Monday, 15th June, 2020

[Day 91]

We had quite a busy morning this morning what with one thing or another. Our local GP practice had called Meg in for a routine blood test but this entailed getting there 10 minutes early, taking along a cardboard box for one’s clothes (which in the event was not needed) and then queuing as only one patient could be allowed into the building at a time. However, whilst all of this was going on, I took the opportunity to pop along to the garage to get one gallon of high-grade petrol which is to be used in the mower for the rest of the season (I always try to get high-quality fuel to try to ensure it is as ethanol free as possible, as ethanol attracts water and can cause great problems in petrol mowers). This having been done, Meg and I then went by car to our local park for our elevenses and bumped into one of our old friends who was busy making a tour of the park with another friend so we didn’t stop for a chat on this occasion. Then, almost on the spur of the moment, we decided as we were in the car to make a flying visit to Asda to see if they still had supplies of forest bark available, As it happened they had and one of the supervisers we know well was organising operations on the outside so I loaded up my trolley with six bags for £20.00 and then got it paid for quite easily using an assistant at one of the automatic check-out desks to handle the transaction for me. Then we loaded up the back seat of the car (forest bark is quite easy to handle) and got it home so we now have copious supplies. We had a salad lunch after which I spent some time getting the supplies of forest bark in various locations throughout the garden (assisted, as usual, by Miggles the cat). I then need to shift a small aucuba shrub some distance from its present location where it was getting in the way of the footpath down into Mog’s Den. Needless to say, in preparing the planting hole for the aucuba I encountered the by now traditional large victorian brick just where I was digging the planting hole. it is no wonder that the London sewers have lasted for about a centry and a half when you consider how dense and well made these victorian bricks were – I suspect they must weight at least 50% more than a modern brick.

I then turned my attention to my horseshoe to see how effective the white vinegar had been in removing the layers of rust. I have to say ‘very effective’ and then I finished off the restoration process with a good old fashioned brillo pad. The result was a gleaming, evidently low carbon mild steel which positively gleamed and took on quite a silvery appearance. I applied a liberal dose of WD40 once it was thoroughly cleaned up to try and keep it pristine. The next problem, so I have discovered, is whether to affix it, as some way, in such a way that the ends point up, so that the horseshoe catches the luck, and that the ends pointing down allow the good luck to be lost; others say they should point down so that the luck is poured upon those entering the home. I think I have decided to play safe and affix it with the ends pointing up to keep our luck!

One of the news stories this evening is the fact that some two million children have done little or no schoolwork at home during the lockdown, according to a report that lays bare the impact of school closures on education. The study by University College London (UCL) found that a fifth of the country’s ten million schoolchildren had done no work at home or less than an hour a day. A separate academic study found that about four million pupils had not been in regular contact with their teachers and that up to six million children had not returned the last assignment they had been set. This means that eventually in the same classroom will be children who have massively behind their contemporaries who do have access to computing facilities (i.e. without having to share with other siblings) and the pedagogic implications of this are truly disturbing.