Friday, 15th October, 2021

[Day 578]

Looking at today’s date, it makes one realise that the month of October is nearly half gone and, I suppose, it is a sign of advancing years that the weeks and months seem to fly by with increasing rapidity. The only problem with this is that October will soon give rise to November and November is one of my least favourite months of the year. I think the reason for this is any last vestige of summer has gone and, apart from November 5th which doesn’t hold any real attractions for me, the month of November always seems to me to be a bit of a ‘non’-month i.e. halfway sandwiched in between the months of October when we had Meg’s birthday and other liaisons to which to look forward and the month of December which, of course, has Christmas at the end of it. Also after December 21st/22nd the nights are actually getting shorter by a smidgeon each day. So all in all November is just a month to be lived through. This morning was quite a fine day so although it was a little cooler than days in the past, Meg and I enjoyed our perambulation as far as the park. We had our coffee and I left Meg on the park bench knowing that some of our other park regulars would soon be on their way, which indeed they were. We were discussing, inter alia, how far such terms as are increasingly bandied about (bi-polar, schizophrenic, autistic spring to mind) refer to real and immutable phenomena or whether they are only just society’s ways of attributing a label to behaviours that are defined as some as problematic. At other times and in other place e.g. Joan of Arc hearing ‘voices’ that led to the downfall of the English armies, what we now term as schizophrenia night have been interepreted as a ‘hotline to God’

After lunch, it was time to gather in this year’s apple crop. We have about 4 trees spread over two locations in the garden some of which are very productive and some of which have yielded practically nothing. The first tree was so laden with small, rosy eating apples that some of the slender branches bearing them had actually split but I gathered about 12lb of fruit althogether from this one tree. Its companion, though, bore practically nothing but I am just concerned with the total yield. Thee young trees themselves were bought from that well known horticultal vendor, Messrs. Aldi and were about £1.99 each as far as I can remember. I then moved on the fruit trees in Mog’s Den and these were undoubedly cookers as they were much larger and much greener. At a guess, I would say that I harvested about 15lb of cookers from these trees – all in all,it was three bucket full of fruit. Then, of course, I had to prepare the fruit. I decided that it woiuld be a bad idea to actually wash the fruit as this might leave the fruit slightly damp from which infections might follow. What I actually did was to wipe each apple well with a barely damp cellulose cloth and the fruit was further divided in Grade A (capable of longer term storage) and Grade B (little imperfections such as a bird strike which meant that the fruit neded to be eaten almost immediately) Now that I have my boxes of fruit all prepared (courtesy of Asda whose fruit boxes are invaluable) I am keeping them in our ‘outer’ kitchen-cum-utility room where I can keep my eye on them and remove any immediately in case a mould or rot steps in. In the past, I have fed some of the local mice with some munchy morsels so I am determined not to let this mistake occur again.

The news headlines have been dominated by the stabbing to death of a Tory MP, Sir David Amess. Of course, this is a second killing of an MP in recent years, the other being Jo Cox the Labour MP for Batley and Spen who was killed by a far right fanatic during the referendum campaign. Sir David Amess seems to have been a very different kind of MP. He was not at all interested in climbing the ministerial ladder but, by all accounts, was very committed to actually improving the lives of his constituents. For him helping improve the lives of constituents not only meant understanding the inner working of the Commons – he sat on multiple committees doing the often grinding work of approving legislation – but it was also about understanding that politics involves convincing people to join forces, something he did not only through argument but through charm, wit, showmanship and kindness. What is so interesting is that this type of MP is in fact, quite rare, and so he was very well respected on both sides of the House of Commons. No doubt, we will hear a lot more in the days to come how MP’s can be protected adequately whilst maintaining contact with members of the public.