Saturday, 23rd September, 2023

[Day 1286]

Today, being a Saturday and also a fine bright day, now we’re looking forward to our little trip to Waitrose where we hoped to bump into Tuesday crowd that we also tend to meet up with as well as Saturdays. Today we got onto the topic of the kinds of games and pastimes that we remembered as children and I wondered if any of the girls remembered any of the skipping rhymes that they probably used to sing in their junior days. In the days of a rigid division between the sexes, the boys were engaged in a type of football (actually we kicked a square block of wood around the playground) and, if we got bored with that, we boys used to play cigarette cards which involved throwing them down into any convenient corner and then picking up any of those that your own card came into contact with. I seem to remember that there were a couple called Peter and Iona Opie who spent a lifetime collecting rhymes and songs and I the one that I remember, althugh there were several was ‘Children’s Games in Street and Playground’ I think the Opies published several works of a similar nature and wilst the older generation will remember many of them, a lot will have been lost to current generations of children. I wonder, for example, whether the ‘skipping rhymes’ that girls (aged 6-9)used to sing when skipping in a group still persist. So afer these discussions we came home and contemplated the rest of the day. It really was a beautiful day but the grass had grown so exceptionally long not having been cut for a couple of weeks, I decided to give it a go in a series of ‘tranches’ so that Meg could be kept an eye on at the same time, Firstly our large communal grassed area to the front of the house generally takes about 40 minutes to cut and to cross-cut. Today, I divided the task into two and after twenty minutes came indoors to check on Meg. Then making sure she was comfortable, I completed the second 20 minute tranche, mightily pleased that I had managed to get this done at last. There is something about the grass this year which is making it grow at a prodigious rate and the grass today seemed practically as thick as it would be on the occasion of the first cut at the end of March. Then I settled down to watch most of the second half of the Portugal-Georgia match. This proved to be a fascinating contest betweem two equally matched but not particularly good teams. Portugal seemed to have gained the upper hand but in the last five minutes of the game, Georgia drew level on points and if they had completed the conversion for the extra points then they would have won. But with the scores level and literally only a minute or so on the clock, Portugal was awarded a kickable penalty and had they kicked this successfully, they too would have won the match. So the teams ended up with a draw which could well have been a fair result but both left wondering that with a slightly more accurate kick at goal, then both teams could have won the match.

We had a lunch of the other half of a chicken-and-ham pie complemented with some sprouts and baked tomatoes. This was fine but, as you might expect, I was quite keen to get outside and get the back lawn mowed which is only a 20 minute job. I left Meg watching a ‘Nrs Brown’s Boys’ and then raced to get the back lawn cut, which, as it lays within the shade of the house often has even thicker grass than at the front. I got this completed, and Miggles our adopted cat showed up at the end to give a nod of approval (and a little meal of fish that he/she has come to expect). After that we had a quiet afternoon of reading and music listening before we decided to watch the first half of the England-Chile game. We had decided that Meg and I should try to attend church for the first time in three weeks as Meg has felt a bit too wobbly in past weeks but was probably going to be a little OK today. I must say that having attended the church fairly regularly over the past four years, our recent no-shows had been noted and we were treated very solicitously today which was quite heart-warming in its own way. Our regular parish priest is on holiday for five weeks but we have a ‘Rent-a-Priest’ here for the next few weeks, I must say that I rather enjoyed hs rather jolly approach and not particular pious homily which he delivered sitting down rather than standing up.

Upon our return and our customary bowl of soup,it was the Ireland-South Africa rugby match and these two teams are rated as the two best teams in the world at the moment. The level of tackling was ferocious and either team could have won. But the Irish held onto a narrow lead and in the closing minute, the South Africans could well have scored a try from a rolling maul that would have won them the match – but the Irish snaffled the ball and hence emerged as victors. But these two teams might meet again in the final rather than the pool stages, in any case.