Wednesday, 30th August, 2023 [Day 1262]

This morning dawned quite bright and fair and we had several plans for the day ahead. Firstly, my son and I struggled to implement a new and updated Amazon Firestick which adds all kinds of channels to one’s TV. I have one of these appliances which is several years old now and suffers from an occasional ‘buffering’ problem. When this occurs, whatever program you are watching freezes and you have to reset and restart the system as a whole. It does, however, remember the point at which you get stuck and so you see the whole of the programme that you are watching, albeit with an interruption. The new Firestick seemed to get so far and then got in to an endless loop of some description at the point where the account is being registered. My son and I struggled with this for the best part of an hour but eventually, we ran out of options. On consulting the web, it seems that being stuck in an endless loop is a phenomenon which seems not infrequent so I will study the advice which is given and we will both have a try again of this in the morning. If that fails to work, it will have to be a case of complaining to Amazon and requesting our money back.

As it was quite a fine morning, Meg and I went out on the road. It is my sister’s birthday tomorrow and although I had purchased a birthday card, I wanted to ensure that it got delivered on time. Our post office is now a counter in our local branch of W H Smiths so I parked the car in such a way that we are pretty sure that we have caught the post which is collected at about midday. Then Meg and I made our way into the park and enjoyed a burst of sunshine whilst we drank our coffee in the park, surrounded as is usual by a fair collection of toddlers on their bikes and dogs of every shape and size. When we turned home, I got busy preparing the lunch which was going to make use of some donated runner beans. These were actually donated by the neighbour of one of the church congregation that we see regularly so we know they are fresh out of someone’s garden or allotment. I steamed them as I would any other veg but then as we had the oven on for a quiche,I stirred in some little shreddings of ham and baked them in the oven with a dousing of olive oil. This is a very Spanish way of eating both peas and beans although in their case it would be a bit of chorizo. In any event, I thought it would make the beans a little more interesting. I also prepared some ham and cheese sandwiches as well as some tuna sandwiches for our guests later in the afternoon. In preparation for our friends coming round by prior arrangement at 3.00 in the afternoon, I threw together some collections of biscuit and cake in readiness for the afternoon. As I had a few minutes spare before our guests arrived, I shot outside and got rid of some pretty big weeds which had grown tall by the side of our access roadway and were proving offensive to the sight. When our friends arrived, we showed them first into our Music Room where I explained how we had gradually furnished the room. I gave them a rendition of ‘Shenandoah‘ on the Casio keyboard followed by two quick bursts of the ‘Barcarolle‘ on the two manuals of the organ. We spent a jolly few minutes whilst I explained to them how the Music Room helped us to relax particularly in the afternoons and with our favourite CD of Fauré. A CD also arrived by today’s post of ‘Renaissance – music for inner peace’ which I trust we shall enjoy playing in the days ahead. After our sojourn in the Music Room, we went off to the lounge and had our cups of tea and what the Anglo-Indians perhap called ‘tiffin’ and we told our friends the various interactions that we had had with social services, some of which had worked out quite well and some of which had not. We also discussed some of the options for Meg’s forthcoming eye treatments as our friend had recently had cataract surgery and was in a very good position to offer us some very useful advice, particularly as in her professional life she had been a nurse/midwife. After a very pleasant afternoon, our friends left and Meg and I scoffed whatever were the remains of the food for our afternoon tea.

The reasons for the massive disruption to the SATS air traffic control system are slowly starting to unravel. The finger of suspicion was put upon a French flight plan which was erroneous and with which the system could not cope – and therefore the system was shut down for safety reasons. But this is not an unknown scenario and there are also suggestions that better storage systems and backup systems that actually worked well would have given flight controllers more time to locate and isolate the source of the problem. In the meanwhile, the disruption has gone on for days and travellers may well be hundreds or even thousands of pounds out of pocket wth the airlines reluctant to pick up the bill as it ‘was not their fault’

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