Sunday, 24th April, 2022

[Day 769]

The run of fine weather is continuing with only a slightly cold wind to spoil a stroll in the sunshine. In fact, the gardens are feeling as though they could do with a good soaking of rain but I suspect that we shall have to wait several more days for that. I got up early to collect our newspaper and then back in time to see the Sunday Morning (politics) programme which was reasonably interesting but with no real revelations or noteworthy things. After that, Meg and I spent some time choosing what outfit she was going to wear today. We chose a skirt which we think she has not worn for at least a couple of years and, in fact, we couldn’t remember where we bought it. As the skirt is patterned we located a plainish top with a little motif that goes superbly well with the skirt – so much so, that it looks as though they could have been designed to go with each other. We might make a note of the fact that these two items of clothing go so well with each other but as skirts are stored in one place and tops in another, they evidently get separated when we come to put them away. When we were ready, we sauntered down to the park and were joined by an acquaintance we know who has a rather striking labrapoodle. I am not quite sure how we got onto this topic but eventually we got onto the subject of riding horses and he let slip that he had last ridden horses when he was visiting Venezuela and Cuba. I let him know that my horseriding experience was limited to 10 seconds or so. When I was about 9 years old, the village kids in the small village in Yorkshire in which I lived were stuck on the back of a horse which was an ex-racehorse and although black had been liberally dusted with flour to make it look a sort of grey so that the village kids could parade as Uncle Tom Cobley and all. But when the race horse heard the sound of the musical loudspeaker van, it remembered its time at the races and broke into a trot, whereupon all of the kids on its back promptly slid off. In the park, we were joined by our University of Birmingham friend where we had a good chat. Eventually, we were also joined by an old lady that we know quite well who lives on the edge of the park and whose husband used to work in the park as one of the maintenance men and has a bench located next to the lake with his name on it. The old lady has a dicky heart and was a bit breathless by the time she made it as far the bench so we readily gave her a seat so that she could get her breath back again. And so a journey home with the wind behind us on the way up the hill and a lunch of gammon.

After lunch and a good read of the Sunday newspaper, it was time to go out and do a spot more of snipping up the huge old clematis which has now detached itself from its support and our front wall and needs to be disposed of bit by bit. I am tackling this job by getting bits of plant, both alive and dead, which I am chopping up into reasonably sized chunks before they get disposed of in our brown ‘garden waste’ wheelie bin. This whole job is going to take several sessions to complete so I am trying to do it in about ¾ hour sessions. Whilst I was at it and had the clippers on my hand, I had a go at removing some straggly branches of our Elaeagnus shrub which was threatening to brush the car as we drive it round the bend in our drive.

In my reading of the Sunday Times today, there was a very long and detailed exposé of the ways in which the UK in particular has ‘sucked up’ to the Russians, allowing dirty money from the Russian oligarchs to flood the London housing market. In the context of the Ukraine conflict, apparently the Ukraine has repeatedly asked for help to defend itself any Russian incursion. The West in general and the UK in particular have taken the view that ‘we must not upset the Russians’ and, in any case, given the military might of Russia they would overwhelm the Ukraine in no time at all (which assumption has turned out to be false) Then we were meant to receive a detailed report of the ways in which there may have been illegitimate attempts by the Russians to influence the Brexit campaign and subsequent referendum. Of course, a lot of Russian money has found its way into the coffers of the Conservative party. The report into Russian activities was delayed for a long time,kicked into the long grass as they say and its potential impact systematically minimised. So this was a fascinating, but disturbing, set of revelations some of which we already knew anyway.