Thursday, 1st October, 2020

[Day 199]

Today was a fine, bright day and as we were preparing for our walk, we had a ring on the doorbell from the window cleaner we have used for years now. As it was the first day of the month, I was reminiscing with him that when I was a great deal younger, we used to day ‘White rabbits! White rabbits! White rabbits!‘ and then the more conscientious amongst us kept our fingers crossed on both hands until we saw a policeman riding by on a white horse. Obviously, he was not of the generation to have ever heard anything as outlandish as this but he has heard of ‘Pinch! Punch! First of the month’ which I think use to be popular with the smaller members of a family, complete with suitable accompanying actions. We reflected that the change of expressions told us something about the way in which society had changed over the years.

In the park, we had intended to meet with some of our ex-Waitrose friends, with whom we were going to share a birthday cake (our friend’s tomorrow and Meg’s on Saturday) But our plans were a little thwarted when we got a text telling us our friend had woken up with a cold and felt pretty terrible, so was going to give the park a miss today. We had acquired a suitable birthday card from our newsagent and was going to get it posted to arrive in time for tomorrow when in a subsequent text ,our friend told us not to post it but wait for a day or so when we could actually meet (weather permitting, of course) We held an interesting conversation with a young man who had a beautiful specimen of a German Shepherd dog. I hadn’t realised that this was the former name by which Alsatians were known but fell into disuse at a time of one of our periodic contretemps with the Germans. The dog was called ‘Bear‘ on the basis that as a puppy he resembled a bear as much as a dog. We had just finished our elevenses overlooking the pond? boating lake? when a man strode up with a home built boat that must have been a metre in length. It took him some time to get various parts assembled, including a battery power pack and some electronic controls before he released it onto the water. I put say I was expecting a gentle ‘whoosh’ through the water but instead it carved through the water at the equivalent of speedboat speeds. Rather cheekily, I wondered whether he called his boat ‘Titanic‘ or even 'Marie Celeste‘ but actually, he did not have any name for it at all. Apprantly, he was quite used to giving it an outing in local reservoirs and the like and it was a completely home-built affair so he evidently had modelling skills of the highest order. Then on the way home, we bumped into our Italian friend with whom we had a conversation concentrating upon domestic issues. In the middle of this, my iPhone rang to inform me that I had a FaceTime call from one of my former colleagues from Winchester. He had given me some contact details to put into FaceTime which I did late last night and so he was returning my call later on this morning. Fortunately, we were very near a park bench upon which we plonked ourself whilst we chatted about family and friends. We now have made an arrangement to FaceTime each other at the same time each week as it is likely to be months before we can meet again in the flesh. We were just concluding our conversation when our Italian friend turned up again to say that she had a call on her phone saying that her account may have been compromised so she was going to have to deal with that – it could have been genuine or a scam of course. Finally, we were just approaching the top of the hill on the way home when we stopped to have a chat with a lady who recognised as as ‘regular walkers’ up and down the road every day. She lived in a little development of the Kidderminster Road so that was yet one more contact to add to our list (In parenthesis, I might say that people recognise me more by the distinctive Australian style leather bush hat so it is not unusual for people to stop by and say to me ‘I don’t know you but I recognise the hat‘ We get the occasional toddler who tugs on his mother’s hand when we pass in the street with the comment ‘Oh look, Mummy! A cowboy!’ Of course, I smile indulgently whenever this happens.)

This afternoon we devoted to a good read of the newspapers and awaited our Waitrose delivery only for this to be delayed by an hour and then short of milk and yogurt (important elements of our diet!) so I had to make a lighting visit to our local Waitrose to ensure we were well supplied for the week ahead!