Wednesday, 17th June, 2020

[Day 93]

Today started off somewhat differently – my son’s car was booked in for a service but this was now handled like a military operation. He had to drop off his car at a very precise time and the attendant paperwork was all handled to observe the social distancing regulations. As it happens, this particular garage was located just around the corner from a huge Morrison’s supermarket so we made an arrangement that I would arrange to pick him up and bring him home whilst the car was being serviced. As it turned out, all of these operations worked like clockwork so Meg and I could then continue with our daily routine of a walk to the local park. On our way ‘down the hill’, we met one of our constant friends who was herself approached by another friend bearing a birthday gift of a card and a bottle of wine. Realising that we had ourselves forgotten about our friend’s birthday, we made an abrupt change of plan and so, having acquired our newspapers from the usual little newsagent, we decided to make a lightning tour inside Waitrose in order to buy two birthday cards (one for yet another friend), a bottle of Cava and a Rhône so that she and her husband can celebrate in style. Whilst chatting about how the weather is likely to pan out over the next few days, we mutually wondered whether we might meet in each other’s gardens when the weather improves and observing whichever rules that happen to be in force (given that they appear to be changing so rapidly!)

Although the morning was relatively fine, we knew from the weather forecast that more rain was on the way. After lunch, I drove my son to collect his just-serviced car and on the way back decided to drop into my local family-run hardware store in Bromsgrove. This store always has a selection of 80cm (31.5″) staves with their points already machined so these are excellent for gardening purposes. They can either be used just as they are to stake up a large plant or bush or sawn in two they provide nice deep pegs as described in yesterday’s blog. However, they first have to be treated to make them less liable to rotting and for this purpose, I have a supply of a creosote substitute (called Creocote – here is the manufacturer’s blurb)- ‘Similar physical/water repellency/application characteristics of traditional creosote but contains no biocide/preserver. A bitumen/wax based treatment that helps to protect exterior rougher cut timber by repelling water and preventing ingress.’ So there you have it. I generally paint all of my timber staves with this product so that I have one readily to hand whenever I need it, as otherwise, an untreated stave would rot off at ground level within a year or so, or perhaps even after one winter.

To replace my ceanothus tree (and so that my study does not look out onto my neighbour’s brick wall, nice though it is) I am thinking of constructing a little platform but it needs to be about a metre in height. I shall probably need to purchase 4 legs (timber which has not been sharpened to a point this time) and I already have a square block of timber some 25″ by 17″ which I had made into a saw table before I had to ‘deconstruct’ it when the new building was undertaken next door and we had to regularise some of the land I had inadvertently utilised (but that is another and longer story which I won’t go into now except we are now absolutely legal with possession ratified by the Land Registry).

Some political news this evening – there is a particular hard-line Republican ‘hawk’ and former national security adviser, John Bolton, who was employed as an adviser to President Trump and who claims in a book tonight that Donald Trump sought Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s help to win the 2020 presidential election. If these claims are verified and not buried, then this could be a game-changer as regards the forcoming Presidential elections in November. Watch this space, as they say!