Tuesday, 15th November, 2022

[Day 974]

Today started off as a dull, miserable day with a smattering of rain which by now we have come to expect. Nonetheless, we knew that today was the day when we generally bump into people that we know when we pop into Waitrose, once we had picked up our newspaper. It was raining pretty heavily by the time we got to the car park but nonetheless we made our way indoors when, in no time at all, we were joined by one of our park friends and another of our pre-pandemic Waitrose friends. We spent a pleasant half an hour chatting and then saw one of our Irish friends who lives down the road and pops into Waitrose as though it were a local corner shop. We got updated about some building work that our friend was having done and true to form, the builder seems to have started his job and then shot off to attend to several other jobs that he seemed to have on the go. For some reason I have yet to discern, builders typically display this manner of working – I suppose it is sensible if you anticipate a delay in getting some much needed supplies or materials but it seems to make an apparently simple job much more drawn out than you thought it was going to be. Whilst in the Waitrose coffee bar, I received a very interesting telephone call from one of the senior doctors in our local medical practice. He quickly reassured me that there was nothing wrong but was seeking to enlist my help in the training of young medical students. Students have to be exposed to ‘real’ patients at some time in the later stages of their training and my role is to act as ‘the patient’ whilst they get a history of medical and attendant social conditions. I did this some years ago before the pandemic and, on that occasion, it was a long telephone conversation with, I think, a female medical student. Although I volunteered to do a session over the telephone or on the web, I shall actually be paying a visit to the practice premises where I will be ‘interviewed’ by one or more students. Actually, I remember the senior doctor very well because when I was recovering from an operation some years ago, he paid me a house visit and dressed the operation wound for me. I remember this well because I often think that doctors do not have a lot of these hands-on skills themselves as things like wound dressing are performed by nurses rather than doctors themselves. I remain poised to spring into action next Thursday afternoon when is the time for the scheduled session.

I have spent some time this afternoon messing about with a Pure DAB radio which seems to be playing up recently – it seems to get stuck on one station and nothing you can do will switch it to another station. Although it sounds hard to believe, the radio does not actually have an off-off switch but a Power switch (labelled ‘Bluetooth’ just to confuse the average user even more, even though the Bluetooth function which I have not tested out is actually accessed through another button ‘Source’) The Pure H4 power switch actually switches the radio into a very low power ‘Standby’ mode which displays the date and time whilst the radio part itself is switched off. By some experimentation and consulting the manual (the original having been lost but it was fairly easy to locate on the web), it now does appear that the Power Switch is not what you might think of as a normal on-off switch so I have resorted to unplugging the power lead from the back of the unit and looping around the aerial when the radio is not in use. Although as the American computer scientists might say this is a ‘kludge’, of which the official definition is ‘a software or hardware configuration that, while inelegant, inefficient, clumsy, or patched together, succeeds in solving a specific problem or performing a particular task.’ Actually, whilst being very wordy this is an exact description of what I have performed but at least it worked for a time before finally going wrong again.

Every so often, there is a news story the impact of which might turn out to be enormous. A case was being discussed today of a two-year old who had died and the coroner had stated that an important contributory cause of his death was the black mould found throughout the flat where the child lives. The TV pictures made the mould problem appear to be enormously bad but this is not an uncommon problem in badly built and madly maintained housing, some of it in the public sector. So the impact of this coroner’s report may mean that literally thousands of families throughout the land can argue much more strongly with their landlords that the mould problems that they may be experiencing really do need to be remedied and, presumably, there is now a good legal precedent to reinforce the tenant’s right to live in a mould-free house or flat.