Wednesday, 3rd June, 2020

[Day 79]

Well, I always knew that today might be quite a full day and so it proved. Knowing that I had an Iceland delivery slot for groceries sometime between 6.00-8.00 am, I actually got up and going at 5.00 to be in plenty of time for the delivery – the order actually arrived at about 6.40 and everything was as it should be so that was quickly unpacked and then put away. I then walked down into Bromsgrove and actuated my new ‘newspaper buying’ slot which I started on Monday. I make sure that nobody is inside the shop and today I got in, selected my newspapers and got out again all within 30 seconds. I then thought I would hunt for potatoes which I had tried, unsuccessfully to add to my Iceland order yesterday but the little veg store I thought might be open was closed and the local Iceland store did not open until 9.00 am. So I decided to try my old haunt of Waitrose – I might state, at this point, that I have a particular relationship with the staff in Waitrose as I was actually the second customer through the doors when it opened on my birthday more than two years ago. The staff greeted me like the prodigal son which I suppose I was, in a way, and we had to give each virtual hugs from a distance of two metres away. Anyway, I got my bag of potatoes and shot off, but not before ascertaining that as they opened at 8.00 each morning, then after a little early morning rush their quietest time was about 9.00 am so if I run out of anything, I can make a quick dash into the store in future, not least to get my supplies replenished of unicorn hoof oil essence which I know (!) they stock.

Today, was the day when our incredibly ‘handy man’ who I shall call Len (not his real name, I might add) were going to erect a handrail down the precipitate slope down into Mog’s Den. I had got this job planned out in my mind as I had acquired some half-round fencing poles (round poles, split in half longitudinally and hence one curved surface and one flat surface) I had also acquired a couple of years earlier a fence boring auger which is like a huge gimlet or corkscrew and I know this would be excellent for boring some quite deep holes of just the right diameter. Then, if all works well, all you need to do is to insert the fencing pole (with a spike put on the end with a saw) and then hammer into the ground with a hefty sledge-hammer. When processing the first of our holes, all seemed to be going well until we encountered some sort of obstacle and the auger would not progress any further – on further investigation, Len felt into the hole and we discovered that at the exact spot upon which we were sinking the first hole, we would have to encounter a lump of metal which turned out to be a scaffolding shackle. The rest of the job proceeded satisfactorily and we were both pleased with the overall result which has a sort of naturalistic feel to it as befits the descent into a woodland garden. However, as it was raining (smattering) most of the morning, I was starting to feel the effects of standing around on a cold rainy day. There are some timbers left over so I may use them to provide a type of capping rail as a whole – hence, I was hunting around in the garage of drills, drill bits, chucks, chargers and the like.

There are warnings tonight that we need to prepare for a second and possibly a third more subsequent waves of the coronavirus to which most of the population has not actually been exposed and to which we are certainly not immune. Also, at 50,000 deaths the UK has the highest death rate in Europe. We await the result of the official enquiry in what has undoubtedly gone wrong in the UK, although the main lines of explanation are already clear (e.g. critical failure to respond with alacrity in the first few weeks of the pandemic as even starting the lockdown a week earlier might have saved about 8,000 lives)