Thursday, 8th June, 2023

[Day 1179]

Today is my normal grocery shopping day so I collected some money from the ATM amd got myself positioned outside my local supermarket just before 8.00am. There was quite a chill wind blowing around this morning but we all seem to be aware of the same weather forecast to the effect that things would get a lot warmer by this afternoon, which proved to be the case. Once I had got home and the breakfast cooked, we were ready to set forth for the park wondering who we might meet today. As is always the case, whilst Meg and I were sitting on our normal park bench we get inspected first by dogs (often hunting for titbits) and then by their owners. This morning we starting off having a chat with a whippet owner which was a wonderful silvery shade often called ‘blue’ Shortly afterwards we got into conversation with another dog owner who owned a dog called a Hungarian Vizsla. I must admit that I had never even heard of this breed before but I looked it up on the net when I got home and this confirms the impression that we gained that these are friendly but quite vivacious dogs who evidently like playing with other dogs whenever they got the opportunity. So we live and learn in our walks in the park. We finally had a chat with a lady we have seen a few times before and we started chatting about countryside matters, both of us having had long and therefore large gardens in the past. She let us know that baby’s talcum powder is a very good antidote against ants which evidently thrive along the borders of paths and lawns, particularly if the conditions are both hot and humid. The ant season is almost upon us if not already here so we must try out this practical remedy when the occasion demands it. I shared my tip of an ecologically sound but cheap weedkiller. This is basically vinegar with a dose of washing-up liquid put into a simple spray bottle such as you can find in ‘Poundland’. The point about the washing up liquid is that it reduces the surface tension of the fluid thus making it ‘wetter’ so to speak. The acetic acid will basically draw moisture from the plant and if put onto offending weeds at the start of what is going to be a hot day, then by midday the weeds should have basically shrivelled up. The roots still remain of course but to all purposes, the weed is effectively killed. I use this remedy for small, hard to get at weeds rather than the bigger variety that can just be gently pulled out so that on gets the roots out as well as the rest of the plant. We have not had rain for so long now I suddenly realised that some of the plants in pots outside our kitchen at the back of the house are starting to droop with the absence of moisture so I must get into the habit of throwing some water over them until such time as the rains arrive which they surely will in seasonable thunder storms as the temperatures rise in the next few days.

Lunch today was our final meal, finishing of our chicken legs. We tend to buy chicken thighs as they are more flavoursome than the breasts and we cook them with the skin on and bones in before discarding these at dishing up time. The trouble with chicken meals is that they tend to go on and on and after several days, one gets a bit fed up with it. This does not happen with other joints of meat because we tend to buy the smallest joints we can buy, then cook the lot but immediately divide it into half before freezing it for future use. So each ‘half’ joint as it were tends to last for two or three days but not four days which is what happens with our chicken meals.

This afternoon, Meg had a little round trip planned for the Worcestershire countryside. It was a glorious afternoon and we drove to near the Malvern hills but on a future occasion we think it is possible to drive three quarters of the way up the hills and then launch off for a walk towards the summit. We have not done that yet although our son and one of his bosom mates did it not too long ago but as Meg’s health has deteriorated somewhat, then really strenuous hill walks à la Lake District feels are now beyond us. However, it looks as though we might have quite a decent summer and one does hear tales of friends and others who have gone onto continental Europe and experienced a lot of rain whereas we have been basking in Mediteranean type temperatures. In a similar vein, there was news this morning that London Airport was likely to be inflicted by strikes on every weekend throughout the summer which might deter some of us taking holidays abroad for a bit.

I have acquired a new skill over the last day or so. It is possible to find on the web a ‘virtual piano’ and using one of these websites and with a little bit of practice, I have learnt how to play the very simple hymn tune called the ‘Old Hundredth’ aka ‘All People That On Earth Do Dwell’ I might extend this to very simple classical music melodies if I hear them on ClassicFM and can find the music score for them.