Wednesday, 13th May, 2020

[Day 58]

Today is the day when, in theory, there should be some liberalisation of the great lockdown but it has brought with it a series of nonsenses and anomalies. If I understand it correctly, you can sit on a park bench with two strangers provided you are at least two metres apart. If one of them is your parent, then it is permissible to converse with one them – but if both people are your parents this would constitute a meeting of three people and would be illegal (if you were to talk to both of them at once – but not, in turn!). If you were selling your house, then it would be legitimate for your agent to accompany two people who are viewing your property but you are not allowed to join them. Transgressions are to be met with an increased fine (£100 for a first offence) And, of course, this is only in England but not in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland where the previous lockdown rules still apply. And if you go to work and your employer asks you to engage in a practice which breaks the new rules, can you walk out or not? (A government minister on Radio 4 refused to say whether it would be illegal to fail to comply with an employer’s not-legal instruction …and so on and so forth). It will be interesting to see how many fines and/or prosections are actually handed out to deal with all of this.

Our journey to the park today followed its usual course except that we didn’t stop to chat on the way there or on the way back. The amusing thing is that when we are seated on our park bench eating our elevenses (now absolutely legal and of course we can sunbathe as well if we wish to) many of the dogs let off the lease to have a run around make straight for us on the assumption that food is in the offing – their owners are inevitably full of chagrin but we are rather amused by it all. The park was busier than normal and it appeared that most benches were occupied – evidently, people had realised that they could now get to the park and chat with friends and neighbours quasi-legally (but see the above!)

After lunch, I thought I would move a youngish tree from one location to another, such that it helps to distract attention away from the next-door neighbour’s garden which is replete with every kind of outside toy it is possible to have so that the whole approximates to a children’s playground. (There is a hidden irony in all of this as part of our three initially successful attempts to object to the orchard adjacent to our hose being replaced by a miniature housing estate, one proposal was there should be a public children’s playground provided within a metre or so of our simple-wire (stock) fence!) Digging the hole ought to have simple but it didn’t quite turn out that way. I need to explain that the plot of land upon which our house was built was originally a nursery complete with outbuildings and the like. When it came to developing the site, there seemed to be a policy of bulldozing the buildings over, removing the subsequent rubble and then covering the remains with earth. Consequently, any attempts to dig on the outer fringes of the garden are nearly always met with a plethora of half-bricks, stones, bits of concrete and the like – and today was no exception. Having got the planting hole well prepared with compost, root fungus and bonemeal now it came to the transplanting itself. My tree purchased a couple of years ago is, if I remember, a Tilia Cordata Greenspire but I now estimate it to be about 16ft tall. In negotiating it out of its former position, I succeeded pretty well except for inadvertently breaking off (or damaging) the top foot of it. Nonetheless, now it is well in position (exactly where I wanted it to be) and well-watered and it seems to be surviving the shock of transplant already. Time will tell!

In the early evening, we FaceTimed some of our former Waitrose friends whom we had met in the park on Monday last and they seem to have a tremendous problem with their priority order at Asda (systems failure, wiping out their basket of shopping, their priority slot and all future priority slots) but eventually succeeded with Waitrose – I must say I am not surprised that Asda’s systems seemed to be unable to cope as even after a year, the system could not cope with reading my newspaper vouchers when I occasionally tried to use them in store.