Thursday, 12th May, 2022

[Day 787]

Thursday is my shopping day so I get up reasonably early so that I can get to the supermarket as it opens at 8.00am. Today, though, I left home five minutes early so that I could mak a flying visit to the Morrisons store which is adjacent practically to the Aldi store I use. I had had my eye upon some particularly nice large ceramic planters which were very reasonably priced. Fortunately, even at that hour, there was assistant bobbling about who took my payment in the gardening section attached to the store and then carried the planter to the car for me. I got it home by putting on a protective cloth I keep in the boot for occasions such as this and did my normal weekly shop up. This finishes off with me calling in at my regular newsagent as they are in the vicinity and thence home. After a slow unpack and a bite of breakfast, Meg and I were ready to wander down into the park. Once in the park, we did not expect to see any of our regular acquainatances but our Intrepid Octogenerial Hiker strode into view and we exchanged news of our various comings and goings. As he regularly does circuits of the park and has a special Apple watch with an app that records his steps, I asked him for some assistance with a little query that I have. As our friend regularly does a complete ‘circuit’, I asked him to measure it for me and he already knew the answer which was 1000 steps. We then needed to know how many feet he has in a typical step. To solve this problem was fairly easy because we measured the distance from where we were towards the end of a fairly adjacent bench which we measured both there and back and took an average.Then I did the same and I could compare my steps with those of our friend. The results were that my stride is three times the length of our friend (who is in his 80’s and takes quite small steps). From this we managed to compute that the distance round the lake is 1000 x.2ft andd the net result of all of this is that the distance around the lake is something of the order of 600m. Estimating by eye,I thought the distance was near to 100m (1 km) so I may have to do a special walk to solve this particular problem to my own satisfaction. Incidentally, is it a ‘man’ thing, this constant desire to measure and record things? I think I will leave this topic for now.

After a lunch of quiche and a bit of a doze, I was ready to start on my afternoon’s project which is to get some of the beetroot and lettuce plants that we purchased yesterday to get planted out. The section that I have marked out under some of our bordering trees used to be devoted to my daughter-in-laws superb dahlia growing but the land has ceded back to me and hence my planting regime. I had ‘rough’ dug the area some weeks ago and then limed it well, as it probably not been limed for years if ever at all. It was then a very simple task to make the soil into a friable condition by a simple raking, assisted of course with a good trampling underfoot under some heavy gardening boots. I know that I had near our compost heap in the far regions of the garden some pelleted chicken manure and I put some of this into an empty tall sauce jar which makes an excellent way to distribute the fertiliser evenly. I then made some drills and fortunately rescued from Mog’s Den a short offcut of timber with a 2″ x 2″ square cross section. This proved to be an excellent way of creating some planying holes which almost exactly match the cross section of the plastic cells in which the newly purchased plants were sold. The upshot of all of this was that I planted out 2 x. 2 rows of beet plants which I hope will now grow away quickly as there is no thinning to do. Beet plants have the added bonus that you can eat the tender young red/green leaves in a salad as well as cooking the roots which are always delicious if home grown ( and even more if baked which I will try if I achieve some success) I finished off with a row of lettuce plants which I think are of the ‘Lollo Rosso’ (i.e. red-leaved) variety. Finally, I doused each of my plants with a special anti-slug solutuon which is ecologically sound and works to a completely differemt formula to the conventional slug pellets. A ban on the outdoor use of metaldehyde slug pellets is to be introduced across Great Britain from spring 2022.

Downing Street has been issued with 50 more fines which brings the total to 100+. The latest fines relate to a Christmas party which we know that Boris Johnson did not attend but there is always the possibility that he will be fined when news of further tranches of the fines is realised by the Metropolitan police as their investigations proceed.