Thursday, 1st September, 2022

[Day 899]

When I woke up this morning, I knew that I had to make an early start to get our weekly shopping done – and then realised, with a sort of sickening thud, that I had neglected to put our wheelie bins at the end of the drive ready for collection by the bin men. As we are a private road, I have to drag the bins about 150 yards along our access road to the end of the drive and, if you forget, this means a wait of a fortnight until that bin can be emptied again or an actual visit to the tip some 5-6 miles distant. Anyway, I got the bins there in time and so was mightily relieved. I then shot off to my shopping after accessing some cash from a nearby ATM and did a fairly full week’s shopping. This all worked out fine and I only forgot one item for my sins. Then it was a case of a slow unpacking after which I prepared our elevenses for the park. It was a beautiful day, albeit a trifle windy, so Meg and I decided that we would walk to the park today and not take to the car at all. We chatted to no-one in particular and therefore got home fairly quickly. Our daughter-in-law had made the very generous offer to come around to our house today and cut the tall growing hedge which surrounds our BioDisc (mini sewage treatment facility) with a pair of electric hedge clippers. Whilst we were outside the house, we had a jolly time with our next door neighbour who works at the big garden centre down the road and they are now reducing the prices of all of their plants by 20%. I suppose children will go back to school next Monday, summer holidays are over for many and perhaps people are turning to thoughts other than gardening. Then we all engaged in tidying up all of the hedge clippings and clippings from other shrubs that had received a haircut. As is typically the case in such circumsstances, it is not the actual clipping but the clearing away of the clippings that takes the time. I realise that the lawn has not received attention for a week or so and although the main body of the grass is still somewhat yellow, there is quite a lot of tidying up for a mower to perform around the edges. I need, though, to go and get a gallon of petrol for the lawnmover – it only takes two gallons a year but I generally buy high quality petrol to avoid the problem of the ethanol with which they bulk out petrol these days absorbing water vapour and causing mower problems. But as it was the height of rush hour, I decided to wait until tomorrow when Meg and I get the petrol whilst we have the car out to go to the park.

The Chancellor of the Excheqeur, Mr Zahawi, promised there would be additional help for struggling families. However, he stuck to the Downing Street line that it will be up to the new prime minister – due to be named on Monday – to decide what shape it takes. The chancellor’s comments come as the Resolution Foundation warns British households are on course for the deepest living standards squeeze in a century, with real household disposable incomes expected to fall by 10% this year and next. The trouble is that none of the present holders of a ministerial office may still be in post next Tuesday, after Liz Truss is confirmed as Prime Mnister next Monday. So there has been a period of complete government paralysis whilst the election campaign has rumbled on through the summer. Incidentally, I hear a ‘vox pop’ with a member of the Tory party in a leafy constituency somewhere in the south of England. When the interviewer pointed out that the next Prime Minister of the country was going to be selected on the basis of conservative constituency members, the lady replied, with no apparent sense of irony, that the next Prime Minister was going to be chosen by the ‘best’ people in the country! Meg and I are looking forward to tomorrow when we do not have to get up early for any pressing reason so we can allow ourselves the luxury of a little lie-in. We have not seen our normal gaggle of friends in the park over the last few days, so we are looking forward to more social intercourse tomorrow. According to the ‘auction’ of energy contracts last month, it now appears that the cost of generating elecrity from windpower is now one quarter of the price of the gas equivent – I did her on the radio a university academic arguing that the ratio is now one seventh (which I have not been able to verify) But I have to ask myself why the price of all energy is so high (and increasing) at the moment?