Sunday, 8th August, 2021

[Day 510]

So it was my Sunday morning routine this morning where I go down early in the morning to collect my Sunday newspapers and I treated myself to a Mozart concert on my old iPhone en route. On the way back, I had espied two escaped plants that I thought I would ‘liberate’ and for this purpose I took with me a gardener’s knife which is basically like a penknife but has an incredibly strong blade once it has been successfully locked into position. The first one of these was a piece of errant mint that had escaped one of the gardens so I cut off a little section of root and put it into a plastic bag I have brought with me. I then progressed onto the second of my ventures. In a nearby garden, there is a very old and mature sycamore tree (I think) which has evidently cast its key-like seeds all over the place. A cluster have evidently landed in the loose gravel of a neighbouring garden where the seedlings have taken root (simulating what happens when a gardener is trying to develop cuttings – the young seed/plant reaches through the gravel in search of water and nutriments and tends to develop good root systems. Anyway I liberated about three of these and into another plastic bag they went, waiting to be popped into a spare bit of pot or earth as soon as I have the opportunity. After breakfast, Meg and I walked down to the park and we were delighted to see with our University of Birmingham friend as we often do at the weekend as well as out 86 yr old avid walker who fits in a circuit of at least 9km a day. Today was the last day of the Olympics and we watched a Welsh girl win a boxing gold, Jason Kenny win yet another gold to add to his collection and Laura Kenny endure a terrible crash in the ‘Omnium’ bike race. Several riders were involved in the crash which looked horrendous : Laura Kenny herself had her bike fly in the air and then on top of her, two other riders ran over her (from what I could tell) and she slid down the track until her (helmeted) head hit the side of the track. The amazing thing is that after this she was expected to get on her bike and complete another series of races including a sprint which she may have won. Under the circumstances to come 7th was an absolute miracle – I think shortly afterwards as well she was expected to be the Team GB flag-bearer at the closing ceremony. And so we bid a restrained and dignified farewell to Tokyo – I was rather expecting to see hordes of young athletes invading the arena to party but I suppose the numbers (and celebrations) had to be severely curtailed because ofCOVID. On to Paris in only three years time and then the Paralympics starts in a couple of weeks of time.

This afternoon after lunch, I had just one little project to do which I thought would take 5 minutes but turned out to be a hard half hour. I have a spade which I keep outdoors for easy accessibility in Mogs Den. This had got rusted so I treated it first with raw vinegar and then a specialist rust remover which is really Phosphoric Acid (almost completely) Although the spade had been brushed with the rust remover several times I though the residues would be easy to move but this proved not to be the case. I attacked it with a combination of wire brushes, Brillo pads, Chemico (which is just being re-manfactured again after being common in the 1950’s) and half an hour’s elbow grease. It is still not absolutely right so I will give the stubborn patches another ‘working over’ and that will be that – I will condition it with oil and put it back where it lives tomorrow.

Some interesting COVI+D news has emerged today. It seems that researchers have found a clear link between the Scottish participation in the Euro finals and the rise (and fall) of COVID infections. The rate of infections dropped quite dramatically once Scotland had failed to progress any further – it will be interesting to see if there is an ‘English’ effect once the data is analysed. The overall rate of infections seems to be fairly stable at the moment but the scientist have calculated that the ‘R’ rate may well have topped below 1.0 which if it sustained, means the pandemic is somewhat on the retreat (for now!) The Health Secretary is concerned (like the rest of the us) at the huge disparity in prices for a full PCR test (required if one is going abroad on holiday) – another example of the private sector ‘making hay whilst the sun shines’ whilst the government’s showing no interest at all in any degree harmonisation or regulation.