Monday, 28th August, 2023 [Day 1260]

I do not want to sound excessively curmudgeonly but I do not look forward to Bank Holidays these days. Principally, one never knows which shops are open or closed and to compound the confusion this morning, our newsagent is away on holiday for a week so I will have to go on the road to hunt for my newspaper (which is already prepaid as I have a supply of vouchers) Not knowing what supermarket was going to open, I made for the BP petrol station where they have copy of ‘The Times‘ or rather they had one as I purchased the last copy. After that, it was a case of going to the park somewhat earlier than we normally would and we bumped into on or two park acquaintances ‘en route’. I am now getting the folding of Meg’s wheelchair, which can be a little tricky, sorted out and once Meg is sitting in it, afer the effort of the initial push, it runs pretty smoothly and does not present any problems even over the slightly uphill sections. Once we had drunk our coffee and eaten our comestibles, we returned home and had a lunch of cooked gammon, broccoli, baked tomatoes and a baked potato. All was very tasty and we got lunch all eaten and washed up by well before 2.00pm. I had experimented a bit with our DVD-cum-PVR which I have not used for some time to play an opera DVD but after a few false starts, I eventually got it to work as I wanted. We played for ourselves the Rolando Villazon and Anna Netrebko version of ‘La Bohème‘ which was a filmed version and gave us a lot of enjoyment. I must have seen it one or two times before but have not played this DVD for quite some time and hence there were some things that I had not noticed before. Firstly, the captioning was extremely good and comprehensive so there were several little touches which I not fully appreciated before as sometimes the subtitles are cut to an absolute minimum. Being a film version, the film director allowed himself the occasional use of a video flashback (to the early and most romantic parts of the Rodolfi/Mimi love affair) Also, and I assume this was not a technical hitch on our DVD, when MiMi was near death dying from consumption, the director altered the colouration of the film so that it became black and white, reverting to colour when Mimi had a little revival just before she died. This film is a real weepy and I feel that the acting performance of everyone, including Musetta who plays the role of ‘tart with a heart’, was absolutely excellent. Now that I have got this going, we may treat ourselves to an opera 2-3 times a week until such time as we have run through our stock which is admittedly not very extensive.

The big story this afternoon has been an outage or a technical failure with NATS – the National Air Traffic Control system- which controls all of the flights into and out of the UK. So far, there is an estimate that some 500 flights have been cancelled and the numbers of passengers affected must be in the hundreds of thousands. The disruption is bound to have massive knock-on effects as aircraft are not where they are supposed to be thus affecting future operations. Meanwhile, presumably, there are aircraft flying around in stacks all over the UK taking hours and probably wasting fuel in the process. At this stage, nobody is saying what ’caused’ the technical glitch but but is interesting that it has happened on one of the busiest days in the year for holiday flights. Without being an expert in computer systems, particularly those concerned with managing our airspace, it seems to be that there ought to be an instant ‘failsafe’ system in place such that if one critical part of the system is affected, the backup system should take over within seconds. When the full story of this failure is told, if it ever will be, then the answer will almost certainly point to a lack of investment in critical infrastructure which is a story that we can replicate across many sectors of UK society as a whole. We have got so used to running systems that are pushed to within an inch of their life, then these failures are bound to become more and more frequent.

It looks as though the Spanish ‘kissgate’ affair may be nearing a resolution, of sorts. The Spanish FA have been meeting all afternoon and I would be amazed if they did not dispense with the services of their president forthwith. But the endgame may be a little messy because there have been reports that the Spanish player who was the recipient of the unwanted ‘kiss’ (in other words a sexual assault) should institute her own proceedings for assault and this may take up to 15 days to go through the complaint and possible prosecution process. The most bizarre twist to all of this is that the mother of Luis Rubiales, the president of Spanish football, is instituting a hunger strike because she feels that her son is being unduly hounded by the Spanish media, not to mention Spanish public opinion as whole.

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *