Sunday, 20th March, 2022

[Day 734]

Being Sunday, it was my day to get up a little bit earlier and go down to collect our Sunday newspaper. On occasions such as this, when I need to leave the house early, I treat myself to one of those ‘2-minute’ porridge sachets that are prepared very quickly. The variety that I am using actually encourages you to first empty the sachet into a microwavable dish and then to fill up the packet according to the guidance line with milk. As you might imagine, you have to do this with a certain degree of care but saves having to get another measuring vessel to measure out the milk. As usual, I got down into town and then back again in order to watch the 9.00am politics show on BBC1 with Sophie Raworth. After Meg and I had both breakfasted and got out ourselves ready, we popped down into town by car and then frequented our usual bench – but a bit of a cold wind sprung up for somewhere making us a little uncomfortable. Then I did something I have only managed to do twice (including this morning) in the last two years which is to knock my coffee cup over and deprive myself of a drink. After this minor calamity, we strolled down the hill where we made contact with Seasoned World Traveller who often has his coffee on on an outside table – but he, like us, doesn’t like it if the terrace is teeming with people. I popped inside to order ourselves some cappuchino and a treat which was a slice of cheese on toast which we both enjoy (warm and filling). Inside the café, a father was buying an icecream for his daughter and having a splash of raspberry sauce drizzled over it. I informed him that we were young, we used to call this ‘monkey blood’ so whether this priceless bit of information was passed onto the grateful recipient, who can say. As we were in the car, we stopped outside the house of our Irish friends and this proved to be very fruitful for us as they spotted us from inside the house and popped out for a chat. If the weather bodes fair and we can find a mutually acceptable time, we will look forward to inviting them around for a spot of afternoon tea. When we actually got home, we had a phone call which was a really pleasant surprise. It was our French friend from down the road and I think she had heard from somewhere that Meg and I were going to go to the concert being held in the parish church at the bottom of the hill (with no entrance charge but collections being taken for the Ukrainian relief fund). After the concert was over, our friend who is very ‘communautaire’ as the French put it, is going to have a little soirée in her house to which we were invited, together with some of her neigbours with whom we are already friendly but we have not seen for a week or so and some other friends, one of whom is a Spanish speaker (so, perhaps, quite interesting for Meg) It is always nice to get an invitation like this and we are looking forward to it enormously.

When we look at our planning board in the kitchen which details all of our forthcoming commitments for the week(s) ahead, we see that we have quite a heavy week this week with appointments for haircutting, footcare and a routine eye appointment. Also, I do not like to give the grass its first ‘cut of the season’ until on or about 25th March as once you start, it will be a weekly cut from now on. I need to ensure that I have supplies of freshly drawn, high quality petrol as well as some petrol stabiliser which prevents the ethanol which is ofen as much as 10% of petrol these days absorbing water from the atmosphere and not being friendly to the petrol engines you have in lawn mowers. So I have the whole of the week to get these ingredients in place. Tomorrow morning, Meg and I may well pop off to the vaccination centre to see if we can get Booster No. 2 (I qualify for this, but Meg is on the cusp so that may/may not accept her tomorrow).

There is a report that had surfaced today whose import is that Russia has committed nearly all of the war crimes that humanity has ever seen. Also, for the second day in a row, Russia says it has launched a hypersonic missile, which is capable of striking targets 1,250 miles away at a speed 10 times the speed of sound. One wonders whether in the years ahead, the western powers will try and keep Russia in such an economic stranglehold that attacks like that on the Ukraine will no longer be possible. But to be pessimistic, once nuclear weapons and hypersonic weapons have been invented, they cannot be disinvented.