Sunday, 3rd April, 2022

[Day 748]

Today was one of those bright and clear days when it had evidently been very cold overnight and there had been an air frost overnight. So it was reasonably cold when I popped down to get our Sunday newspaper before returning home in time for the Sunday politics programme. I understand that Laura Kuenssberg, the ex-chief BBC political correspondent is going to take over as the permanent presenter of this programme now that Andrew Marr has moved on. So I suppose we will have to get used to a series of political interviews in which punches get pulled and really penetrating questions are avoided. Those who do ask penetrating questions like Emma Barnett tend to get moved on. After breakfast, we decided to take the car down to the park and in the park we met with our Irish friends (who we happened to have a chat with yesterday) Having exchanged our news, we strolled up to our normal bench and drank our coffee. Then our two park friends, University of Birmingham friend and Seasoned World Traveller, hove into view and we chatted exchanging news of the week (usually a comibination of COVID news, interspersed with politics) We were joined by another couple we know well and then we made our way home for Sunday lunch. Today, I was cooking a gammon joint on the slow cooker and to complement this I prepared a carrot-and-parsnip mixture, mashed with a big knob of butter and a touch of yogurt and this all got served with some tender-stem broccoli. So although Sunday lunch always takes a little longer to prepare, we tend to take whatever joint we are having and to freeze one half of it. This way, we consume enough ‘red meat’ to keep us healthy but we keep our overall consumption within healthy limits.

After lunch, I was determined to get out and carry on with a little bit of gardening. In particular, I wanted to do another section of the lawn edging of the communal green area alongside which runs our communal roadway. The lawn edging is quite a complicated procedure and involves taking a six feet section, edging with lawn sheers, using a specialist edging tool on the ‘lawn side’ to cut off any deep roots, then utilising an old bread knife that I have saved for this particular purpose and finishing off with one of those more specialist tools used to weed in between the stones of a patio. I then finish off with the edging sheers at an almost horizontal angle and finally all of the grass cuttings are gathered up with a gloved hand. In case this sounds complicated, it is but then I tend to develop these techniques and ways of utilising my hand tools but then I forget the procedures if I have not utiised them for a year or so. In such cases, I need to do what I do when I have discovered how to do something on the computer and that is to write it down so I don’t forget it, in a specialised ‘Gardening’ book I keep for the purpose. Once I have got things put right for the season, it tends to require relatively little maintenance – tomorrow, I have the final third of the entire length to finish off.

The news from the Ukraine is particularly grim this evening. Images have emerged of Ukrainian civilians lying dead on the streets of Bucha with residents saying the victims were killed by Russian soldiers without any apparent provocation. Vladimir Putin’s forces have been accused of ‘genocide’, but Russia has denied its troops killed civilians. Bucha’s mayor, Anatoliy Fedoruk, said more than 300 residents had been killed. Ukrainian prosecutors have found 410 bodies in towns near Kyiv and 140 of them had been examined, prosecutor general Iryna Venedyktova said. Reports have indicated that some bodies have been found in which the vistims were bound hand and foot and they were then shot in the back of the head. This is undoubtedly a ‘war crime’ but who exactly gets prosecuted under these circumstances – can individuals be sought out and identified in the chain of command who could eventually be prosecuted? A lot of evidence is currently being collected to be used in evental war crime charges but I fear that it may take years (if ever) for a successful prosecution.