Saturday, 19th February, 2022 [Day 705]

Today is the day after the ‘big storm’ that was Eunice and I must say that here in the Midlands, we have got off fairly lightly.  On the other hand, when I was FaceTiming one of my colleagues from the University of Winchester who lives in rural Hampshire, he seemed to have a bit of a torrid time with sheds being moved off their bases and trees shedding some of their branches. The possibility of severe tidal flooding along the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary did not materialise, but the severity of the winds caused significant damage and loss of life across the South of England and London where red warnings were issued by the Met Office.

Meg and I were not quite sure how the day was going to pan out, weatherwise, so we decided to play safe and we went down into town by car. Having collected our newspaper, we popped into the park and did a circular walk for about 15 minutes or so but we broke with tradition by not bothering to sit on a bench and consume any of of our own coffee. Having completed our walk, we were both feeling a little chilled so we were pleased to get home and enjoy our coffee and biscuits when we got home. Lunch was fairly easy to prepare as we had some venison meatballs in their own onion gravy which we complemented with some green veg and prepared fairly quickly.

After lunch, we were excited to discover that there was a film of ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ on BBC2. This was a 1940 production in black and white and starring Lawrence Olivier as Darcy. But somehow we felt that it did not capture our imaginations in any way and seemed to pale into comparison with modern productions that we have seen. There was quite a lot of flouncy 1940’s style versions of 18th century costumes and a declarative style of acting which seemed to us to miss the subtleties and the nuances of more more recent productions so we turned it off and devoted ourelves to an afternoon of reading before we leave for church in the late afternoon.

I am in now in the research phase of what model of MAC I shall use to replace my aging and slowing desktop machine.  The basic version will give you the astounding new MI chip in which Apple have integrated memory onto the chip but seems a little compromised in terms of the size of the solid state disk that they supply and particurlarly the number of ports. So I am leaning towards the next model upwards in the range and getting my finances arranged accordingly. Even here there are several options. I could go to the Apple Shop which never discounts and always charges the full ‘official’ price. On the other hand, I have in the past received an education discount but this has to be organised through a third-party firm and the procedures are a little tortuous, although I am in email communication with them. On the other hand, John Lewis seems to offer what I want with the equivalent of a 10% discount and an automatic two year warranty plus an interest free finance deal over three years all of which sounds sufficiently attractive for me to consider this as well.

Team GB has sceured its first medal in the Winter Olympics but Silver rather than Gold. The men’s team were playing Sweden and although they were behind for most of the match they drew level with the Swedes but were eventually were defeated by one of the last ‘stones’ launched by the Swedish team. Meanwhile the Women’s team are due to play the Japanese in the wee small hours of the morning tomorrow and, lik the men, they are guaranteed a silver but a gold may be within their grasp. No doubt, win or lose, the TV programmes will be full of the repeats of this match tomorrow.

The news headlines are also dominated by the stand-off in the Ukraine at the moment. I cannot but help feel that there is an awful lot of posturing going on here and if an actual conflict does occur, it is because either side has stumbled into it by accident rather than design. Yet one does get the impression that whatever happens, Putin will emerge as the happier party when all is said and done.   After all, he has a succession of world leaders calling on him to enhance his international standing and they are being subject to a sort of ritualised humiliation as they are forced to sit at end of  very long table with Putin at one end and themselves at the other. Despite all of the threatening noises being made about sanctions that NATO might try to impose, I am not sure how you disentangle the ‘clean’ from the ‘dirty’ Russian money that has flooded into London and then into property – if this were easy, would it not have been done by now?

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