Saturday, 29th July, 2023

[Day 1230]

Today dawned as quite a beautiful summer day which makes a change as this July heads for the record books as one of the wettest on record. We had arranged to meet our University of Birmingham friend in our favourite café in Droitwich just down the road and we made a rendez-vous at the just the right time and place. We had a coffee and shared some toasted teacake between us and we discussed some plans for the rest of the summer. Tomorrow morning, I am hoping that the three of us can meet up in the park at our normal bench and, after a quick text, I hope we can be joined by one of our other park friends, together with her trusted little dog. After we parted, Meg and I made for a little carpet shop in the vicinity of the coffee shop where we knew that they had a good range of rugs on sale. When we got there, we found a supply that were too small for our purpose and also some off-cuts that were too large. What we wanted was something in between and the shop proprietor immediately showed us a selection on the other side of the shop which would give us almost exactly what we wanted. So we made a purchase and then headed home for our Saturday midday lunch which today was going to be a steak and kidney pie, done in the oven. We accompanied this with some broccoli and also some carrots, parboiled as batons and then popped onto the floor of the oven with a bit of cooking oil and a drizzle of honey. Then, as it was a fine afternoon, I bit the bullet and decided to get the lawns cut which would normally be done on a Wednesday or a Thursday but which has eluded us so far this week. This having been done, we then had a quiet cup of tea before we head out for church in the late afternoon. Earlier, I experimented a little with putting the new rug into a variety of locations before I settled on a plan where it looked ‘just right’ which is not where I originally intended. Sometimes, a little experimentation with furniture pays off so that things look right in certain combinations but not others.

When we got back home, we enjoyed watching the summary of the Test Match in ‘Today at the Test’ England had a very good day batting and most batsmen scored a significant amount of runs leaving England at the end of the day with one wicket to fall and a lead of about 367. If England manage to get near to a total of 400, then this total will be almost unassailable by the Australian team batting last – but anything can happen in a Test Match. If England win the match, and they are in a good position to do so as things stand at the moment, then the series will be levelled at 2.5 wins each. Australia, though, will retain the Ashes but a win for England will a fitting and just end since the rain prevented England for winning the Old Trafford Test match after two days were wiped out by rain.

The Ukrainian situation is proving to be interesting. Ukraine’s offensive is proving a harder slog than even their most optimistic supporters would acknowledge because the Russians had used the winter to provide defenses in real depth and the disputed area is very heavily mined. So the Ukranian forces are having to advance at a snail’s pace whilst they dispose of mines as they go. On the other hand, there is a new report tonight that Ukraine may have the taking of the peninsula of the Crimeria within their sights and one would imagine that this would prove to be an immense psychological boost if the reports are to be believed. Also Zelenskyy is appearing on the front line and allowing ‘selfies’ to be taken of himself with front line fighters and this must be a morale boost. One cannot imagine any Russian leader anywhere near the font line (hints of the first World War here?) Also, some military analysts are arguing that Putin must be doomed and the more that there are no evident signs of success in the military field, the more that pressures will grow within Russia for his removal.

I now have all of the materials assembled for Meg and I to attempt a beeswax application to some of our new acquisitions, particularly the piano stool. This involves applying the beeswax with the grade ‘0000’ steel wool, leaving for some 20-30 minutes and then a really light buffing with an open-weave unbleached cotton cloth. The buffing has to be light so that most of the beeswax remains as a sort of sacrificial level of protection and the lightest of buffing ensures that the topmost cells of the wax are flattened and made transparent so that the natural character of the wood used in the manufacture of the furniture shines through. This is the theory at any rate. What I am looking forward to is that if I manage to get this right, then another polishing is not needed for a period of up to five years.