Tuesday, 2nd June, 2020

[Day 78]

Today, we were going to alter our routine just a little to see how it goes. But first, of course, we have to make sure that the decorators are settled and well supplied with coffee before their work starts. I think that all of us (and particularly the decorators) will welcome the slighter cooler air that is promised for us and the possibility of a refreshing shower tomorrow at some time. We occupied our normal park bench and then I left Meg to contemplate the pond (and chat with other young mothers and their children) whilst I made haste to get our daily ration of newspapers and back to the park bench which round trip took me all of 10 minutes. As we have a plethora of plastic bags left behind from several grocery deliveries, I think I will transport the newspapers home in one of them and immediately discard it once I get it home. Then I had a slightly frustrating experience traying to amend my Iceland order, due for delivery tomorrow between 6.00-8.00pm. I realised that we had just run out of potatoes but the Iceland website would amend my order and then come up with a problem when I tried to pay for the extra. A customer services number was of no use because the recorded message said they were so overwhelmed with queries that they could not cope. Eventually, I texted my domestic help pleading that she brings some spuds with her when next we see her.

This afternoon was the first date upon which I could actually get some vegetable seed sown. Last year, when I laid down the slate path on ‘Mog’s Den‘ I had purchased several of what are technically window planters and they form a line alongside the path so that I can sow and harvest the veg more easily. Luckily, I had some beet seed in stock which was not out-of-date so I used an old gardener’s trick which was to scarify (i.e. scrub the seed with sandpaper) to remove some of the hard husks and then soaked it in water overnight. I sieved some compost and laid down about a two-inch layer in the planters which I then made flat and even using a half-brick (a longitudinal half brick which I had discovered in the garden) which is excellent for tamping. Then using a piece of bamboo cane, I made a couple of pencil-like indentations before planting the seed at 1-inch intervals. Finally. I finished off with sieving (yes, an actual old metal kitchen sieve I had in my vegetable garden tools section) of compost to provide the lightest of layers over the seed before it had a final tamping and watering. If all of my efforts are successful, I would hope to see some germination within 3-4 days and then I must remember to sow at fortnightly intervals. If all goes to plan, I can use the young beet leaves as a salad, pull young small beetroots and bottle them in vinegar and let the more mature plants grow on to their full size. We shall see!

It seems as though the government is eventually being caught out. I read somewhere that less than 50% of the population actually believe the guff which passes for information at the daily Downing Street briefings and the general public prefer to believe the scientists (when they are allowed to speak) and not the politicians. I quote from an ITV news report below:

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been rebuked by the UK’s statistics watchdog over coronavirus testing figures which are “still far from complete and comprehensible”. UK Statistics Authority chairman Sir David Norgrove said “it is not surprising that given their inadequacy data on testing are so widely criticised and often mistrusted”.

He criticised the way the figures are presented at the daily Downing Street briefings, with the headline total including both tests carried out and those which have been posted to recipients but not yet conducted.