Saturday, 12th June, 2021

[Day 453]

As might be imagined, we have a slightly different routine on a Saturday and today was no exception. Meg and I did some routine jobs this morning so our morning walk was a little delayed. Once we had both walked to collect the newspapers and the day was quite warm, we were more than happy to collapse on one of the lower park benches where we could oversee the peregrinations of the ducks and a few ducklings. Nonetheless, we ‘touched base‘ (as the Americans would no doubt say) with a couple of our park regulars and had the kind of conversations we generally do (not a million miles away from the latest state of play regarding the various virus variants and the UK government response to date) We started off home for lunch fairly late (at about 2.0pm, which is late for us as we have to prepare lunch when we get home). But not far from home we were hailed from the open window of a house where we used to stop and admire the Honda CR-V on the drive and we have subsequently got to know the owner of the house (an Asian lady with roots in South Africa) We had not bumped into each other for quite some time, although we did have an ‘understanding’ to try and have a cup of tea with each other in our garden as soon as weather and work conditions permitted. It transpired there was a good reason why our paths had not crossed. Upon trying to turn right from the main road into her own house she was run into from the rear by an on-rushing ambulance. As in the course of a 20-30 minute walk we see about 2-3 ambulances, many with blue flashing lights, then the fact that a collision had occurred with almost anybody was not a great surprise to us. So to cut a long story short, our friend had received some injuries including concussion and her car was extensively damaged – but the ambulance were trying to claim it was no fault of theirs (is this their default response I wonder) As the weather is still set fair for several days yet, our friend has been invited round here for tea with us next Thursday afternoon and we shall look forward, very much, to filling in each other’s back stories, Whilst we were chatting at the open window, we were joined by her aunt who had been staying with her for a few days. We learnt that she had recently (i.e. about a year ago) got her PhD in nursing from the University of West London which started off life as Ealing College of Higher Education and went through several transformations subsequently. Our friend took a selfie of the four of us and I was pleased to get this through our messaging links. So roll on next Thursday when lots of news will no doubt get exchanged.

This week is going to be quite busy – I think we are all trying to see each other and ‘socialise’ whilst we can and before the weather breaks. On Monday, we need to pop into Waitrose for a few things (‘cake-related’) and then on Tuesday our University of Birmingham friend and ourselves have been invited to take tea with two of our church friends just down the road. We have kept missing each other with one thing or another so it will be great to have a nice old chin wag not outside in the street but in the privacy of our own gardens. Then on Wednesday, our local Waitrose is going to re-open (we think and hope) so we intended to be there fairly early on to savour the delights of Waitrose coffee and cakes once again. Then on Thursday, we are seeing our friends from around the corner and on Friday I am not sure but we might have some more tea in prospect.

This afternoon, I got to mow the grass which badly needed it. Although it was only a gap of eight days since the last mow, the wispy dandelion stalks not to mention the daisies and the buttercups all contributed to a very untidy sight. Now it has double mowed (first in one direction and then a cross-cut at right angles to this first cut) it looks a treat in the late afternoon sunshine. As I was mowing our own back lawn, though, I was dismayed to discover that we had practically no damsons on our damson trees (last year I collected enough to make 16 litres of gin!) I did a quick search on the web and it seems that a wet May might have contributed to the fruit not setting when it should. But another contributor gave forth the opinion that her damson tree tended to have a super abundant year (as we had) followed by an almost barren year – so perhaps this is just to be expected in the cycles of damson tree development. Incidentally, we noticed out gooseberry crop seems to be non-existent this year as well – I suspect the very wet May might be the culprit here as well.