Monday, 30th August, 2021

[Day 532]

Today was a Bank Holiday – and true to form, it was a dull and uninspiring kind of day. In fact the temperature seemed to have drifted a degree or two cooler but, undeterred, Meg and I made our way to the paper shop to pick up our daily ration. Tomorrow, I am going to inform my newspaper supplier that I have formally ended ny subscription to the Guardian Meg and I occupied out normal bench and marvelled, yet again, at our 86-year old who regularly works 7-8 kilometres a day on his daily rounds. Although he has a little rest when he sees us, he does not tarry for long as he reckons his muscles might seize up unless he keeps himself going. He has a special app which ‘pretends’ that he is navigating a world famous trail somewhere else in the world and, no doubt, this adds to his motivation. We popped into Waitrose and picked up one or two things of which were were running short, including some green veg, so then we struck off home and finished off the beef for yesterday.

After lunch, we had a bit of a household drama with which to deal. We noticed that our downstairs toilet seemed to be draining a little slowly – more critically, when it was first flushed it looked as though it was not far from overflowing. I was keeping a careful eye on it and if it was evidently getting better, then whatever blockage there was might cure itself. My son did a quick inspection of some of the outside manhole covers and discovered nothing amiss so we decided that the fault must lie in the toilet unit itself. We consulted our ‘household’ file ( which is several inches thick) to find the name of the firm we might have used some 5-10 years ago when we thought we had a blockage and it turned out to be blockage in a feeder drain (it could have been a nappy or something else in the system) We decided that it was a bad idea to call anybody on a Bank Holiday so we decided to tackle the problem ourselves insofar as we could. I have a ‘mighty plunger’ which I call into service on occasions like this but it seemed to have no effect on the problem. Much against my better advice and instincts, my son decided to tackle the problem himself by inserting his arm as far through the system as he could. At first he located some wedges of toilet paper and then, to our mutual delight, discovered the obstruction. It turned out to be one of those plastic toilet rim disinfectant units – and this happened to be a particularly awkward size as it was one of those that appeared to be five little circular units in line with each other. Once we had located this and extricated this, the source of the problem was clearly identified and cured. We were left to imagine what a professional firm of drain unblockers might have charged had we actually needed to engage their services. Anyway, I told my son and daughter-in-law I would reward thereby paying for a ‘home delivered’ meal the next time they decide to have one. In the meanwhile, although we still have a replacement toilet rim unblocker in place, I have attached it to a large and cumbersome weight such that this problem could never reoccur. I must say that in my years of being a householder, I have never experienced a problem like this ever before and, of course, one always resolves that a similar problem will never reoccur in the future.

This afternoon, I decided that my little patch of beetroot was never actually going to come to fruition. Although in my little beetroot patch, the seeds had germinated within a few days, the resulting plants were very weak and spindly and were in danger of being overwhelmed by weeds. I am not sure whether the soil underneath trees) is basically a little sour and denuded or whether the beetroot seed had deteriorated with age. So I decided to call it a day and basically dug over the whole patch – as it was only about two yards by one yard, this did not take long. The last time I was in Wilko in Droitwich I had bought a box of lime so I used some handfuls of this to ‘sweeten’ the soil before I try some new re-plantings. Tomorrow, we hope to be on a more even keel as we will have got the Bank Holiday over and done with – on my way back from Pilates, I will see if Asda are selling some begonias or other colourful plants towards the end of the season and put them in the plot to brighten it up a bit during the autumn months.