Wednesday, 30th March, 2022

[Day 744]

Today was going to be a day of self-imposed deadlines, as we shall see. There were two factors that governed today, the most important being trying to see if I could get a 36′ foot garden border dug over before the rains took over. But a second deadline, very much associated with Wednesdays, was that it was PMQ’s (Prime Minister’s Questions) at 12.00am today. So I popped down to get the daily newspaper and made a lightning visit to get some of the things I always seem to run out the day before I go shopping first thing on Thursday morning. Meg and I strolled down to the park where we chatted with some of the regulars (mainly dog walkers). One very persistent dog even insisted on dropping a ball at our feet, desperate for it to be thrown in order that it could be retrieved. When at first we didn’t comply, the dog brought the ball even nearer to us in case we hadn’t got the hint. Eventually, I succumbed and kicked it away to the dog’s evident delight. Meg and I managed to get home in time for the Boris Johnson show but I honestly wondered why I bothered. As the police had handed out at least 20 ‘Fixed Penalty Notices’ to Downing Street staff, subsequent to their evident ‘partifying’, then there appeared to be an open and shut case of Boris Johnson having lied to (or misled) the House of Commons when last December he had repeatedly denied any illegalities. But somehow the opposition and Keir Starmer never manage to land a particularly telling blow and with 70 MP’s behind him cheering his every utterance, one wonders whether Boris Johnson would be equally successful if he just stood up and answered ‘Blah! Blah! Blah!’ . Even when asked a direct question about his own venality, Boris Johnson does seem to have an ability to return to an ‘ad hominem’ (personal attack) to roars of approval from the benches behind him. It is at times ike these that I despair for the democratic process.

Having consulted the weather app on my iPhone, I know that there was a 30% chance of rain by 3.00pm so at about 1.45 I set about my digging task with a vengeance. What was to slow me down somewhat was the fact that I had to contend with several underground tree roots from the hawthorn and the field maple (‘acer campestre‘) so these had to be navigated with a degree of care, just turning over an inch or so of soil when the roots impeded. Needless to say, my work was well supervised by Miggles the cat who first climbed half way up a tree to impress me and then sat impassively at the start of the border just to check that I was doing a good job. I was planning to get finished by 3.00pm this afternoon but the smattering of rain arrived about 15 minutes too early and I had to rather hurry my last 20-30 spadefuls. Nonethess, I was very satisfied to have got the job finished and I am going to wait until we get a burst of late afternoon sunshine (which is not uncommon) to administer a dressing of lime to help to ‘sweeten’ the soil before I contemplate what to do with the border. The way I feel at the moment is that I will let the earth and lime settle a little and will then rake it to a fine tilth. Then I think it is a case of a row of leafbeet, a row of beetroot and a row of leeks, all of which should be quite easy to tend in the weeks ahead.

There is a report circulating this evening, albeit from an American political source with a commensurate ‘spin’ , that ‘ Putin’s military chiefs are too afraid to tell him the truth’. However, it is reported that the Russian leader feels he has been ‘misled’ about the country’s failures on the battlefield in Ukraine. According to the offiical, information on those losses and the impact of sanctions is not being fed to Mr Putin ‘because his senior advisors are too afraid to tell him the truth. We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions, because his senior advisors are too afraid to tell him the truth‘ the official said on condition of anonymity. Before we triumphically crow about the superiority of western liberal values, practically the same comments could have been made about ex-President Trump i.e. that none of the Republican Party would tell him to his face that he had substantially lost (rather than won) the presidential election. Perhaps, in bygone days in the USSR when there was a more collectivist rather than individualistic style of leadership, members of the PolitBureau might have been a restraining influence upon Putin. But once a leader in any political system acquires and weilds a tremendous amount of centralised power, it is almost inevitable that alternative and more cautious voices are not heard.