Well, today of all days did not start well. As I was concluding this blog last night, suddenly my MacBook upon which I write this blog (whilst keeping one ear on the TV and the other ear on Meg) became completely unresponsive. I tried a reset of the computer, including a reset in ‘Safe’ mode (i.e. with minimal drivers ) but I could only get as far as the ‘Log In’ screen and no further. I went on the web to identify problems and solutions and it was not uncommon for MACs to stick at this stage, particularly after an upgrade. So for hours I tried a variety of solutions thinking that I would have to take the laptop off to the Apple Centre in Solihull for a diagnosis and repair. At about 2.45 in the morning, I noticed that although my mouse showed a cursor across the screen but would not effect a double-click, the trackpad appear to work as intended (although I never use it). After some experience with another (wired) mouse, I finally came to the conclusion that it was my own mouse that was faulty because of practically spent batteries. The fact that I could move the mouse cursor across the screen did not alert me to exhausted batteries but evidently, the batteries had sufficient for a cursor movement but insufficient for a double click. The relief when I got the problem both identified and solved was overwhelming because I was having to contemplate the prospect that the entire laptop had gone ‘belly up’ and there would be no alternative but to replace it. So I crawled into bed, tired but happy, at 3.15 in the morning.
Today being my birthday, I had a whole series of interesting cards – nearly all of them relating to age/gardening/neighbourly activities. I must say I particularly liked one card in which one neighbour had been shaping the dividing privet hedge into a series of topiaries shaped as as a series of ‘V’ signs. The caption read ‘Relations with the neighbors seem to be deteriorating’ so I thought I would share the joke with my next door neighbour when next I see him. A present of a series of craft beers had been left on our doorstep by our Irish friends before they got away to Munich – fortunately for them, the airport was relatively clear because Birmingham Airport has been badly hit in recent days with an excess of passengers over staff to deal with them. Our domestic help called around today rather than Friday, again bearing some cake (as did our former Waitrose friends who dropped a specially baked cake around for me last night) I now have enough cake to put on several pounds but I am pleased to report that I have now shed 3½lbs in 10 days which is just about the right rate of weight loss for me so I am hoping I can maintain this progress. Meg and I decided to go to our favourite little Georgian town of Alcester down the road – this will be our third visit but we did have an ulterior motive as the range of good quality charity shops is superb. We got there and had a coffee before diving into one of the shops and buying a couple of skirts for Meg. We have noticed that the charity shops seem awash with tops but comparatively few skirts which reflects the fact that so many trousers are worn these days. Then we went off to our favourite hotel for a meal of lasagne which again was excellent. We had taken the opportunity of making a booking just before we came out which was just as well because with no booking we would have had to have waited for our meal. After the meal, we proceeded to the end of the high street where I purchased a series of beets ready to be planted out. They looked a little the ‘worse for wear’ to be honest but if I get them planted out quickly (tomorrow) they will revive. I also bought some ‘Rosso’ lettuce plants and some runner beans which I am sure I can plant in a little ‘wigwam’ built of canes in a corner of the garden. I treated myself to a high qulity shirt as well, very much like I already own but obviously the collar and cuffs are pristine and not showing signs of wear. After this huge meal we got home and collapsed a little in front of the TV after our exertions of the day.
There was an item on the news which was quite shocking. The Ukrainians exploring the areas that the Russians has first invaded and from which they have been beaten back have discovered the bodies of several dead Russian soldiers. The Russian authorities, though, are refusing to take them back or to share any DNA database with the Ukrainians so the soldiers can be identified. At the moment, they are being stored in refrigerated railway wagons until, presumably, the conflict is over.