Wednesday, 18th May, 2022

[Day 793]

Today was the day when we were meant to be going to Leamington Spa to have lunch with our De Montfort University (Leicester) colleagues but unfortunately this had to be postponed as the (very aged) mother of one of our colleagues had died so evidently funeral arrangements had to take priority. Our domestic help called around today rather than Friday and we are always pleased to see her and exchange news of families. One of her sons, training to be a jockey, had won his first race the other day so there were a lot of interesting photos to be shared. The weather was cloudy but fairly bright so Meg and I looked forward to a pleasant walk down into the park. We were speculating whether the park had got a little busier than was the case a year or so back and we surmised that people might have got used to using the park during the pandemic (lots of fresh air, exercise, ability to avoid others) and having got into the habit had changed their life style. So we walked back at a lesiurely pace and immediately got to work throwing together various bits and pieces into an impromptu salad. As she was a little late coming to us this morning, our domestic help was happy to help us consume the salad which she really enjoyed and polished off in no time at all. Our domestic help is thinking of getting her patio professionally cleaned so we found a local firm who happened to be only about a couple of miles or so from where they live so she was going to get a quote from them this afternoon. After lunch, I knew that I wanted to tackle the weeding on the other side of the communal roadway but as some of it is in almost perpetual shade, I knew that removal of the weeds (particularly of the creeping kind) was going to be more difficult. In the time limit I had set myself, I managed to get about three quarters of the whole length completed leaving a more difficult section to be finished off tomorrow. As it was ‘brown bin’ (gardening refuse) emptying day tomorrow, the bins have to be out at the end of the roadway this evening so I took the opportunity to remove some of the ubiquitous holly leaves which are littering up the side entrance to our property.

On the political front, it looks as some kind of ‘U’ turn may be on the cards. The government has consistently resisted the move to tax the anticipated profits of the big energy suppliers (oil companies) to help to supply some relief to ‘ordinary’ consumers. However, this is an evident source of revenue that costs the government nothing and even the oil companies are admitting that they did not have to ‘do anything’ except sit back and received the extra revenues from the higher prices. As all of the opposition and even some government backbenchers are calling for a one time levy, it will be interesting to see how, or if, the government effects a change in policy. At the moment, they are are repeating the mantra that ‘no measures are ruled out’ There is also some local political news with an interesting twist. In Staffordshire, some HS2 (High Speed 2) protestors have taken to tunnelling their way across part of the projected route. To counteract this, the contractors are using their own tunnellers, presumably to dig their own tunnels. Does this mean that we shall have underground battles between groups of tunnellers? And how does one group of tunnellers combat another? The imagination boggles.

Later on this evening, a heavy band of rain is due to sweep across the Midlands so I have had to ensure that some of the equipment left lying round on the lawn until it gets put back onto the newly restored patio tomorrow evening is basically waterproofed. Just out of interest, I managed to locate some photographs that we had taken of this property nearly 15 years when we moved in and, in particular, to look at the colour and condition of the patio as it was when we moved in. Now, we have a series of quite interesting colours and we can discern some five or six different colours that have been used in the patio construction. Having been cleaned, it looks pretty impressive (and even more so after a shower of rain). As it was, our domestic help thought that the whole of the old patio had been removed and replaced by a new one. So now, without being neurotic about things, I am taking measures to keep everything looking pristine. I think the crucial thing is a constant brushing with a soft bristled brush so that the surface is not damaged. I already have a leafblower which I am using more and more, even though I only get about 10 minutes or so out of the battery unit until a recharge is necessary.