Wednesday, 14th July, 2021

[Day 485]

As the day dawned, there was not a cloud in the sky and we knew that we in at the start of a period of high pressure which is going to remain stationery over the British Isles for the next few days. As we had nothing particularly pressing this morning apart from updating our Waitrose order and the weather was so fine, we allowed ourselves the luxury of lingering in the back garden (and Mog’s Den of course) to assess which flowers and plants are doing particularly well this year. After some rain but also some warm days then the garden is at its finest so we took a lot of enjoyment lingering over various plants. For example, there is a beautiful little shrub with a host of ruby-red flowers called ‘Penstemmon‘. A small plant was sold to us by a friendly trader down in Bromsgrove some years ago. The ‘Penstemmon‘ has now spread to about a yard wide and a year deep so I may be able to detach part of it and start off a new clump elsewhere. Eventually, Meg and I started on our walk – I left Meg on one of the ‘top’ benches which overlooks the rest of the park whilst I went off to collect our newspapers. But Meg was soon joined by a mutual friend and I was pleased that Meg had that little bit of company and then we struck off for home.We had a salad type lunch which was easy to prepare – just as well as I needed to leave the house just after 2.00 for a doctor’s appointment (rare these days)

After I had been to the doctor’s for a series of checkovers (generally OK) I popped into our local Asda primarily to see if they had a gardening section and specifically if they had any seeds. I had in mind to buy some Swiss or Ruby Chard as they look colourful and grow well in the shade (of Mog’s Den) but Asda had hardly any seeds at all. But I did pick up a couple of rectangular vegetable troughs which were being sold off at a discounted price of £2.00 and then got home and treated myself to a low alcohol lager. Then I started a major task that I had set myself for the day which was to attack the mountain of weeds (brambles, nettles and other lovelies) which I needed to chop up into 8″ size portions and then bag them. As our brown (i.e. garden waste bins) are being emptied tomorrow morning, then today was an ideal opportunity to attempt to attack the pile of weeds and get them disposed of tomorrow morning. In the event, I managed to fill about five sacks and then these got disposed of via our own and neighbour’s bins – this has got most of the job done but there is still about one quarter of the total to be finished off in the morning. I must admit that the combination of thick and long brambles on the one hand and the slimy branches on the lower layers makes this a most unpleasant task but thankfully it will soon be over. In the middle of the afternoon, my plant arrived – a heavily discounted pussy willow which is about a metre and a half tall and which will not get any taller but should get bushier and eventually give us a display of lots of pussy willow catkins. Once the old vegetation had been removed, I shall be moving into the more pleasant phases of finishing off Mog’s Den. Basically,I need to put my planters in place (hardly an arduous task), fill them with a mixture of compost and topsoil (again, not a difficult job) and then sit back and wait for a few more of my ordered plants to arrive to populate the planters. I am of a mind to make the smallest of vegetable gardens near the beets and I thought I might transplant a bit of mint from another section of the garden and then sow some coriander seeds (or even get a complete coriander plant from a local supermarket)

Earlier today, I had called in to see how my two neighbours were doing health wise. My immediate next door neighbour is recovering from a heart procedure undertaken last Monday and my other neighbour is recovering somewhat, from the stroke she suffered last week. The family has been given precious little information and, in truth, the MRI scan was only done yesterday – a positive sign is that our neighbour can walk with some physiotherapists’ assistance. Then it looks as though she might go to a specialist unit which helps both to rehabilitate stroke sufferers and also gives the opportunity for longer term assessments to be made.

The government’s ‘mask’ policy seems to be in some disarray tonight. Although, in theory, all legal constraints will disappear on Monday next, ins practice many organisations (Transport for London for one) are insisting on their use.Tonight, more than 1,000 scientists sign letter urging 19 July to be postponed as they accuse government of pursuing ‘herd immunity by mass infection