Tuesday, 3rd August, 2021

[Day 505]

Today was the day when our son and daughter-in-law were flying off to Jersey on holiday. Yesterday was evidently spent in packing up and they left by taxi at 7.30 this morning. It is always reassuring when we receive a text from them to say that they have landed safely and got to the hotel which is their favourite holiday haunt. They did communicate the news, though, that the airports seemed particularly quiet so presumably ‘stress points’ such as getting through security is so much easier when there are fewer people around. We eventually got ourselves organised and set off for our daily walk but we knew that timings were always going to be a little tight as Tuesday is my ‘Pilates’ day. On our way down the morning, we ran across some of our oldest friends who are off on holiday to Ireland for a fortnight so we must get used to not seeing them for quite a while. As time was tight, we went up to our normal park bench but decided to pick up our newspapers later on in the day so that we could save a little bit of time. On our way back, we saw a lady who is the neighbour of our friends and we have often had brief snatches of conversation with her but never any conversations in depth. She has quite recently lost her husband who had been ill for quite some time and we often wondered if the opportunity arose, then we would invite her round for a cup of tea (or something stronger) in our garden if the weather is fine for next week. As she is a French lady who was a teacher of French in one of the local schools and Meg had lived some of her early adolescent years just outside Paris, then I am sure we will have quite a lot to chat about once we get to seize the opportunity to get to know each other a bit better. I remember telling her the story of the (female) French Minister for Culture ( think) who had somehow acquired a cat. This cat seemed a rather truculent character who was constantly mewling wanting to be put you. Once put outside, though, the cat seemed to adopt a truculent and obstreperous attitude and seemed to want to get back inside again. The big problem was what the cat should be called (it appeared nameless when given to the French minister) Anyway, the most appropriate name for the cat was quickly chosen given its behaviour and characters – namely ‘Brexit‘!)

After we got home, I had a quick 5-minute turnaround before I walked down to into town for my weekly ‘Pilates’ session. There were only three of us regulars today but I felt I had a fairly good workout considering that I have been nursing a sore back for the past few days. This was acquired in the most unfortunate of little incidents – I had been undertaking my little 5-minute routine of stretches that I normally perform first thing in the morning when I sneezed hard in the middle of a stretch and gave myself a right ‘jerk’ at just the wrong moment. Fortunately, it is settling down now after a day or so and I discovered (as my Pilates teacher confirmed) that a regime of walking is pretty good for helping a sore back to repair itself (and a prolonged period of sitting is actually quite bad for it).

After lunch, I made a little trip out by car as there were some errands that needed it. The first was a trip to the garage in order to pick up a gallon of prime petrol which I need for the lawnmower. It only takes two gallons a year and so is incredibly economical but I do now know that in order to guarantee yourself some ethylene free (and trouble free) lawn mowing, it is a good idea to get the most expensive petrol on offer and to overcome the ethylene problem by adding a special petrol stabiliser to it. Anyway, that will see me all right until the end of the season. The next job along was to call in at Asda to collect another three bags of blue slate chippings to provide some finishing touches to Mog’s Den. Normally, I ask for some lusty young men to help me get these into the car but in view of the absence of the same, I made do by a high loading trolley and then a quick heave into the back of the car (without, I think, doing further damage to the old back). Then it was on to the newsagent to pick our our newspapers (much later in the day than normal) The minute I got back we FaceTimed some of our ex-Waitrose friends as we normally do each Tuesday evening and we made some tentative plans for a face-to-face meeting for tea and cakes in the forthcoming week if the weather is still set fair.