Thursday, 24th March, 2022

[Day 738]

I had set my alarm to be awakened at 6.30 so that I could have a leisurely breakfast and get to my supermarket of choice by 8.00 in the morning. This worked out very well and I managed to access an ATM for some cash and arrive at the supermarket some 30 seconds after opening time. I think I was about the second or third person in the store but shopping is an almost pleasant experience when you are not having to dodge other shoppers. The shopping have been done, Meg were all set for a little day out to Pershore which is even signposted as a ‘historic Georgian town’. The ‘Visit Worcestershire‘ website indicates that Pershore is an unspoilt, picturesqe market town. The website continues and is fulsome in its praise by declaring that ‘Pershore is famed for its elegant Georgian architecture, magnificent Abbey and the charming River Avon flowing parallel to the High Street.’ We had not read the website before we went and I think we were assuming that it was a bit like Alcester, the town we visited last Thursday but on a larger scale. I must say that our first impressions did not really match up to the hype. Perhaps we got off to a bad start by following the signs to a local carpark which also served an Asda supermarket and although we availed ourselves of a coffee and toasted teacakes in the vicinity of the carpark we really should not have bothered. ‘Ye Olde Worlde Teashoppe” it was not and, I suppose we should not jumped at the first watering hole that we found but taken the time to make a more discerning choice. We wandered up and down the High Street but somehow it failed to make any kind of favourable impression on us. I think that next time we visit (if we do) we should set out to visit the mediaeval abbey and then attempt to walk down by the River Avon, both of which I suppose we should have done today. Not immediately finding anywhere that would offer us the kind of light lunch we would want in the middle of the day, we decided to cut our losses and have lunch at home. On our way home, I stopped off at a garage to get a six-litre plastic can filled with fuel for the lawnmower. As the lawnmower is very frugal, I do not mind buying it the best quality fuel but as it was, then 6.5 litres of the highest quality fuel cost over £11.00 but at least this is only twice a season. Tomorrow is the day for the first mow of the season which is always rather hard work and of course one always the psychological fear once the mower has been dormant for the past six months then will it start and keep running. My next door neighbour who is generally a day or so later than I am to mow has beaten me to it this year but I am hopeful that by tomoroow afternoon, all of the hard work has been done.

News of the Ukrainian war is still filling the airwaves but one particularly dramatic image is the fact that the Ukrainan navy have managed to destroy a Russian landing craft near the coastal city of Berdyansk, as the country marks one month since the invasion began. Pictures appear to show fire and huge plumes of smoke rising into the air near the Sea of Azov port, which has been under Russian control since 27 February. In a statement on Facebook the Ukrainian navy said it had destroyed the Orsk landing ship, a loss not confirmed by Russian authorities. There is an amusing twist to this story as apparently the Russian media had filmed the ship off-loading military equipment as part of a propaganda effort. However, in so doing, the propaganda film indicated the exact location of the ship which was then a target for the Ukranian navy. Two other ships were also damaged and were seen ‘slinking away’. This may be a very small incident in the overall course of the war but the boosts to morale amongst the Ukranian fighting forces must be immense. NATO has been meeting today in Brussels and the urgent question is to work out how to get usable weapons into Ukranian hands so that they can defend themselves. Boris Johnson has pledged 6,000 extra missiles and the UK-supplied anti-tank missiles (fired, I believe, from the shoulder of a single soldier) seem to have been used to devasatating effect. The Ukrainians are asking for tanks and for fighter jets but NATO and other European nations seem to be concentrating on getting weapons into the hands of the Ukrainians that they can use with minimal training in order to slow down, or ameliorate, the worst effects of the assault upon their cities. Some really disturbing news is that Mariupol City Council has claimed that 15,000 residents from the Levoberezhny district have been forcibly deported to Russia.