Wednesday, 19th June, 2024

[Day 1556]

Today has been quite an active day what with one thing or another. Wednesdays are the days when our domestic help calls around so this is always a source of much pleasure for us. Last week she brought along a beautiful soft toy for Meg’s enjoyment which is a female bear complete with a little dress on called ‘Angela’ (as that was the name of the very kindly lady who donated it to us on the understanding that it would ‘go to a good home’) But I also seize the opportunity whilst our domestic help is cleaning our Music Lounge and its environs so that I can leave Meg for some time whilst I do some critical shopping on the High Street. Today there were several things to be done, apart from visiting an ATM, principal amongst which was to call in at our local friendly cobblers who was busy repairing my leather hat for me. This has an ornamental band which gradually becomes unstuck and tends to drift off but our cobbler thought he had the right gear to put a few stitches in strategic locations to hold the band in place. Then I took the opportunity to buy a flower vase from a charity shop, a birthday card for our domestic help and some children’s books for Meg for her perusal. The thing about children’s books is that the illustrations are of equal importance to the actual text so one that I actually bought (about a puppy being lost – and then found – in the snow) is beautifully illustrated. When I consulted the bibliographical details, as I suspected there were two authors, one responsible for the text and the other for the illustrations and I image that the art of the illustrator is so much more demanding than that of the actual author. But the principal activity that engaged me this morning were a couple of ‘gardeners’ who came along to blitz our back garden for us which was getting very overgrown and had not been touched for a year i.e. since the more acute stages of Meg’s illness. Our principal gardener was actually the partner of one of our care staff who had taken a look outside at our garden and recommended her partner to do the job for us. Actually the pair worked like demons starting at about 9.30 and the principal gardener’s assistant was actually a roofer who was acting as second man for the day.They explained how they often worked with each other when a two-man job was needed and I was very impressed by what they managed to achieve. In my mind’s eye, I thought the garden would look pretty terrible after everything had a severe cut back and the bushes might look denuded. Instead, the results were very impressive and I had some 2-3 feet of foliage cut back from all over the garden. We had identified a location near to our compost bin which would act as a repository for the cut vegetation as they would cheapen the cost considerably rather then chopping it all up and then carting it away. I was particularly pleased that they had several pots which I had growing near the house (a bay tree, two lavender trees, a huge ‘Lavatera’ and one or two others) and with a careful eye rearranged them in various locations around our terrace (which was itself prettified somewhat) and the overall effect was better than I dared imagine. Having done such a good job, I was delighted to be able to offer them some more work in the autumn when the garden needs an end-of-summer pruning and a general tidying up before the onset of winter. The last time I was in Waitrose, I had spotted some of my favourite low alcohol beer which has the most excellent flavour despite being low alcohol so I was able to offer each of them a very refreshing drink as it had been very hot and thirsty work for the two of them. I am now in the position that Meg can enjoy the back garden if I can find a way of getting the wheelchair over the thresholds (the patio door surround and a large stone step) But I did manage to get through to the OT service, requesting they they make on onward referral to the’House Adaptations’ scheme which they said they would do. I am wondering whether a ramp or two or some other adaptation might make Meg’s access to the garden so much more feasible and we can then enjoy the garden for the remainder of the summer. For my part, I am resolved to keep the immediate environs – the parts within eyeballing distance- neat and tidy with a little bit of work perhaps even once a day assuming that Meg gets off to sleep and does not require any supervision in the evenings (which is the case sometimes)

All politicians relish (or should it be fear) the photo-opportunity and this is typically done to death. Why the politicians readily accede to the wearing of hard hats, bakers aprons and so on is beyond me but I suspect that they want to show that they are a ‘man/woman of the people’ – but the donning of protective headgear and particularly hard hats seems to be ‘de rigeur’ Rishi Sunak wished to establish his credentials with the farming community and was faced with offering food to a flock of sheep. The Tory publicists no doubt wanted a nice ‘cuddly’ image of Rishi Sunak surrounded by adoring sheep. But the image that they actually got was one sheep seeing what was on offer from the bucket and then refusing it whilst he rest of the flock turned their back on the Prime Minister and promptly run away. The mental image was delightful, the sheep being quite easily taken the place of the electorate who were turning their backs on the Tory. The Tory press corps and publicists put their hands over their eyes in horror as this image can no doubt be used in Labour Party election broadcasts and goodness knows what else. Not really using social media that much, I wonder if this image has gone viral at all?