The Coronavirus Diaries, 29th November 2020

I’ve just finished watching another episode of the Brokenwood Mysteries, an episode I wanted to watch last night, but UKTV wouldn’t play, saying I needed an HDMI connection. I checked it out today, was pleased I had the said equipment in my random assortment of leads etc and thought I was good to go, only to discover no HDMI socket on the back of the television set.

A search inline suggested solutions, but as I read on they seemed less and less likely to succeed. I am a user of technology rather than someone who understands how it works. I gave up. The iPad wouldn’t play either giving me a thumbs down message when I tried to watch the programme (series 6, episode 4 if you’re interested, and actually even if you’re not). Fortunately the laptop was more compliant. I am mystified as to why suddenly the HDMI cable is needed when it hasn’t been before. A mystery I am unlikely to solve.

I am also unlikely to solve the mystery in Passenger to Frankfurt, an Agatha Christie novel I picked up. Unlikely because I don’t think I’ll be finishing it. It’s a book which makes me want to clean windows, wash floors, tidy cupboards. In other words, it fails to grip. I take it Ms Christie disapproved of trades unions, the Labour party, the Beatles and many other aspects of life in the sixties.

I have never been a big fan of her novels, although I enjoy the tv and film adaptations. She had a habit of withholding clues until Poirot did his great reveals which irritated me. So I thought her books fine to pass the time on a train ride, but that was about all.

I’m not sure how Passenger to Frankfurt came into my possession. I have another one of her books too, so I am guessing they were acquired at the same time. However there were two pages in the otherwise dull story which made me sit up as they seemed so apposite for our times. P59:

” ‘Politicians don’t have time to look at the world they’re living in. They see the country they’re living in and they see it as one vast electoral platform. That’s quite enough to put on their plates for the time being. They do things which they honestly believe will make things better and then they’re surprised when they don’t make things better because they’re not the things that people want to have. And one can’t help coming to the conclusion that politicians have a feeling that they have a kind of divine right to tell lies in a good cause. It’s not really so very long ago since Mr Baldwin made his famous remark–“If I had spoken the truth, I should have lost the election.” Prime Ministers still feel like that. Now and again we have a great man, thank God. But it’s rare.’ “

Then on page 79:

” ‘There are people capable of communicating to others a wild enthusiasm, a kind of vision of life and of happening. They can do that though it is not really by what they say, it’s not the words you hear, it’s not even the idea described….Such people have power. The great religious teachers had this power, and so has an evil spirit power also. Belief can be created in a certain movement, in certain things to be done, things that will result in a new heaven and a new earth, and people will believe it and work for it and fight for it and even die for it.’ “

I gave up on P106. I’ve started reading Ghost by Robert Harris, but it’s an ebook, and I’d rather have a proper book to curl up with. Celia and I are walking up to the Barbican library tomorrow morning. I think I’ll browse their stock online and see if I can find something I can collect.

Stay safe. Keep well. Keep reading.

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