Wednesday, 22nd April 2020

[Day 37]

This was quite a liberating day for us today for reasons that I will explain. We had our customary walk in the park on a beautiful spring day and held chats with some of our friends, both in the park itself and on the way back from the park along Kidderminster Rd. As it has been over seven weeks since we had occasion to go out in the car, we realised that we had better go out and give the car a spin, not least to ensure that the battery doesn’t go flat. Bromsgrove is connected to the neighbouring town of Redditch via a fairly fast and uncluttered dual carriageway so we progressed as far as we could until we met the roundabout outside Redditch town and came back at quite a speed – solely for the health of the battery, you understand. On the outskirts of Bromsgrove, we decided to come back a slightly different way and on the spur of the moment decided to call in on of our closest friends, whom we generally see once per week. Although we interrupted her exercise routine, we were delighted to see each other and had a good old natter, exchanging information about relatives and friends. This was so enjoyable that we think we will repeat this once a week, for now on. Incidentally, the Chief Medical Officer intimated today in the press conference from No. 10 something that he could say that no politician dare say- that the lockdown is likely to last until the end of this calendar year (a further eight months) and could even last for a whole calendar year which would be twelve months. The reasoning appeared to be that we would have wait until a vaccine had proved its effectiveness and could be manufactured at scale. Some interesting news emanating from the World Health Organisation is that the proportion of people displaying antibodies post-COVID is actually pretty low. I quote:

There is no evidence that people who have recovered from coronavirus have immunity to the disease, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said…The UK government has bought 3.5 million serology tests – which measure levels of antibodies in blood plasma….But senior WHO epidemiologists have warned that there is no proof that such antibody tests can show if someone who has been infected with COVID-19 cannot be infected again

So bang goes the theory of herd immunity which at least was the initial stance of the government, which they quickly had to abandon.

After lunch, I got to work clearing a triangular plant bed that had been colonised by comfrey. (Needless to say, my work was closely supervised by Miggles, the cat that seems to have adopted us. She sprawled over the ground and evidently enjoyed the sunshine - for some reason, she always locates herelf a couple of feet away from where I am working). Some people quite enjoy the plant of comfrey whilst others regard it as a weed. It is said that once you have it in a plot, you never get rid of it, largely because the roots go so deep and it took a spade to remove them. Actually, some people make this plant into a tea or a tisane whilst some old-fashioned gardeners insist it is excellent manure, not least because the deep roots bring so many minerals into play from the deepest regions of soil. The medieval herbalists used to call this plant ‘knitbone’ and used it in a sort of poultice to treat fractures and similar broken limbs. After consultation with the daughter-in-law, we have decided to try out a selection of dahlias that we had in stock. We also have a seed tray full of theoretically out of date annuals seeds so we thought we would get some going tomorrow and see what comes up. I remember that the author of a gardening book I used to have (Frances Stevenson) always used to say that you could sow any seed in May and it would be guaranteed to jump out of the ground. In the meanwhile, our fruit trees (plum, apple) seem to have the requisite amount of blossom for a good harvest later on in the year but we will have to wait and see.