Thursday, 14th April, 2022

[Day 759]

Today was my normal ‘shopping’ day and I got to my local supermarket in plenty of time before it opened at 8.00am. I was a little surprised to see that quite a lot of people have evidently had the same idea as myself because although I was there a few minutes before the opening time, I was still about fifth in the queue. I spent some time looking at the garden requisites that they store outside the store and noted the code numbers for two different kinds of sowing compost which I intend to buy (one for myself, one for my daughter-in-law who was on the hunt for peat-free compost) Shopping was quite a painless affair and I was pleased to see that the store was still stocking some smoked hake which we bought a couple of weeks ago and found absolutely delicious. I mentioned the code numbers of the bags of peat to the assistant as the bill was being totalised and they just got added onto the end. So this made life easier as all I had to do was to pack the shopping inside the car and then collect my two bags of peat to sit on the top. Meg and I had a leisurely breakfast followed by the unpacking, during which time Meg was getting ready. Then we went off in the car to collect our copy of the newspaper and set off for the little town of Alcester which we intend to visit on a further occasion as we had a nice time there some weeks ago. It was some time after midday when we arrived so we decided to forego the customary coffee and teacakes but instead did the rounds of some of the local charity shops which are all of an excellent quality. Meg bought herself a pair of espadrilles (or something similar to that, as they had stout soles but a very pretty fabric ‘upper’ and we probably use these as slippers or ‘house shoes’). For my part, I got tempted to buy a pair of walking boots which were a very subtle tawny colour and looked both unusual and original. These can become my ‘main’ walking boots and some of my others can now be downgraded to the status of ‘gardening’ shoes as my existing gardening shoes I have had for several years and are practically dropping to bits. Then we made our way to the local hotel which we know offers special ‘deals’ midweek to ‘Senior Citizens’ but they were quite heavily booked already for lunchtime. We accepted the offer of a later lunchtime appointment and in the meanwhile availed ourselves of their very pleasant lounge whilst Meg drank a coffee and I treated myself to a low-alcohol beer. Eventually, an early slot was found for us as there had been some ‘no shows’ so by this stage, we were pleased to get ready to eat. Once we had our meals delivered, we were not disappointed, Meg having a prawn salad and I had a vegetable lasagne. These were both delicious and we treated ourselves to some homemade apple pie cake – unusual but equally delicious.

When we got home this afternoon, we had a customary cup of tea and then I started to do a little gardening job which is to mow the edges of the lawn and the ‘fiddly’ bits around the communal green area with my little hand mower. Whilst outdoors, we had a pleasant chat with our next door neighbour whose company we enjoy tremendously. We discussed the war in Ukraine amongst other things and generally put the world to rights. There is rarely anything to smile about in the Ukrainian conflict but a recently reported incident brought us some flickers of satisfaction. The flagship battle cruiser of the Russian Baltic fleet has been successfully attacked by the Ukrainians, starting a fire on board which resulted in all of the ammunition exploding. The ship had to be abandoned and was then towed back to port. This missle cruiser (the ‘Moskva‘) was not particularly state of the art and was quite ancient but it is is being reported that this may well be the biggest naval loss in conflict since the end of the Second World War.

Meanwhile, back on the domestic front, there is a scheme unveiled today by Priti Patel to take all single male asylum seekers who arrive in Britain across the channel and to resettle them in Rwanda, some 4,000 miles away. Whether this policy will work or not is an interesting question – other countries have tried a similar policies which have failed and the costs involved may be quite enormous. Of course, this may be a welcome distraction from ‘partygate’ and it is not unusual for the Tories to run an immigration scare story to distract attention from things happening at home. Rwanda has rather a poor human rights records so one wonders how many asylum seekers would fare.