Friday, 5th June, 2020

[Day 81]

Every day has a slightly different flavour despite the lockdown and so it proved today. I had left Meg in the park to contemplate her surroundings whilst I went to pick up my daily ration of newspapers. After leaving Meg, I encountered an elderly lady I recognised as having attended our local church way back in the past. She seemed to be coping reasonably well with the lockdown but was feeling a little isolated e.g. some days she had no conversation with anybody at all. So I pointed out Meg to her on a distant park bench so they could meet up and have a good natter, which they undoubtedly did whilst I went on my way and joined them later. It might well be that another member of the congregation who often sits and chats with us may well come along tomorrow so we form a little gaggle (or is it a ‘conspiracy’?) of Catholics together. We had to endure a shower and at one stage took shelter underneath a nearby willow tree and later on the park’s bandstand (which is open on all sides but at least keeps the rain off you) As we were walking back, the sun burst forth and we chatted with one of our friends on the journey back up the hill. Today was a day in which I decided I would make a curry which I accordingly did (a tradition from our student days) and our domestic help was more than happy to help us demolish it (as were we to devour her rhubarb and ginger cake which was absolutely superb)

After lunch, I decided to see how easy it would be to install the capping timber on my newly installed handrail. This involved chopping off a triangular section from the top of each of the supporting posts so that they all pointed down the diagonal slope. What I thought was going to be tremendously difficult turned out to be relatively easy although I was obliged to make a whole series of little adjustments to make everything line up properly. Now for the screwing down process which I suspected might be tricky as my screws had to be quite long ones (2.75″ or 7 cm in length) and therefore quite deep guide holes were required. But all went quite well, overcoming the’normal’ crop of misfortunes that might befall one who is not a regular driller or user of woodworking tools e.g. a broken drill on one occasion or the drill leaving the chuck and getting stuck in the hole on another. However, I used the trick that I often used on similar occasions which is to use a somewhat shorter and thinner screw to make the guide hole and then finish off with the longer and wider screw for the final job. However, everything was nice and stable when I had finished and it looked good as well. I took the advice of our painters and decorators just before they completed their own work and got their recommendation as to which make and shade of wood preservative to apply and then I duly ordered the same from the web (Sandolin Classic Light Oak which I was assured would let the natural grain of the wood shine through) I finally finished things off with a wooden ornamental owl that I just happened to have bought as a folly some months ago but as it happens a perfect emblem to affix to the start of the handrail. Tomorrow, I resolve to go through the collection of garden tools I have got into the habit of storing in buckets under the eaves and rationalising the contents of them so that the outside of the house looks a little less cluttered. Some of them can always be located down into ‘Mog’s Den‘ and some of them relocated into less evident locations.

The shocking COVID-19 statistics for today are (i) total cases now to exceed 40,000 but this figure does not take into the ‘more than expected’ deaths figures so the actual amount of deaths caused both, directly and indirectly, may well exceed 60,000. Also (ii) the death totals yesterday in the UK at 359 exceeded the death toll of 330 from all 27 European nation-states.