Saturday, 10th July, 2021

[Day 481]

Today turned out to be quite a busy day.The day started off fine but cloudy but with the threat of rain until about midday, after which the temperature rose and the clammy feeling alongside it. We had quite a few chats in the course of our peregrinations this morning. First we bumped into one of our oldest friends who was busy gardening until we interrupted him. We exchange some gossip about church matters because we will both be attending the 6.00pm service this evening. Then Meg and I made for one of our favourite benches and were relieved to find that one was unoccupied – and no sooner had we started to fall upon our flask of coffee when our old estanblished University of Birmingham friend hove into view. As we had not seen each other for the best part of a week, we had quite a lot to catch up on, not least the sporting news from Wimbledon (currently) and Wembley (tomorrow night) We chatted for a few minutes when one of our wheelchair friends sped into view – she comes to the park most days and patronises the little refreshment kiosk near the main entrance to the park. She was telling us that the little cafe for whatever reason has run out of bread and several other day-to-essentials. As our friend likes her slice of toast she shot off to Waitrose which is probably ¼ mile away, got the cafe the supplies that she needed and then returned to provision them. Our friend is no slouch in her wheelchair – I think that the top speed may be approaching 20mph but she certainly whizzes along at the tremendous pace whoever she has a mind. I then left Meg and our friend in the park whilst I walked to pick uo our supply of newspapers. I know I could get the same newspapers from the Waitrose store but I prefer to patronise the little Asian-owned newsagent around the corner not least because, as a daily and regular customer, they keep my supply of newspapers apart from the main supply in the back office. This means that whoever I turn up, I can be assured of my supply and I want to keep this relationship going as long as possible. We were then joined by another of our park regulars who we have not seen for several days and then I went off to collect the newspapers. Upon my return, seeing the there of them together, I wondered if they had time yet to solve Fermat’s last theorem. Fermat himself claimed to have a proof but it was too big to fit on the margins of his notebook (a claim which is since disputed) Eventually, after 358 years of effort by mathematicians, the first successful proof was released in 1994 by Andrew Wiles ( a British mathematician), and formally published in 1995. As it happened the three of them had not solved the problem so we decided to leave that for another day.

When we did get home (eventually), we had a light cheese-and-biscuits type of lunch because I knew that whilst the weather was fine, the garden beckoned. I would dearly liked to be getting one with the finishing touches to Mog’s Den – instead I told myself that getting the lawns cut was undoubtedly a greater priority. This went fine and half-way through I bunped into the wife of my immediate next-door neighbour. We both had important bits of news to impart to each other. My neighbour informed me that her husband was going into hospital on Monday to have the last of a series of heart operations. Some of the others had provided some technical challenges to the heart surgeons so this was to be their last attempt to get things working as well as they could. At the same time, I needed to inform our next-door neighbour about what had open to our neighbour ‘across the green’ who had suffered a stroke recently but about whom we have received no more news from the relatives. After all of this, Meg and I attended the evening service which was quite quiet and contemplative – for whoever reason we had no music (as the person who operated the ‘BlueTooth’ was away on holiday and I suppose the same might have been true of the regular organist).

The whole of the day today has been the country poised in anticipation of the Euro Cup Finals between England and Italy tomorrow night. Why the commentators are frothing with excitement is that this is the first finals in which England is a finalist since the World Cup in 1966 (55 years ago) So any commentator (practically each one of them, plus all of the array of football pundits) has never experienced England in a final before and are therefore as much carried away by excitement as the rest of us. I think that Italy is far the better team but funny things happen in finals- a deflected ‘own goal’ gifting 1-0 to the opposition followed by ‘do-or-die’ defence for the rest of the match could actually mean that the weaker team eventually wins. In just over a day, it will all be over and the post-mortems will begin!