13 November 2011

Well, we’ve had a good week – I hope yours has been similarly pleasant.

We had Nick, Lucy and Annabelle here for the night on Monday as they were in the midst of moving into their new home. The movers had packed up their old house and were going to deliver all their possessions to the new house on Tuesday so they came over for the evening and spent the night. Naturally, Annabelle was a dream and I was even able to introduce her to some of the finer elements of American football.

Annabelle and Grandpa watch football  Annabelle and Grandpa watch football

The other night (I think it might have been Thursday) Ms Playchute and I were watching the evening news when she turned to me and asked, “What shall we have for dinner?”

Of course, this is quite a silly question to address to me; my response would probably be something along the lines of “Whatever” or “Anything you like” or “Food.” But, on this occasion (for a change) I wasn’t sarcastic or snarky. I had my laptop and so I said that perhaps we should ask Mr Google for his suggestion. And so I did. I typed into Google “what shall we have for dinner” and the top suggestion out of 41,100,000 results was lasagne, garlic bread and salad. Hmm, sounds good to me!

What shall we have for dinner?

Now normally, of course, lasagne takes a bit of preparation and remember – we were watching the evening news at the time. Still, Pen turned to me and said, “You know, that’s a possibility!”

What I want to know is how did Google know that Ms Playchute had two portions of lasagne and garlic bread in the freezer left over from the Mwiri reunion and salad in the fridge? Does Google now keep a running track of what we have in our freezer and/or refrigerator? What if there isn’t a complete meal in the freezer, does it keep track of basic ingredients and suggest a suitable menu? What will they think of next?

We had a lovely group of visitors on Wednesday – our very dear friend Joe Jefferies, his wife Amandine and their lovely daughter Jeanne arrived for a brief visit. Joe, you will remember, is the son of our dear, dear friend Jan who we lost some years ago to breast cancer. He and his delightful family live in the south of France and they were in the UK for a short visit to see his grandparents in Birmingham. It was a delight to see them and we’re so grateful that they were able to find the time to come for lunch. Considering Jeanne had a cold and was snuffly and congested, she was an angel and thoroughly enjoyed the bed we made up for her in the dog’s basket.

 Amandine, Jeanne and Joe Jefferies  Jeanne Jefferies

As if all that wasn’t enough excitement for one week, on Friday evening I took Ms Playchute to the Warwick Arts Centre for a performance by the “Legendary” John Mayall. Many of you will know him but, for those who perhaps don’t, he is an English blues singer and songwriter who, at the age of 77 is still going strong. Various “great” (mainly English) musicians have either started with him or played with his band at some point in their careers including Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor and, of course, Eric Clapton.


(In case you don’t recognise him, John Mayall is the guy with the long, grey ponytail playing keyboards!)

It was good fun if perhaps not the rip-roaring concerts we used to attend in our youth. That may have something to do with the average age of the audience – although I didn’t spot any Zimmer frames, I am guessing that we were right about or even a bit below the average age. Hence, there wasn’t much dancing in the aisles – most of the audience movement during the show was of elderly men rushing to the toilet between songs.

Finally, thanks again to all of you who have been so generous in donating to the Movember initiative in aid of research into prostate cancer. Amazingly, at one point this week I was ranked 140th out of 220,623 registered participants in the UK in terms of the amount of sponsorship I had raised. Clearly others have started a bit more slowly as my position in the rankings is now steadily dropping. But I am still overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness, generosity and support. Interestingly, yesterday’s Guardian had an article about the initiative and some of the “celebrity” participants this year.

You will be pleased to know that the “Goat” is developing nicely.

Love to you all,