Tuesday, 8th June, 2021

[Day 449]

Our busy social whirl continues – well, not quite! We made a very rapid trip to the park this morning and then had only the briefest of chats with our University of Birmingham friend because we knew that we had a fairly tight turn-around as I have my Pilates class in the middle of the day. After we got back we had about ten minutes for me to change clothing etc. before going down to my Pilates class. Here we have the same four regulars but it was our first week back after the break of a week for the Spring holiday. At least one of the four us (not me!) had been busy doing Pilates in odd moments in the kitchen (peeling vegetables seems to be a particular favourite at the moment) Then after a rush home and a scrambled lunch (from the leftovers of yesterday’s repast) we then awaited our particular ex-Waitrose friends who we expecting to call round to see us at 3.30. As one of our friends is a wheelchair user, we had to ensure that we didn’t have any wheelie bins occluding the back entrance to our garden (everything was OK as it turned out). We also, on purpose, did not lay any tables or the like in case we needed to change plans and arrange for our repast in the front of the house rather than the rear. But all is well that end’s well so our friends managed to gain access by our side entrance without difficulty and we sat down to scoff that which took our fancy from yesterday’s assortments of breads, cold meats, patés and cheeses. Then we had the most enjoyable afternoon catching on various bits of news, not to mention Bromsgrove history (about which our friends are extremely knowledgeable). One of the particular pleasures to be had on occasions like these are to show relatives and friends the points of interest in your own garden (or in our case the communal areas) Having explained the history of how we came to purchase the plot of land in the front of the house, I then went on to explain some of the improvements for which we could claim some credit. One of these is my ‘pride and joy’ and that is a tree, now some thirty feet tall or even more which I rescued as very young and self-set seedling about twelve years ago. This started off its life about 4″ high and sitting in a small plant pot but it got repotted as it grew and when it about a metre high I transplanted it into my neighbour’s garden (which I was looking after and helping to maintain at the time) And so my ‘acer campestre‘ or field maple to give it its English nomenclature feels as though it is getting on for the height for a house or about 8 metres tall but they can grow as much as 20m in total. It has some lovely dense maple style leaves but many of them will turn orange and then red in the autumn. Another particular favourite of mine is the silver birch which I bought and then planted about ten yers ago to fill a gap. Finally of course, we have the recently pruned golden privet around our BioDisk which after a heavy pruning is now showing signs of bursting back into life again. Suddenly, it was not too far short of 7.0pm so we had to let out friends depart so that our daughter-in-law could get her car correctly parked.

The latest virus news is anything but encouraging. It looks as though the total number of new infections has increased to over 6,000 new cases in a single day, which I think represents practically a doubling within a week. More seriously, the Greater Manchester and Lancashire area are to receive a ‘strengthened package of support’ to help them to cope with the increasing incidence of the Delta version of the virus which is so much more transmissible than its predecessors. We had been intending to make a trip to Bolton in about 2-3 week’s time in order to pay a much postponed visit to Meg’s cousin. However, this too is starting to belong to the category of a forlorn hope and it looks as though we need to postpone the trip for about the third time. At the same time, we know that our Irish friends from down the road have had a magnificent time Llandudno in North Wales. By way of contrast, we had tried to book into a Holiday Inn in North Wales and been told that no booking would be entertained until July at the earliest. Meanwhile, some of our park friends announced to us that they were going to go off for a days ‘rest and recreation’ in mid-Wales and informed us that they had no difficulties of any kind making a booking. So the situation in Wales is varied (and confusing, at least, for the likes of us). We need to perhaps start to think of pointing in a different direction as perhaps it is now OK for us to head towards Derby where one of Meg’s other cousins is in the process of buying a house (and may well have moved by now).