Wednesday, 4th August, 2021

[Day 506]

Today was one of those beautiful days – almost spring-like with some bright, sunny weather but not too hot and with no prospect of rain until a lot later in the day. We walked straight to the newspaper shop to pick up our newspapers but ‘The Guardian‘ was missing so we needed to pop into Waitrose to pick up a copy. At the same time, we picked up a carton of ice-cream which we seem to be constantly running out of these days. And so we made our way to the park having a chat with one of our park regulars en route. Then it was coffee and biscuits as normal but we didn’t meet with any of our other regulars as they are either on holiday (or preparing for them). Whilst on the subject of holidays, Meg and I hope to be able to get to Rome on a pre-booked holiday in late September. I still think the chances are only about 50:50 but if the Rome holiday falls down, we thought to we would develop a plan B. Of all of the picturesque locations through England and Wales, we have never actually been to the Brecon Beacons in mid-to-south Wales. So I did a quick internet search and was pretty impressed by the publicity put out by the Brecon Beacons National Park. If the Rome trip does fall over, we thought we would try the Brecon Beacons for about 5 nights or so. We would probably make Brecon or Abergavenny our base and then sight-see from there. In addition, it is only just over 70 odd miles from Bromsgrove and quite accessible via the M5 and M50 so relatively reachable. If the weather is poor rather than good, we may even improve our chances of getting a last booking in one of the local hotels.

This afternoon, being a fine afternoon and as I was well supplied with petrol for the lawnmower, I had allocated this afternoon as a lawn mowing day. This worked out fine and as the sky was getting slightly overcast, paradoxically this helps with my mowing as it becomes easier to discern the last ‘track’ of the wheels and therefore one starts in the correct position for the next row of the cutting. After I finished the mowing, the sky clouded over a little and we got a few minute spots of rain so I started straight away on the second little job of the day. This was to take the three 40kg bags of blue slate chipping and get them over into their ultimate position. I utilised an enormously useful little garden trug on wheels which belongs to my daughter-in-law but really comes into its own when you are transporting large (ie heavy) objects around the garden. So I got the three bags of slate humped down the steep steps which affords access to Mog’s Den and laid one of them in some of the bare areas that needed to be covered. This is much easier than it sounds because you just get the bag into position, cut it open, spill out the contents and then use a boot or a gloved hand to get the slate clippings the way you want them. After our tea, the rain started a long, constant drip and I was delighted as that is what the garden (or rather the plants) needs right now. Then, with a sickening ‘thud’, I realised that I had to wheel our two large grey wheelie bins into a position at the end of our road so that they can be collected early tomorrow morning. (As we live a road which is ‘private’ to us and we are responsible for its maintenance an so on, the refuse vehicles will not come down – and they might not be able to negotiate the 90º bend in any case) By the time I had taken one full and very heavy wheelie bin to the end of the road, I calculated that it was a distance of 120 yards – so by the time I made the journey there and back two times, I reckon I had covered 480 yards which is more than ¼ mile in the rain. Tomorrow we are going to treat ourselves to a little trip to Droitwich (incidentally, that is the town in which my mother was born but that is a long and complicated tale going back to 1911 which I will not go into now) We have two treats in store. The first of these is a trip to our favourite hardware store (‘Wilko‘) where we can stock up on cosmetics, kitcheny type things, stationary, gardening things, etc. Then we are going to have lunch in a kind of ‘Olde Worlde‘ type cafe in which they specialise in putting on a roast dinner with all of the trimmings once a week on a Thursday. So we have booked our slot for a beef dinner – the food is just simple, home prepared food with nothing fancy but served at an incredibly cheap price. The locals are always friendly and everyone chats with each other as well, which is a bonus!