Thursday, 8th July, 2021

[Day 479]

Today has been a day with a bit of drama thrown in at the start of the day. My son and daughter-in-law were pretty sure that they heard an ambulance enter our Close late last night but it could just have been turning round and did not linger. This morning, we were just putting away the deliveries from our weekly Waitrose order when the relatives of our neighbour from across the communal green area called round us to see us. They gave us the grim news that their mother seemed to have had quite a major stroke – it looked as though she had fallen and perhaps banged her head but certainly been on the floor for hours. Her daughter had evidently tried to make contact throughout the day with no success and had called round to find her mother on the floor. At the moment, she is in a specialist unit in Worcester Royal but we have no more news until her relatives have themselves been briefed by the hospital. The stroke appears to have been quite a major one and therefore we have to speculate that our neighbour’s capacity for self care is severely compromised and she may not have the capacity for independent living any more. The gardener who looks after our garden every few weeks also looks after our neighbour and he happened to be working there this morning. So I popped across to brief him on the news of the morning and also took some cash with me so that the gardener could get paid and I could settle up later. But the relatives and the gardener did coincide this morning so they managed to fund his bill. I asked the gardener to keep on coming on a regular basis as he knows what is to be done – and I promised to keep the front lawn mown with my own petrol mower at the same time as we do our own. As time was now passing, we decided to go into town by car but were a bit dismayed to find that the Waitrose cafe was closed for the day – although the staff indicated to us that it should be open again tomorrow. So we bought ourselves a tin of peach tea (which was actually much nicer than it sounds) and a sandwich and then made our way to our normal bench where we munched and drank and contemplated what might happen in our little ‘coin‘. Then it was home for lunch – but as it was so hot and humid we decided to forego a cooked meal and indulged ourselves with our special mixture of peaches (tinned), ice cream, yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

I had an outdoor task detailed in my mind, assuming that the weather held up. Down in Mog’s Den, I have a little mini-greenhouse with only an improvised cover as the original got ripped and blew away some time in the past. Consequently, I have treated it as a little store of plants pots, gardening tools and requisites but I thought this afternoon I would turn out all of the contents. Then I would clean up and store (in another place) that which I wanted to keep and junk the rest. But the weather turned a little threatening, so I started another job which needed doing which was to clear off the mud and generally tidy up the steps leading down into Mog’s Den. This is a little job best done regularly but needs doing when the weather is fine and the soil is baked dry. I had just about finished this task when the raindrops started falling and I judged it best to beat a hasty retreat. But by the time I got my tools cleaned up and inside, the rain seemed to stop. So I started a major task I know I have to do which is to start to attack the 4′-5′ high stack of weeds that the gardener and I had cleared off and ‘process’ them. Basically, the thick stems of the brambles might take years to rot down so I find it better to strip off the small branches, chop them up with my secateurs and get them into my compost bin. The major bits of stem get put into the brown bin system where they eventually be collected by the refuse disposal team (once per fortnight).

Did I mention that England are through into the European Cup final? For the record, England won 2-1 after a rather dubious penalty decision – it looked particularly clear cut to almost everybody, including the referee, but the video replay system indicated minimal contact – whether deserving of a penalty is the moot point. But if England had not been awarded the penalty given their domination of play in the latter stages of the match and the Danes had got through on penalty kicks, then perhaps the best team might not have won. So at at the end of the day, I think that England deserved a little piece of luck given the amount of attacking football played in this semi-final. The country is going mad – until we get beaten by the Italians (which is a near certainty) on Sunday next.