Thursday, 21st October, 2021

[Day 584]

Today was quite a sharp contrast, weather-wise, with the past few days. There was a clear blue sky and plenty of sunshine but the temperature had dropped dramatically to about 7° so we were experiencing our first cold ‘snap’ of the winter. Under normal circumstances, it would have been a wonderful day for walk but not today as we had plans to visit Droitwich (6.5 miles down the road). As is our new pattern on Thursdays, I leapt out of bed to get ready so that I can leave the house at 7.40 and get to the Waitrose store in Droitwich about one minute before it opens. Then I have quite a pleasant hour shopping and avoiding temptation (some of the time) but the eventual bill is mitigated somewhat by the £8 voucher if you spend over £40 and have a Waitrose loyalty card. After we had put the shopping away and had a delayed breakfast, we went by car to collect our newspapers and then made a journey straight to Droitwich as we had planned some days ago. We had made a lunch booking for 1.00am but arrived a few minutes earlier so decided to have a little wander via the charity shops (of which there are several in Droitwich, as every other High Street these days) On our way we passed a second-hand shop full of all kinds of things that you imagine might be useful. For example, they had two guitars in stock – one at £15 and the other at £20 although they did not look like the full size article to me. But what caught our eye was a collection of 4 CD’s ( a total of 58 tracks altogether) of famous operatic arias for the grand sum of £3.00 We bought this without demur because we thought it would provide a very good accompaniment for us when we go on a long car journey and we do have one in prospect. Then we make our way to ‘Ye Olde Worlde Coffee Shoppe‘ (not its actual name) where we had booked in for our roast finner. Everybody is absolutely crammed in but there is always a lot of jollity around. We had a lamb roast where our plate was piled high and accompanied by roast potatoes and two other veg. The meals are always so huge that it is quite a struggle to finish them but we did polish them away together with a couple of glasses of cordial – all for the princely sum of £18 for the two of us.

After that, we progressed onto one of our favourite hardware stores which is Wilko. This is a kind of hardware store that also sells stationary, cosmetics, kitchen and gardening goods and so on. I had a little list of some stationery items and some kitchen utensils and was moderately successful in buying what I wanted. One particular thing I wanted was some fairly long bladed scissors, a size greater than the normal offering you get in stores these days. On ‘spec’ I bought a pair of scissors advertised as ‘Fabric’ scissors, not knowing the exact difference beteen them and ordinary scissors. When I got home, I did a bit of research and discovered that fabric scissors are generally longer-bladed and are manufactured from a carbon steel (easier to sharpen and harder) rather than stainless steel. There are lots of imprecations that you should never cut fabric with ordinary scissors and vice versa but I discovered a website which details the differences for you. Apparently, in the process of paper manufacture there are harsh fibres, minerals ,various clays, calcium carbonate and other additives that will blunt the scissors. The website had assembled a series of experts (usually scissor manufacturers) who explained why, in general terms, you should avoid cutting paper with fabric scissors. But according to at least some of the experts, all scissors become dull with use eventually. But if you do need to cut paper with fabric scissors, make sure that the paper lint is wiped off the blades after each use. One conclusion is that the harm done to scissors by cutting paper is often exaggerated by those who use them for dressmaking. So in conclusion, I am pleased to have paid £1 extra for a superior product that has a sharper blade, feels a ‘tighter’ fit and with larger, more comfortable handles. You live and learn.

The COVID story rumbles on and I have a fair idea of how this is all going to end (i.e. a government climb-down, too little and too late) The UK government has changed its booster jab advice so people can book without being contacted; more than 50,000 daily cases are recorded and it is the highest figure since 17 July; doctors warn the UK is being “wilfully negligent” by not moving to Plan B. In the meanwhile, the most mixed of messages are being conveyed. In the House of Commons, none of the Tories will wear face masks for, as the Leader of the House (William Rees-Mogg explained) ‘after all, on this side of the house, we all know each other!‘ (I am sure the virus has the intelligence not to transmit itself if the recipient is already known to the transmitter)