Monday, 8th August, 2022

[Day 875]

This morning, I had a special mission when I collected my copy of The Times from my local newsagent. I knew that he was working on a sort of science-fiction-cum-philosophy type book and as he was advertising it on a banner poster on his front door, I sent off to Amazon for my own copy. This arrived on Saturday so I took it down today to have it signed by the author. This put me in mind of a famnous story told by Spike Milligan. Apparently, a lifelong fan had written to him saying that he would dearly like to have a ‘singed’ publicity photo. Spike obliged by getting one of his publicity phots and with a cigarette lighter ‘singed’ each of the edges and duly sent it off. A few days later, Spike received a letter from the disappointed fan who explained that he dearly wished to have a ‘singed’ publicity photo but all that he received was a publicity photo which was ‘signed’ along each edge! Anyway, it is always precious to get a book personally signed by the author so I shall have to read it cover-to-cover in the next few days. Today in the park we met two of our regulars, Seasoned World Traveller and Veteran Octogenerian Hiker but to be honest, it was so hot in the middle of the day that we cut our converations short and repaired to the shade of a nearby tree where we could carry on our conversations in relative comfort. Upon our return to the house, we had some weeds growing along our curtillage (if that is the correct term for a raised pebbled area at the base of the fence bordering our roadway). So the biggest of these that were easily hand-pullable were duly got rid of but I used my own home made weedkiller for the smaller ones that were less easy to grab. MY own weedkiller is basically a strong vinegar with a tiny bit of washing up liquid, the function of which is to reduce the surface tension and thereby make the solution ‘wetter’ Then if the weeds get sprayed in the middle of the day when the sun is high, then there should be a massive dehydration effect and the weeds ought to shrivel and die within hours. In the past, this technqiue had worked pretty well but I only use the solution for small pesky weeds that are troublesome to remove. After lunch, we felt that we needed to have a quick word with our Irish friends about some church issues but they were not in. Down the road, though, we saw our Italian friend and on the spur of the moment, invited her around for a quick cup of tea or even a glass of wine. But she was dosing herself on some antibiotics for some swollen glands so declined our invitation today but we thought we would get together for a longer chat when she is feeling a bit better. Tonight is the closing night of the Commonwealth Games but that clashes with an ‘Endeavour’ to which we are well and truly committed – the highlights of the closing ceremony will be shown later on in any case. Last night, we had a wonderful Mozart concert on BBC4 with a film later on about Mozart’s life and times whih we enjoyed whilst we were getting ready for bed.

This afternoon, I struggled somewhat trying to get a photo of myself which I need to get into a reasonable shape for a church related function. I had tried to take some selfies of myself by reversing the camera on my iPhone and succeeded in taking images that looked as though I was an escapee from Alcatraz. I had also had an acquaintance in the park take couple of mugshots of me that were a bit more presentable but there was a background behind my head of green grass. This I tried to remove with an editor native to Apple that only worked in rectangles but I finished off wih an image that was tolerable. The trouble is that it was a .png file and when I tried to convert it to a JPEG file the results were absolutely dire. So I managed to get photo ready for onward transmission but I am not really happy with any of them. There is some specialist software that will remove backgrounds from photos but I am wary of downloading anything ‘free’ from the web these days so I may be forced to a more kludgy solution to get something which is halfway presentable. I have been in correspondence with the under manager at the Harrogate hotel regarding the little ‘party’ for my sister in just over two weeks time and it looks as though I need to organise my own cake to take along to Harrogate for me. Mind you, there is a good cake making firm on the High Street in Bromsgrove so this might do the job for me.