Friday, 2nd July, 2021

[Day 473]

Today was one of those rather cloudy and humid days and we were a bit delayed making our usual venture down into town. We spent quite a lot of time chatting with our domestic help who comes round on Fridays. In particular, she was was eager to know how we had got on with our AirB&B in North Wales and her own view was that the catalogue of little things that were not quite right (no kettle in the room, parking at a distance, dodgy toilet) was such that she, too, would have found it unacceptable. Anyway, we are over that by now and have emerged home with one or two items of Meg’s clothing such as a gilet and a lightweight waterproof anorak (not to mention the kettle that we eventually purchased) all of which will prove useful to us. To save a bit of time, we decided to go down by car to collect our newspapers and I treated Meg and myself to our usual fare in Waitrose. When we eventually got home, we neither of us felt particularly hungry so we indulged ourself in some fruit and ice-cream which is all we fancied. In the afternoon, I had set myself the task of getting our communal lawns cut and this task generally takes about 40 minutes for the main grassed area, then a rest period, followed by another 20 minutes to do our back lawn. In the interval between the two cuts, Miggles the local cat who had adopted us popped round to say hello (and to get a few cat treats, courtesy of Waitrose) Then quite unusually, Miggles decided to have a period on my lap which is quite unusual for him/her – she tends to prefer the lap of my daughter-in-law whenever she gets the opportunity. Anyway, I just about got the lawns cut and everything put away before it was time for the Spain vs.Sweden European Cup quarter-final which Spain won eventually on penalties (although their record in winning matches by penalties is not at at all inspiring) Later on, I watched the Italy vs. Belgium match which was pulsating, end-to-end stuff and incredibly exciting to watch. It was such a contest in styles between the way in which the Spanish play (keep possession and have a long slow buildup) and the way in which the Italians play (go direct for goal with long ranging passes to assist) These two teams are to meet each other in the semi-finals so it is pretty obvious who is gong to win (I think)

Before I started my mowing, I did a quick reconnoitre of the garden to see if there any hidden shrubs (or even little trees) that I can relocate into Mog’s Den. I did discover one healthy looking shrub that was being a bit crowded out and would not be missed from its present location, so that is one candidate. It is a laurel I believe and they are generally quite vigorous growers given enough light and space. Also, I think I have discovered a hazel lurking away in an obscure part of the front garden – it was probably self set but it, too, could do with a bit more light and won’t be missed from where it is (as I hardly knew it was there in the first place) Some time ago, I bought a very special kind of spade which has a very long thin blade. They go by a variety of names none of which are very descriptive – I think Spear and Jackson call their version a Tub Laying Shovel and as the blade is narrow but long, a lot more force is concentrated on the cutting edge (and therefore it slices through roots more easily) It is particularly useful, though, when transplanting trees as it helps to ensure that you get the entire length of the root (in which the tap root is much longer than in a shrub)

The extraordinary thing about today’s political news is that the Labour Party did not lose a bye-election. This was Batley and Spen and Labour won it by only 323 votes. The noteworthy thing about this seat is the seat held by the Labour MP (Jo Cox) who was murdered by a far right fanatic in 2016. Campaigning for the referendum was in full spate – but the campaign was halted for a day or so an then carried on. The seat is now won by the sister of the murdered MP and the campaign, by all accounts, has attracted a lot of candidates and there were masses of dirty tricks. It was hoped that a negative result would help to unseat Keir Starmer and the was the motivation for some of the shenanigans in the by-election. In the event, although the Tories hoped to take another seat off Labour, it was not to be and the seat was just kept within the Labour fold.