Tuesday, 26th May, 2020

[Day 71]

As you might expect, this was a much quieter day after the Bank Holiday yesterday – quite unusually, we saw none of our usual friends to chat with on the way to the park but we were graced by the sight of our resident (club-footed) heron. The ducks seemed unusually prolific this morning but we suspect that they had been fed some chunks of bread, which is not good for them as it fills them up without giving them many of the nutrients that they might need. A few nights ago, our garden was graced by a hedgehog (observed in the middle of the night when one of our PIR lights was activated) and we know that there are masses of corners full of dead leaves and the like, which they will enjoy. The more the merrier, I say, if they constantly feed on the slugs that play havoc with several of our plants.

Our local authority, for reasons best known to itself, has started a policy of only mowing the central grassy strip that runs along the length of Kidderminster Road to a width of one metre (something to do with the fact that only one man can mow at a time but it sounds a fishy story to me) There is a bonus in that the un-mown areas are starting to sprout some wild meadow flowers. There seems to be an invasion of what at first sight might look a dandelion but is actually a dandelion-type wildflower known as ‘Cat’s ears‘ Tomorrow, I will gather a specimen and see if I can more definitively identify it but comparing it with images on the web. There is also a proliferation of poppies at the moment and I am keeping my eye on a whole series of poppy heads in a vacant house so that I can liberate them for future supplies of poppy seed.

More gardening this afternoon whilst the weather was fine. As opposed to construction work, this was just ‘routine’ gardening which involved clearing away about a year’s worth of fallen holly leaves from Mog’s Den. I decide to enlist the help of a huge plastic shovel which I purchased some time ago to shift snow (but actually looks like one of those huge things that you see stable workers muck out horses with – it might even be called a stable shovel). But in truth, I was just waiting to see what the latest briefing from Downing St. had to make of the Cumming’s affair.

Throughout the day, more and more Tory MP’s were withdrawing support from Cummings and one Scottish junior minister has resigned. Matt Hancock took the press briefing which was almost farcical as it was cut from 60 minutes to 30 and half of this time were the ritual presentations of graphs and statistics. Practically every question was on the Comming’s affair and Hancock allowed no supplementary questions. He half promised the first questionner (a vicar from Brighton) that he and his Treasury colleagues would examine the case for rescinding the fines of all of those who could plead a ‘special case’ à la Cummings – but having made up policy on the hoof, as it were, Downing Street went on to deny that there was going to be a change in policy. This really is like watching a car crash in slow motion but the interesting question remains that half of the cabinet have lined up to support Cummings whilst the other half wants to see him sacked! Michael Gove even suggested that he himself had driven to test his own eye-sight! If the situation persists, whereby every briefing from Downing Street is asked no questions about the pandemic but concentrates on Cummings with more and more influential Tories withdrawing their support, then Cummings looks doomed (and perhaps Boris Johnson doesn’t come out of it at all well either)