Monday, 14th November, 2022

[Day 973]

Today was one of those horrible misty type days in which the rain seems to be constantly hanging in the air but not actively raining. My morning was brightened up, though, by the arrival of a present to myself which I could not resist, courtesy of Ebay. After I had made an offer and accepted a counter offer, I purchased a set of the complete works of J S Bach on 160 CDs for £29. In order to make sure this was not inordinately bulky, the publishers had put each CD into a simple slip sleeve and then grouped the works into boxes : Orchestral/Keyboard/Cantata 1/Cantata 2/Vocal/Organ. This then takes up 45cm of space in a storage cabinet but stored in the conventional jewel cases, it would have been so much more. Fortunately, I have managed to find quite a long review on the web which details how, and how well, the publishers went about their task. They have tried, where possible to record on period instruments or on instruments as near to a period instrument as can be found. Much of the Cantatas have been especially recorded for this collection and the orchestras and performers are generally well known and not obscure in the extreme. In a collection as large as this, there are bound to be some ‘turkeys’ but the review I have found does an extremely good job in signposting the excellent, good and just satisfactory parts of this collection. Well, the long autumn and winter evenings might seem less gloomy now that I have plenty to which to listen.

Meg and I had a bit of a run round this morning. After we had picked up our newspaper, we popped into Waitrose for some essential supplies – then it was onwards to the railway station to pick up the tickets for our journey to Winchester next Wednesday. These I have still to check but I would be surprised if they were not all OK. When we got home, we watched a little of the Politics program which is always aired on BBC2 at midday and then I went off to prepare lunch. Whilst I was preparing this, I decided to play the next CD along in the little collection I have just filed and catalogued – and, in addition, I am still glorying in the excellent quality of reproduction in the BoomBox I have just purchased. The CD that fell into my hands was a special one celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of Palestrina and when I played it, I was transported by both the beauty and the quality of it. I remember my music master at school telling us that Palestrina was the father of modern music or at least the father of polyphony but in one’s mind’s eyes, it would have been easy to have imagined yourself inside a cathedral whilst the sound reverberated around you. This I will especially remember if I want a CD to play which is completely relaxing. We must have had this particular CD for years but I do not remember actually playing it before. Possibly it was one of a ‘job lot’ that we often buy in a charity shop which we shop in regularly when we visit Harrogate but it was an absolute find for us, in any case.

This afternoon after lunch, I started to tackle the pile of junk mail which had built up rather in the last week or so – it is certainly a good habit to throw away junk mail day by day if you get into the good habit. Quite a lot of it, I need to open if only to make sure that the pre-printed name and address inside are cut off the enclosure and then shredded and I finished off the afternoon with two piles of paper. The much smaller and leaner one is the bundle of things that definitely need to be filed whilst the larger, fortunately, is just for the outside paper bin which is due to be emptied shortly.

I cannot resist an occasional consultation with the CNN website to discover the latest election update in the US elections. Quite amazingly, the gap between Republican and Democrats is only 8 seats as the Democrats have 204 and the Republicans 212. So the Republicans are only 6 seats away from the ‘magic’ number of 218 which would give them control of the House of Representatives but I suspect that a week ago nobody would have predicted a result as close as this. Normally, there is a big swing against the governing party in the mid term elections but the ‘big swing’ has not materialised this year as it appears that voters have recoiled from the prospect of electing Republicans, avid Trump supporters, who are still denying the validity of the last Presidential election which was won fair and square by Joe Biden.

The British and French have signed an agreement that will allow British border officials into French control roooms (and, presumably, vice versa) in an attempt to reduce the impact of asylum seekers crossing the channel in a variety of dinghies. Nobody thinks that this will prove to be a ‘magic bullet’ but with the addition of more UK cash and the impact of worsening seasonal weather, the flow across the Channel might be slowed somewhat.