Wednesday, 7th July, 2021

[Day 478]

I consulted my wife’s iPhone this morning (whilst my own was being charged up) to reassure myself that we were going to get some fine weather so that I could get some outside jobs completed. Specifically, I really wanted it tit to be a fine day so that some of the clutter in ‘Mog’s Den‘ could be either cleaned and stored or thrown away before the reuse disposal men pay us a visit early on tomorrow morning. The app on Meg’s phone assured me that we were gong to have a cloudy but rainless day all day today until about 4.0pm. We did some of our ‘normal’ Wednesday morning jobs and determined that we would go down to Waitrose in the car having collected the newspapers and I would leave Meg with a coffee and a bun whilst I want to shoot off to Poundland to buy a few gardening requisites (putting the finishing touches to Mog’s Den) But whilst we were in Waitrose, the heavens opened and we had a really intense downpour – nonetheless, I waited until the worst of it was over and then did make a trip to Poundland where the things that I really wanted were ‘out of stock – try again on Friday‘ Nonetheless I bought some cleaning materials (don’t you just love washing out muddy old plant pots!) but the gardening books tell you that these really do need to be clean so that you don’t transfer virus from old stock to new. I even bought myself a ‘dog grooming brush’ which has wires on one side and a brush on the other which I believe (thinking laterally) may be exceptionally good at removing crusted mud from old plant pots and renovating them. This morning I allowed myself to be swayed by an advert in my Inbox offering me an end-of-season sale of a Large Standard Weeping Pussy Willow Tree (on a 80-100cm stem) theoretically marked down from £30 to £8. The blurb tells me that it will not now taller than this but is an idea ‘patio’ tree which will only get thicker and bushier over the years (with lots of catkins) but not necessarily taller. I can always find space for this in Meg’s Den where it can joon my other section of small but growing trees which I am busy populating as I write but it might even grace our patio at the back of the house.

This afternoon proved to be on of those frustrating afternoons when one was dying to get into into the garden to get one’s jobs done. Although we had several showers I was counting on the fact that in the late afternoon – about 5.00-ish the clouds tend to roll away and you have the start of a fine evening. I took the opportunity to get the little patch of garden dug over and now its awaiting something colourful to get planted into it. Next I started to tackle the area around my old little mini-greenhouse (soon to be replaced as the original cover ripped and got blown away – quite a common fate I should imagine) In my pottering days, I had evidently filled several pots with some sieved soil and then topped off with gravel but whatever the original intention was, they now looked a mess. So a lot of them got thrown away as I have a couple of empty Forest Bark bags which are quite strong and can take a lot of junk. So a lot of that is now thrown away but I have discovered that evidently I had a penchant for buying plastic buckerts of which I now have about half a dozen. The next job along is to clean out a matching set of plastic pots which is a job which I actually hate doing. But the upside of all of this is that I can plant out the hazel plants I have rescued from my clearing of the border in the front of the house and that means that if they grow well enough, I might end up with a row of hedging plants to make an instant hedge were I to need one as a border.

As I write, the build up to the England-Denmark semifinal is reaching a crescendo. I must admit that I have very mixed emotions about all of this. On the one hand, like most of the rest of the country, I want the England team to do well and to progress, on merit, to the finals if they deserve to win and play the better football. On the other hand, I do not really like the rampant nationalism that surrounds all of this – nor do I wish that Boris Johnson should take any credit for any English success that may ensue. It is not axiomatic that the better team wins as we saw with the Spanish last night – rather it is the team which seizes the moment (and doesn’t make any crass mistakes in the meantime)