We always thought that today was going to be quite a busy day and so it proved. After we had bought our newspapers, we popped into Waitrose knowing that we were going out on a trip this afternoon and so we bought ourselves some Waitrose sandwiches not knowing what the restricted catering facilities would be like at the other end. Whilst there, we were greeted like long lost souls (which I suppose we were) and got some of the tales from some of the familiar staff. One who we know particularly well had caught the virus and so had her husband who was particularly ill but he just managed to pull round before a spell in hospital was called for. Waitrose always had a good display of plants outside and we were tempted to but an Alstroemeria which is a South American tuberiferous plant also known as the Peruvian lily that produces a proliferation of flowers that cut well and display right throughout the summer until the early frosts, so we had to have one. We were also tempted into buying a rhododendron plant which is just on the point of bursting into a proliferation of blooms so the two of them should sit particularly well on the tall plant stand I have just constructed. But to show you cannot win them all, my lavatera arrived by post this morning and although I was not expecting much, I did anticipate getting a plant that was only about 5″ in height. We had an early light lunch consisting of a good soup and set off with our provisions for Coughton Court. We had not realised it was quite so close as it is only about 18 miles down the road and we had allowed ourselves some ‘getting lost’ time so we set off an hour early. On the gate, they did not seem to mind that we had arrived half an hour before our allocated ‘slot’ time but as they due to shut at 5.00 we enjoyed the extra half-an-hour. The gardens proved to be as delightful as we remembered them from the time of our last visit which must have been over a decade ago. We treated ourselves to a super ice-cream and then, like other families, enjoyed an impromptu picnic beside a large mowed area set aside of picnics although most of us were seeking the shade of the trees. We then had a stroll alongside the lakeside area and were impressed by the ways in which those responsible for the upkeep of the grounds had various information points which were painted onto the flat ring of a tree (when a large fallen tree had evidently been cut into rings, like slicing an enormous carrot) Also, they used naturally curved branches to form bedding boundaries – it is always useful to see how good gardeners make use of whatever natural materials they had to hand, Then we made our way home on what has the been the hottest day of the year so far (although tomorrow may be even hotter and then we may have thunderstorms on Friday).
Politically, it looks as though the Environment and Community minister, Robert Jenrick, is heading for a fall. It is a typical Tory corruption scandal in which the advice of the planning inspector was overridden and the planning application was rushed through in such a way that the developer (who had made hefty donations to the Conservative party) made millions of pounds. The whole thing looks like a classic ‘cash for favours’ row. It also looks as though the medical profession is united in suspecting that there is a very real risk that with the amount of virus still around in the community there may be a second wave (worst than the first) which will hit the country in the middle of next winter coinciding with the normal ‘flu’ epidemics. We have been warned!