Friday, 20th May, 2022

[Day 795]

The day dawned somewhat gloomy and I imagined that it would be raining on and off most of the day and this would alter what I intended to do. In the event, I popped down into town to collect my newspaper and by the time I got home, it was raining on and off to make life a little miserable. We decided to go into town by car, neglecting our walk, and decided to treat ourselves to a coffee in Waitrose. When we got there, we were delighted to see two of our pre-pandemic friends in there that we have not seen for well over two years. The husband of the pair has memory problems and of course, things have not got better over the past two years. Nonetheless, we had quite a lot of ‘catching up’ to get on with and I was amazed how well the wife who is 88 was caring for her husband despite having her own health issues to cope with. They tend to visit the cafe on Fridays, as indeed they did in the pre-pandemic days, so we will probably get in the habit of making a trip to Waitrose every Friday from now own to rekindle a friendship. Then we popped home and we organised a fairly early lunch of smoked haddock risotto to see if it would be possible to get a lawn mowing done. At the start of the day, I had written off all mowing until tomorrow but I knew from my weather app that we ought to have a window of opportunity open to us between 12.00 and 4.00pm. The gods must have smiled upon us because we did have a window where the rain held off and it was real bonus to get our lawns cut today as earlier in the morning, I thought it was pretty certain that we would be rained off. After our post-mowing cup of tea, I thought I would make a start on the hand weeding of the semi-circular gravel bed that occupies a position in the front of our hopuse. Just as yesterday, the weeds were not particularly easy to remove as it was a case of finding the tap root and ensuring that the weeds got taken out root and all – which actually sounds easier to say than it is actually to do. Nonetheless, I managed to get about two thirds of this big gravel bed weeded and, in turn, they will get a good dose of PathClear once the weeds have been removed and the weather is propitious. All being well if the weather is fine, I can finish this off tomorrow.

There is a certain degree of astonishment from both of Boris Johnon’s supporters and detractors, that the Metropolitan police have concluded their enquiries into the Downing Street ‘partygate’ with a sum total of 126 VPN (Fixed Penalty Notices) issues but no further fines for Boris Johnson or any other politicians. Altogether, twelve officers worked on the investigation full-time and others were brought in when required. They investigated events on 12 days but only ended up fining people for eight of those days. There is a certain of jaw-dropping at the fact that Boris Johnson was not fined again and that those who received the fines seemed to be fairly junior staff who were presumably told by their superiors that an ‘event’ was to be held and the Prime Minister might be in attendance. One line of thought is that that inadvertently, the Met may have helped Boris Johnson because as their investigations proceeded, the whole issue ‘cooled’ and dropped out of the public gaze whilst other events (the war in the Ukraine) intervened to save Boris Johnson’s skin. This gives a further twist to the cartoonist’s view of Boris Johnson as a ‘greasy albino piglet’ who can successfully evade/escape any attempt to capture him. We are now waiting the full publication of the Sue Gray report which is expected some time next week. Although some who seen an initial draft claim that the language is ‘stomach-churning’ the report is probably written as other official documents tend to be which is a factual statement of what happened and when and whether the finger will be pointed at any of the senior Downing street staff or their political masters remains to be seen.

I am trying an experiment to germinate some parsnip seeds. A selection has been put into neat rows on kitchen paper and then kept moist (with an occasional spray of water) for as long as it takes. The trouble is that parsnips are easy to grow but quite difficult to germinate but when/if I get them going, I am then going to keep them going in a system which I have devised (toilet rolls filled with compost) This way, ought to keep the roots long and straight and they can be planted out in their toilet roll holders without needing to be thinned, the toilet rolls should rot away into the soil and we should be left with some lovely long parsnip roots in the autumn. We shall see.