Thursday, 31st March, 2022

[Day 745]

Thursdays are the days when we get up early to go shopping and I was waiting outside the door of the supermarket at a minute or so before 8.00am as planned. Now that I have started (again) to go to this somewhat smaller supermarket, I know where everything is to be found but there are always one or two things we would like to have which are not stocked. One particular ‘treat’ in Aldi once the main food shopping has been done is to wander up and down the cenral aisles which are stocked with a variety of household and gardening type things. Today, I succumbed to temptation and bought one of those 40 litre garden tubs that are worth their weight in gold when it comes to gardening clearance tasks because it minimises the amount of time you are up and down to fill the main gardening compost wheelie bin. When I got home, I checked the price I paid against the price that Amazon is charging and was pleasantly surprised that the Aldi price was about 60% what you pay for an equivalent product from Amazon. What tends to ‘go’ on these tubs are the handles, particularly if you snatch at the handle when full.

Well, we knew that the weather was going to worsen today and so it did. To be honest, it was not universally bad but one of those days when there is a sharp shower following by an intense burst of sunshine. Knowing how variable the weather is, Meg and I decided to take the option of collecting the newspaper by car, which we did. Then we drove to the top entrance of the park and made our way to our normal bench. Needless to say, the park was bereft of children, dogs, dog walkers and the like and only the most foolhardy of walkers ventured out. But no sooner had we sat down than we were assailed by an icy blast with a considerable wind chill factor – accordingly, we drank our coffee as quickly as possible and then immediately struck for home. We had a curry meal in the freezer so we supplemented this for our midday meal.

This afternoon, I intended to go out and do a little ‘finishing off’ of the border I had cleared yesterday. No sooner did I look out of the window after lunch, though, but a snow shower hove into view which was eventually followed by some bright sunshine. So I had to wait until a suitable moment came along when I judged that the showers had now passed us by. What I had in mind to do today was to take yesterday’s border and creae a deep ‘V’-shaped edge to it by taking a spade- full of earth and then throwing it forwards rather than just turning it over. This way, in theory, you end up with a fairly deep ‘edge’ to the border in which any grass cutting from the lawn shears falls into the ‘base’of the ‘V’ from whence they do not have to be collected but can just be pushed down into the soil by the lawn shears where they will rot. If this sounds complicated, it is because I am always trying to develop techniques which, in the long term will both save time and does not add unnecessarily to the organic matter to be thrown away. The second little task I did this afternoon was to take a trusted and very light weight push mower and to do the ‘fiddly’ areas around bushes and the border edge itself so that, when I do the main mowing tomorrow, the task will be so much easier. The theory of this is fine if the grass is relatively short (which it is not, just yet) and if the grass is not too wet and ‘clingy’. As it was, the task proved a little bit harder today than I had bargained for but as a ‘dual-cut’ technique, it seemed to work very well when it was difficult to heave the very heavy battery-driven model of lawn mower I once had through tight and fiddly spaces. I suspect that my task may have been made slightly more difficult because one of the lightweight mower’s roller adjustment screws seems to have gone AWOL (in other words dropped off) so given a few spare minutes, I shall have to see if this can be fixed somehow.

There is a certain ‘gung-ho!’ atmosphere in the media tonight with reports that the war in the Ukraine may be approaching a turning point as it appears evident that Putin may well have overreached himself. There are multiple stories to the effect that Putin faces a mutinous army and a cadre of officials who dare not speak ‘truth to power’. But I suspect that many of these stories are part of a ‘psychological ops’ campaign by the west. The difficulties in ejecting the Putins of this world from power are immense (think of Robert Mugabwe in Zimbabwe) and I personally think we would all be better off if we were to think of a campaign in the Ukraine which might be a long war of attrition that last months or years rather than weeks.