Wednesday, 24th November, 2021

[Day 618]

Today we were going to have a different routine because we thought it would be a day for a little shopping expedition. So we went and collected our newspaper by car and then journeyed to Longbridge, the erstwhile manufacturing site for ‘The Rover’ but now devoted to new housing schemes in blocks of 3-4 storeys and some large retail stores including Marks and Spencer. It had been some time since we had been to Marks and Spencer and a few changes were in evidence. For a start, they were advertising for staff anticipating a Christmas shopping spree, no doubt. There was also a new Opticians service which we didn’t know anything about. We were shopping for some underwear for Meg and I have to say, as a mere male, I was throughly confused/bemused by the vast amount of different kinds of brassiere. Needless to say, that I am not an expert in all of this but we had availed ourselves of their fitting service in the past so decided to return to see what was on offer this time. However, I did buy myself some socks but decided to break the tradition of a lifetime. Normally, I buy simple, unadorned socks in a dark colour and do not hunt around for anything ‘fancy’ However, in my Pilates class where we perform in our stockinged feet there is always some friendly rivalry, not to say mutul admiration, of the various animals depicted on our socks. In this friendly rivalry, I have not managed as yet to participate as my socks are normally clerical grey or dull black. However, I took the opportunity to buy a multiple pack of socks with dogs on them but I haven’t had time to examine them minutely enough to discover what kind of dog they are meant to be.

This afternoon was a fairly mild afternoon so I thought I would at least make a start in installing my new video surveillance system for the back fence. When I explored in the garage I discovered I had a sort of flat spatula type of cooking implement (complete with hanging hole) which I had been soaking in some cooking oil before bringing it into use. This would turn out to be an excellent ‘back-plate” for the camera as it could then be ‘hung’ rather than permanently affixed to one particular location. I was also lucky in that I discovered that I had invested in some stout hooks which I had no doubt intended for all kinds of typing up jobs in the garden but had forgotten about. To cut a long story story, once the camera was mounted on its back plate it was quite easy to locate in in a particular spot in a hawthorn tree where I could easily access it for maintenance. Then I took my little piece of MDF (liberated from a skip down the road) and then cut to size for the exact dimensions of the ‘CCTV in operation’ sign supplied with the camera. I made sure the MDF was waterproofed by the addition of very strong black tape that I have and then the sign could be affixed adjacent to the camera. Any intruders ought to be left in no doubt that their presence was being noted and even recorded. So this sign went on the tree and my final ‘warning notice’ was screwed onto the fence. I now have a system which ought to do its intended job which is to deter any errant workmen from jumping into my back gaden in order to complete their building work. The interesting thing is that I have shared my recent experiences with some ex-Waitrose friends who we FaceTime every Tuesday afternoon and they (like our friends down the road) had had a very similar experience to our own. Although the English are temperamentally fairly peace-loving and slow to anger, we really do as a society fall out with each ‘big time’ when it comes to issues such as boundaries and fences.

There has been some shocking news emerging from the channel this afternoon. Some 31 migrants (at the last count) are reported dead and several injured. As the craft carrying them – it may have been an inflatable dinghy- capsized, than perhaps no one survived uninjured. The French and British authorities are both using their resources to hunt for survivors which happened just outside Calais. One wonders where the political blame for all of this will settle. No doubt, the UK government will blame the French for not stopping the dinghy from sailing in the first place – what the French will say, who knows. This item is fast rising up the British political agenda – it has been confirmed that as well as discussions with the Albanians, it is understood that the Foreign Office carried out an assessment for Ascension Island – a remote UK territory more than 4,000 miles away for the ‘remote’ processing of invdividuals caught attempting to cross the Channel.