Monday, 27th June, 2022

[Day 833]

Today we knew that we needed to make a trip along Bromsgrove High Street because we knew that we had to visit an ATM and we also needed to visit a local stationers where I had an item on order. Having picked up our newspaper, we then treked along the High Street and picked up some cash. Then we picked up the blank ledger book I had pre-ordered from Rymans and also bought some cosmetic items of which we were running short. We took the opportunity to dive into a charity shop and I treated myself to a brand new long sheeved shirt of quite a subtle blue shade (and a very good make). I am finding that my supply of pre-Covid long sheeved shirts are now getting frayed around the collar and cuffs so I find I am needing to renew my supply. The we went off to the park and drank our much delayed coffee for which we were gasping by the time we were installed upon our bench. In the park, we met some of our regulars – Intrepid Octogenerian Hiker for a start and Seasond World Traveller just as we were leaving. In between, we also exchanged news with a couple we meet quite regularly in the park but we have only just around to exchanging names so that we can be on first name terms with them in the future. It was getting towards 2.00pm when we got home so we needed to make a super prompt lunch, which we did. I steamed some Hispi cabbge in the microwave and in order to save some time, we made some instant mashed potato with ‘Smash’ to which we added a smidgeon of boiling water, some butter and an egg.This actually makes for a very tasy mixture to complement the remains of the beef which we slow-cooked yesterday.

After lunch there were a couple of outside jobs which went quite smoothly. Th first of these was our outside washing line that had drooped over the years but when I investigated one end of it, it passed through a type of ‘O’ ring and then secured by a cleat. Fortunately, it proved to be very easy to adjust to the right height afer which the washing line was cleaned down and we got a supply of towels pegged out onto it. In my travels up an down to the paper shop there is a little patch of waste ground and I had noticed for some weeks past that there seemed to be a capping stone lying around with no evident owner. When I collected my Sunday newspapers, I liberated this and brought it home in a plastic bag but I must say it was tremendously heavy. I suspect on closer examination that it may have been made with vibrated granite but it was certainly not simple cement. This afternoon, I gave it up a good scrub in a bucket of soapy water and it is now several shades lighter and of quite presentable appearance. I have pressed it into service to act as a weight so that the green plastic table cover we have on our patio table does not take off in the wind and I think it will serve this purpose very well. I estimate that it must be about 3kg in weight so I am sure it is not going to displaced very easily.

In the late afernoon, I FaceTimed my sister in Yorkshire and was fortunate to have a few snatches of conversation with my niece who just happened to be calling upon her mother. My sister is taking the death of her husband quite hard and I offered what words of consolation I could. The purpose of my video-call was to see if we could establish the most suitable time in the next few weeks for us to pay a visit to Yorkshire, now that we have seen Meg’s Uncle Ken in North Wales. We have agreed a timeslot some time in late July which is a period of time after my niece has broken up from school and before she goes off on holiday to Portugal. There are a range of hotels that we can think sbout – we used to enjoy B&B’s in Harrogate but parking in Harrogate is a bit of a nightmare and so hotels do have the advantages of generally having some car parking space available.

Tonight news has come through of the shelling of a shopping centre in Kremenchuk, Ukraine. The shopping centre probably had about one thousand people within it and the dead and injured must be numbered in scores. Western analysts are saying that the Russians were probably using out-of-date artillery designed to combat ships rather than being ‘precision guided’ to a military target on land and these 1960’s artillery shells are notoriously unreliable. Nonetheless, one has to ask whether hitting a civilian shopping centre, even if aiming for the industrial centre beyond it, must surely constitute a war crime.