Monday, 7th December, 2020

[Day 266]

Today we needed to make one of rare excursions onto the High Street in Bromsgrove and we decided to take the car for reasons I shall explain later. On the High Street, we visited Boots opticians in order to get a slight adjustment made to Meg’s glasses. This was all very straightforward and then made a trip round a cut-price cosmetics shop to get some bits and bobs of which we were short. We had a quick perambulation around the park but it was too cold for a stay on a park bench so we made our way back to the car and thence to the house of one of our friends. We had previously arranged to buy couple of Christmas wreaths (proceeds going to aid our church) and as I had chosen them previously, all I had to had to do was to and pick them up from a pre-arranged spot in their garden and then transport them home. I must say we were glad to get home today because we felt pretty well chilled so it was good to have our coffee and comestibles sitting by our own fire. After lunch, I surveyed our porch and gathered to gather a range of materials to help to hang them in the porch – a job I though should only take about 15-20 minutes. After that, our intention was to treat ourselves to watching ‘The Belles of St. Trinians‘ (the 1954 Alastair Sim, Joyce Grenfell version) although I vaguely remember that a much more up-to-date version has been made recently in about 2010 (when the girls were notably more street-wise than in 1954). So now to little Mike and his saga of how to hang two wreaths on the brick wall in our porch. The original idea was to hang them on other side of the downstairs (loo) window and to do this, I utilised a couple of stick-on-hooks with their action assisted by some strips of gaffer tape. As I was putting up the second wreath, the first crashed to the floor shattering into 2-3 pieces. So I abandoned the idea of sticking them to the brick wall and plan 2 was to stick them onto the plasticised? surround of the window frame. This resulted in as much failure as effort no. 1 so I needed to think of a third solution. Raiding my box of supplies, I found some picture pins of various sizes. The intention was to put the pin into the space between the mortar and the brick but this attempt, too, ended in failure as the pins bent upon attempting to hammer them in. So onto attempt No. 4 which was to attempt to put a screw again in the ‘weak point’ where the mortar meets the brick. This attempt, too, ended in failure. And so on to Effort No 5 where I had to think imaginatively. I made a small indentation between the mortar and the brick using a bradorl. I then enlarged this somewhat by hammering in a very small nail. Finally, I took a very small screw and using a bit of brute force and ignorance managed to get the two wreaths finally hung on the wall. I need to point out at this stage, that the wreath that had previously shattered into 2-3 pieces was repaired with some gaffer tape – when my daughter-in-law returned home, this too had crashed to the floor (for the second time, I might add) completely disintegrating it. But at least my wall-screw had held so I may be able to get a replacement. Overall, a 20 minute job lasted an hour and a half.

I have started to think that I must try and get my Christmas cards organised – fortunately, this task has been made much easier because a couple of years ago I ‘computerised’ my Christmas card list (i.e. made a text file of names and addresses) with the spacing between the entries so organised that I can easily print off some address labels on the printer. I have ordered a supply of Christmas cards from Oxfam but they tell me that it may take a few days to arrive so I went to my Christmas card box to see what I already had in stock. The first thing to do was to make sure that I had envelopes of the requisite size for each spare card (and I seem to have ended up with more cards than envelopes). I have these sorted into three piles (a) religious (typically an illustration of Madonna + child) (b) quasi-religious e.g.anything with angels or shepherds on it (c) secular, in that there are no religious themes in it at all – typically robins and snow-scenes. Then I have to make a guess as to the degree of religiosity or secularism before I choose a card appropriate to the recipient. Whether other people share this Christmas card dilemma, I do not know but I do not want to wish religiosity upon people who rather be without it.