Tuesday, 29th March, 2022

[Day 743]

It was another fine day today so I am keen to make progress with the gardening as soon as it can be fitted in. I went off into town to collect the newspaper, which once accomplished, meant that Meg and I could just walk to the park without the additional journey to the newspaper shop for Meg. It was certainly a cooler and more overcast day and we can feel that a change in the weather system is underway. It started to brighten a little half way through the morning so we were pleased to get home in good time so that I could get an hour’s border clearance in before lunch. We had our traditional Tuesday afternoon lunch of fishcakes which were as satisfying as usual and then, after a swift coffee, I was off out again to complete the gardening. I just managed to catch a little snatch of the memorial service for Prince Philip, and although it seemed ‘touch and go’ whether the Queen could make it on this occasion, I was very pleased for her that she managed to do so. The service was cut down to size to make it not too overlong for the monarch and some sensible corners were cut e.g. she entered Westminster Abbey through a side door to cut down on the amount of walking and she leant on the arm of one of her grandsons (William?) to take her seat and upon leaving. Ever since Prince Philip awarded me my MSc at the back end of 1969, I have always had a soft-ish spot for Prince Philip if not other members of the Royal Family. I suspect that Prince Philip’s gaffes, non-PC utterances and other sayings could well fill quite a voluminous book. One of the more polite ones was his exhortation to British industry to ‘get your finger out’ – this in response to an appeal to raise British productivity which always seems to have been lagging behind the economies of our competitors.

Today if there hadn’t been wars and Royal events to divert the public, we know that 20 letters were to be received about by about 20 members of the Downing Street staff and although the identity of the recipients has not been revealed, it seems as though Boris Johnson is not among them. One has to say ‘yet’ because all of the indications are that Scotland Yard is going to be concentrating upon the ‘low hanging fruit’ i.e. the apparently ‘open and shut cases’ where there is no real dispute and, having submitted questionnaires to the police, the recipients must have been expecting them. Receiving a ‘fixed penalty notice’ in this way in not a criminal offence but could become one if you were to refuse to pay the fine. I suspect that the decision to send Boris Johnson a fixed penalty notice or not will be taken at the highest possible level in view of the political sensitivities involved. Would it go as high as the Commissioner of Police who is currently serving out her notice or her acting deputy one wonders?

And so for the final tranche of gardening that I had set for myself this afternoon.I intended to set myself a couple of hours with a tea break in the middle – as it happened, I achieved my objective with two minutes to spare. Needless to say, I was ably assisted by Miggles the cat, who at one point sat about two feet in front of the patch upon which I was working but with a tail in the way of my trowel. Needless to say, I had to move the cat’s tail out of my working area at which the animal took the point and found something else to do. The weeding having been done, I have two options open to me. The first which I was a little tempted by, was to purchase some forest bark and spread over the border which would look tremendous. However, how successul it would be at weed suppression is another question. I will probably go for the second alternative which i have tried before and has worked well in the past. This is to dig the whole with the aid of a particular type of spade with a pointed blade which I have found particularly useful in the past for accessing tricky areas beween shrubs and trees. I must say that I am rather fond of digging and find it so much easier than hand weeding. In addition, I absolutely love the appearance of newly dug soil. I tend to keep the spade-fulls of soil fairly intact and chunky as experience has told me over the years that weed seeds find it more dfficult in this type of terrain. Besides, if you have done the digging effectively, then many of the weed seeds at or near the surface get buried a good 6"-9″ under.