us..etc. So having drawn a blank, he passed the torch over to me and I too had a 40 minute wait without success. We decided that I would call in at the branch to see if I could get anyone to sort us out – difficult as the local branch does not handle business accounts any more but we might be able to use their private lines to get through to the unit that wishes to check our credentials. When I got into the bank I was confronted with a row of self-service machines but absolutely no staff anywhere in evidence. But then I saw a notice to say that owing to staff shortages they would not have anyone available after 2.30 in the afternoon and please come back at 9.00 tomorrow. So that was an absolutely wasted journey but I took the opportunity to pick up our newspapers and buy some ‘good’ ice-cream from Waitrose. I say ‘good’ ice-cream because all of the shelves had been stripped bare of conventional ice-cream leaving only the specialist ice-creams to be bought.

After I got home and put my purchases away and then looked around for my mobile phone which I could not find anywhere. Trying desperately not to panic, a thorough search (including the car) did not reveal a positive result. In desperation, I telephoned Waitrose to see if my phone had been left there and handed in but this drew a blank. I thought of telephoning my own number only to receive a ringing tone (nowhere inside the house) and a message that the number was not available. At this stage, my son intervened – his solution was to stand right outside my car and call my mobile. With great delight I can say that we both heard it ring – my phone had evidently slipped out of my pocket and fallen down the gap between the two front seats where even the bright red of the case barely revealed its existence. The feelings of despair if you have ever lost your mobile phone are hard to exaggerate. It is not just the voice calls that one receives (very few in my case) but the text messaging is vital from all kinds of agencies, particularly the medical and health related ones who use it to give appointment details. Also, to access many bank and savings accounts these days, the mobile is used to send an OTP (OneTime Password) to access a particular account so your mobile suddenly has become completely indispensable.