Thursday, 22nd July, 2021

[Day 493]

Every so often I get up early and whilst the temperature is comparatively cool, I review my finances, including savings plans and saving ‘pots’. So I spent an hour or so this morning getting things in order to my satisfaction. Then it was breakfast, a shower, (and ditto for Meg) and then we walked down to the park together. Instead of throwing away yesterday’s Guardian, I have started to take it with me so that having parked Meg on one of our favourite benches and partaken of our coffee she can read it. Then I pop off and get today’s newspapers. Upon my return it was a fairly leisurely stroll home and lunch – except it was so hot we just made one of our favourite mélange of tinned fruit (apricots), yogurt, ice cream and a drizzle of honey. We felt that we would be better to leave our main cooked meal until this evening, which indeed we did.

This afternoon, my much delayed consignments of extra plants arrived from the online company. I have purchased a Buddleia which I know is almost a weed-like plant (think of railway sidings) but this particular one is somewhat unusual in that the horticulturalists maintain that they have grafted three colours of Buddleia onto a common rootstock. I suppose these are white, pink and purple so we will have to see if it fulfils its promise.I made a little wigwam of canes to support it as one or two of the fronds had suffered a bit in transit but overall, it looked in pretty good condition. Then I had ordered two more little bulbs that were almost thrown in as an afterthought and were being sold off for £1.00 each. One of these was an miniature orange canna lily which, I must admit, I have never actually seen before. The other was an orange peony and, as before, I have never actually seen an orange peony before either. Having got these three plants planted, I had three more little tasks to perform. One was to put some sulphate of iron around the roots of my recently planted hydrangea. In theory, this ought to turn the whole plant into a really vivid shade of blue (such as you often see by the seaside) Whether this works or not, only time will tell. The second little job was to adapt one of my staves such that I could add an additional support to one of the steps leading down into Mog’s Den which appeared to be slipping downhill a little. I have done this sort of task lots of time before and everything worked OK. The final little task was to transplant another bit of mint from a neglected part of the garden to my newly established mint bed. I then have just one more little seed sowing job in front of me. Whilst I was in Poundland the other day, I bought to my amazement (for £1.00) a packet contains six different type of spicy and aromatic herms i.e. Serrano Chilli, Coriander, Japanese Greens, Chilli Cayenne, Cinnamon Basil and finally Pak Choi (Chinese cabbage).I honestly cannot see many of these seeds germinating but if I get half a dozen plants from each variety of seed, the venture will have been well worth while.

There are two bits of COVID-19 news this evening. The first is that more than 600,000 people have been ‘pinged’ by the Test and Trace app in the last week and they therefore have to stay at home and self-isolate. This is creating mayhem in the economy with supermarkets being quite badly hit as delivery drivers are not available. The government is so worried about this and tonight they have published a list of sixteen sectors where fully vaccinated workers do not need to quarantine provided they also take a daily test which proves negative – and. these exemptions will only run to the 16th August in any case. Many different parts of the economy are being adversely affected tonight – but Test and Trace is only just doing its job and do we want to get on top of this pandemic or not? The second major areas concern is that rates of infection are now very high amongst the (unvaccinated) 20-29 year olds and some vaccination points are returning vaccine to their headquarters perhaps destined for ultimate destruction because not enough are. coming forward. to be vaccinated.

A Labour MP (Dawn Butler) has taken Boris Johnson to task for misleading the country. As she says:

I am disappointed that the prime minister has not come to the House to correct the record and to correct the fact that he has lied to this House and the country over and over again.

The deputy Commons speaker was asked repeatedly to withdraw her comments but she refused. She then had to withdraw for the rest of the day (actually only an hour as the Commons is going into recess for the summer) but Dawn Butler is unrepentant arguing that:

I have been thrown out of Parliament for saying what we all know: Boris Johnson has lied to the House of Commons and the country over and over again.

Under the rules of Parliamentary etiquette, one MP is not allowed to call another a liar so one must either withdraw the offending remark (even if true?) or be suspended from the House of Commons.