Saturday, 11th July, 2020

[Day 117]

My day started off very well in the wee small hours of the morning. During a restless period in the middle of the night, I decided to do my accounts and looked at when my credit card statement was due (although, as it happens, I only use this particular account for ‘holiday’ expenses and therefore had nothing owing on it). I was pleasantly surprised that Expedia, with whom we had booked our trip to Portugal which we could not undertake in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown. had credited me with the monies I had paid earlier for the hotel expenses. To be fair, Expedia had indicated they would do this within 30 days but I wasn’t informed that they had paid me back some money and therefore it was only by accident that I discovered that I had the credit sitting there since early May. I then turned my attention to the flights element of the cancelled holiday, one flight provided by Iberia and the other by British Airways. The Iberia website implied that under the terms of the original booking no flight charges would be refunded so I have to make up my mind whether to spend hours pursuing this element of the holiday. The British Airways flight also offered me vouchers (as they have done to thousands of other people in the last few months) but to convert this back into cash I have to speak to a British Airways customer services representative in person (if I can hang onto the end of a phone line for hours). I will have an attempt to do this on Monday morning but am not hopeful of success. According to information on the web, though, I should be able to claim a cash refund as of right. Knowing that I had a certain amount of credit under my belt, I spent some time looking at accommodation in both North Wales and in Yorkshire should we decide to give either side of our family a quick visit. However, I sent a message to my sister so that we can have a proper FaceTime discussion later this afternoon.

As you might expect, today was reasonably busy in our local park to the extent that we were displaced from our traditional park bench – however, whilst refreshing ourselves we encountered two of our closest friends and spent a few happy minutes in joke-telling and idle chit-chat. Then home to a somewhat delayed lunch and a preparation for the job in the afternoon. I needed to construct a little wooden framework around my Tilia Cordata at the point where the ground sloped away and the roots were in danger of being exposed. This having been done, I then used up my last remnants of some good topsoil and topped off the whole with a bag of forest bark chippings. I am hopeful that the mound of forest bark will help to keep the roots of the tree somewhat more damp and this might help to alleviate the yellowing of the leaves I have experienced to late. Having said that, it seems to be responding to my remedial work (including daily watering) so far.

I then had a couple of conversations with my sister on FaceTime and it appears that her lockdown period lasts until July 31st – even after that, she is still understandably nervous about exposing herself to any risk of the virus because with a compromised immune system and some congestive heart failure, the view of the rest of the family is that she would probably not survive. Although we had intended to spend a few days in Yorkshire at the very end of July, this might be somewhat too premature so we have resolved to leave things until August at the very earliest and then see how the situation unfolds. It really is hard to tell whether such fears on the part of the shielded part of the population are absolutely justified as, on the other hand, the government are anxious for people to get out and ‘spend, spend, spend’ as soon as possible even though this may well trigger a second wave of the virus. So we will put all tentative plans for some mini-vacations to see relatives on hold for a few weeks more.