I and a friend were recently trying out Signal as a secure cross-platform messaging app, something to use for group chats where not everyone is using iMessage. I had heard good things about it and this was largely born out in our trial. And yet…

Given that it is privacy conscious people who likely to be drawn to it, why does Signal insist on notifying other users who have you in their contacts list that you have joined and vice versa?

From their help page Does Signal send my number to my contacts?

Your phone now knows which of your contacts is a Signal user and notifies you if your contact just started using Signal.

While I can appreciate the security built into Signal, this does seem to be something of a misstep in terms of inspiring confidence.

And from the same page;

If someone knows how to send you an SMS, we want them to see that they can send you a Signal message instead.

Surely I, as the end user, should be given that choice? I can turn off notifications when my contacts join Signal but as far as I can see, I cannot stop others being notified about me.

My friend is very privacy conscious and this feature was a step too far for them. For me, it is probably not a deal breaker when push comes to shove, but as a matter of principal it seems strange to not give the user more options and control in this regard. Ho hum.

The weekend has arrived not a moment too soon. While there are a some practicalities to sort out I feel that some serious downtime is needed after a pretty draining week.

I am going to keep my news intake to the bare minimum. Go for a run. Maybe two. Watch a film. Read. Perhaps even a bit of gaming. Get out into the garden. And any of this could be on my own or with my family.

I am going to appreciate just being able to stop. Breathe. And remember the world is still turning.

The number of people in our village who have offered to run errands is impressive. It’s really heartening to see. So we have some offering to shop for groceries, or go to the Post Office, someone who works in the local pharmacy who can collect and deliver prescriptions and the local farm shop are going to prepare frozen meals for those that need them. Good to see such community spirit!

On further reflection it is probably for the best that we can’t get grocery deliveries online, as we are able to go out and hopefully it is those who need to self-isolate who are booking up the delivery slots. However, the cynic in me suspects that is not the case.

A business just down the road that supplies pubs and restaurants expects to last no more than a week, now that demand has disappeared. I hope our government puts measures in place post-haste so that all the businesses facing a similar situation don’t just go to the wall.

On a positive note, since posting yesterday a couple of residents have volunteered to coordinate getting supplies to those in the village who need it. Which is just what was needed.

So far the Coronavirus has had little impact on us here in the south west of the UK. Schools are still open for the time being and we are largely able to work without making too many adjustments (so far).

What has become apparent just today is the effect of panic buying. We get our groceries delivered and on the back of a chance remark from someone we checked on the availability of delivery slots. None available for the next three weeks!

Fortunately, our veg box supplier is prioritising regular customers so we will still get those delivered.

It could be said that this is a first world problem, and is one that I am sure we can get around. But it did make us think about those in our village for whom self-isolating may become necessary so we will look into what those of us who will remain out and about can do in terms of making sure people don’t run short on essentials.

The worldwide run on toilet paper and pasta would be more laughable if it weren’t symptomatic of unnecessary and selfish behaviour. For those older people who will have to be confined to their homes, a shortage of basic household supplies can be a source of distress. Meanwhile, I think our diet is going to consist of a lot more broccoli than usual.

Our Victoria plum tree is covered in buds so am hoping for a good crop this year. Yesterday I spotted a pigeon happily devouring them so shooed it away. Last year we didn’t get a single fruit for the same reason. I’m glad I saw the pigeon as it prompted me to get some netting over said tree in order to prevent further loss of blossom. Me – 1, pigeons – 0.

Walked in our local copse and good to see and hear several newly arrived Chiffchaffs. The most unremarkable looking bird but I love to see them.