Sunday, 1st August, 2021

[Day 503]

The 1st of the month and I even forgot to say ‘White Rabbits! White Rabbits! White Rabbits!‘ which we used to say as kids on the first day of the month. Although there was no Andrew Marr show to dash back to from the paper shop, nonetheless I went down early the morning and treated myself to a good selection of Mozart as I walked. Often, I see a combination of dog-walkers and/or joggers on a Sunday morning but not today, so I suppose that the holiday season is kicking in with a vengeance. I was back by 9.00am and we indulged ourselves in watching some of the Olympics whilst we at our breakfast. I think the major point of interest was the fact that Max Whitlock retained his gold medal for his performance on the pummel horse in the men’s gymnastics. He had to put down a stunning performance (which he did) and then watch another eight competitors try to better his performance. We also gained a silver medal in one of the swimming relay races and one of the team, Duncan Scott, has won in these games a gold and three silvers and this is more medals won at a single Olympics[pics than any other British competitor. Finally, Charlotte Worthington won a gold medal in the BMX bike freestyle competition narrowly beating the American – what what was particularly noteworthy about this was the fact that Charlotte had to ‘crowd fund’ to help fund her passage to the Olympics. One has to make a comparison with rowing which has incredibly well funded but with scarcely any medals to show for it (although, to be fair, we seem to have secured an extraordinary number of 4th places – way above the average for other nations but still leaving us bereft of medals).

Meg and I had a very conversation rich morning this morning. For a start, we walked to the park and occupied our normal bench and in no time at all we we were joined by five of our park ‘regulars’ Part of the time we were discussing a Wikipedia entry I had run off for one of our acquaintances under the search term ‘economical with the truth’ – it was used prominently in the ‘Spycatcher‘ affair in which Margaret Thatcher had tried to stop publication and/or dissemination of the ‘Spycatcher‘ book in the UK and sent Robert Armstrong, the Cabinet Secretary, to the Supreme Court of New South Wales to, in effect, ‘lie’ for the government. Since then, it has passed into the political discourse and is seen whenever the government is trying to be evasive or does not want the whole truth of any particular situation to be revealed. Then on our way up the hill, we bumped into one of those ‘over the garden fence’ type conversations with a near neighbour. We had liaised quite a lot with each other when we had a joint interest in trying to preserve a small wood (by the side of our house) which was eventually chopped down to make room for a 18-house development which has taken place next to us. After chatting about plants and dogs, we carried on our way and met with the lady who lives just around the corner and who is a manager in one of the local supermarkets. We chatted with her and her partner about the price and availability of housing in the area because the minute a house is built or put on the market. As a case in point a four bedroomed house has just been out on the market for 450k but despite the fact it had only been on the market for three days, there were already three people with their own houses sold and money in their hands forming a queue in order to buy it. We were interested initially ill this property because Meg and I had always considered our present house to be our second last house and we thought that in the fullness of time, we might downsize and get nearer to the town (but sill within the orbit of our friends) and make sure the house is perfectly adapted to our needs as we get older.

In the late afternoon, Meg and I engaged in some gentle gardening. Meg busied herself deadheading the Lavatera which is in full bloom immediately outside our kitchen window. I engaged myself getting rid of some of the weeds in Mog’s Den before they could do their worst.Weeds is a slight misnomer because it was actually old bits of nettle root which engaged my attention and so I ensured that I had on a pair of really thick rubber gloves before they got pulled. I have also some ‘spare’ gardening tools which I keep in Mog’s Den (a spade and a couple of long handled hoes which get ‘hung’ by well-placed hooks previously inserted in an old ash tree which is now covered in ivy which serves to hide the tools from public view) These needed a bit of renovation so I set to work with a wire brush, some Brillo pads and a scourer restore them to a decent condition.