Sunday, 21st June, 2020

[Day 97]

It is amazing to think that today (or perhaps yesterday!) was the year’s longest day and that we now start the long slow countdown to winter as the days shorten little by little. This year seems to have absolutely flown by for us but I am sure that for others the enforced lockdown must have seemed indeterminable. I decided that I would repeat the pattern that I set myself last week not to have a lie-in as one might be tempted to do on a Sunday but to get up and go and collect my copy of the Sunday newspapers before breakfast and the Andrew Marr show. It was the most delightful morning to do this as the sky was blue, the temperature was pleasantly cool at that hour of the morning and the world seemed to be populated only by joggers. Also, as I was on my own, I re-established the pattern that I used to employ when I made these walks as a solo trip each morning. I have an exceedingly old iPhone (iPhone 4, introduced in 2010) which I now use only as a music player. The quality of the reproduction is superb still (for my ears) and somehow in the past, I managed to download over 200 tracks onto it (mainly of Bach and Mozart). I have it on ‘airplane’ mode to conserve the battery life and I find it an incredibly useful bit of kit which is compact and more useful to me like this than the few pounds I could get for it if I ever tried to sell it (a quick Google search shows it might be worth £30.00 but I did find one website that would offer me 50p for it!) Meg and I were intrigued when we got into a conversation in the park today with a young couple with a dog and we wondered what was their breed of dog (sort of pointer looking but very smooth haired). Apparently, it was a German breed called a Weimaraner and another quick Google search shows that they cost around £1500! I must say we had never seen a dog quite like it but we do see quite an assortment of dogs of every shape and size (but the Jack Russell seems to be one of the most popular dogs here in Bromsgrove)

After lunch, I needed to help my daughter-in-law to plant out some sunflowers. Actually. my part in all of this was only to bore some drain holes in the bottom of two rectangular plant pots we had bought in readiness and haul some bags of compost and topsoil over. Then I proceeded to do my ‘weekly’ grass cutting although this had been a bit delayed because of the recent rains. A few days earlier, I had lovingly restored an old horseshoe to a beautiful old silver colour which, on the spur of the moment, I gave away to a good friend on the occasion of her 50th birthday and which is now occupying pride of place in the log cabin she uses as a sort of studio/escape den. I thought I would go onto eBay again and I have just purchased five more used horseshoes (all the way from Yorkshire!) for little more than the cost of the postage. I am going to restore these using my well-established techniques (immersion in white vinegar for a day, scrubbing with a wire brush and then a final finishing off with a Brillo pad and some Duraglit. I have two horseshoes in soak at the moment and I gave them a preliminary look to see if the vinegar had worked its magic (it had!) If the weather is fine tomorrow, I will complete the restoration task and then proceed with the following three (which I am minded to restore and then give away to friends)

The coronavirus news from Germany tonight is very disturbing. They calculate their ‘R’ rate as 2.88 (i.e. each infected person infects nearly three more). In an abattoir, they tested 1000 workers and two-thirds of them tested positive. This must be a warning as to what might happen if you relax a lockdown too soon!