Monday, 4th April, 2022

[Day 749]

Meg and I both slept in this morning for a reason we cannot discern – after our early morning cup of tea, we both fell asleep again for about three quarters of an hour. I tell myself we must have both needed the sleep. The day opened as a ‘grizzly’ kind of day with a sort of sky I would describe as ‘glowering’. Meg was not feeling too well this morning so after our cooked breakfast, I walked down to collect the newspaper on my own. Afterwards, I took the opportunity to pop into Waitrose because there were several things that we can only buy at Waitrose so we have to do without until I make a special trip. So I lugged a bag of fairly heavy shopping up the hill and was pleased to get home and have a nice, but delayed, cup of coffee. As I have almost finished my big edging job, I am motivated to keep this edge to the lawn in good condition so I went on the web and treated myself to what is described as ‘Long handled patio weeding knife’. Although I could have bought cheaper I ensured that I bought myself with a long handle (160cm), from a recognised make (Kent and Stowe) and with a warranty that they say lasts for 10 years. The point about the long handle is that I know from experience you get a lot of leverage and it saves a lot of back-bending – I am hopeful that because of its design and quality, all I have to do on a weekly or fortnightly routine is to pull the knife immediately adjacent to the kerbing and I should be able to maintain the edge in pristine condition right throughout the growing season. I started to wonder whether I had any tools that would assist me in this task and I knew that several years ago, frustrated by several long handled tools that keep falling over in the box in the garage in which they were located. I had bundled several of these tools toegther with some tree ties and generally forgot about them. When I examined this bundle again this morning, I discovered a wonderful implement I never knew I had. I have no idea what this kind of implement is called but from a basic ‘L’ shape there is the equivalent of a half circle removed (approximately orange size) but with a sharp edge. I suspect that this implement is designed to pull through the ground and to slice through small but hidden roots but this is only a conjecture. I took this newly discovered implement and together with a small, liberated hoe and my trusty garden edge shears I gave them all a good cleanup with a brillo pad, then an oiling with WD-40 type oil to keep rust at bay and finally gave them all on a sharpen using a Spear and Jackson ‘5-in-1’ blade garden blade sharpening tool. This latter even had a tiny phial of a specialised rust-resisting oil complete with applicator sponge that resides within the body of the tool itself and is accessed by a plastic screw. I think the idea is that any tiny shards of metal created by the sharpening process can be wiped away and the oil keeps your tool in a rust free condition.

Whilst thinking about keeping my tools in good conditiion, I reminded myself when I used to teach sociology to College of Education students from 1969-1971. As it transpired, lecturing was quite a disconcerting experience for me as I taught in the college’s one tiered lecture theatre in which even the first row was a step above ground level. This was the hey-dey of the miniskirt and every single teenage girl wore one – but what was especially disconcerting was that as each girl occupied a seat and then crossed her legs (which they all seemed to do) then by looking straight ahead of me I could see the colour of each pair of knickers all across the front row. It is slightly difficult to explain Marx’s theory of dialectic materialism when faced with this distraction. On one occasion, I was letting a bit of social anthropology creep into a lecture and was desperate to avoid the use of the use of words ‘tool’. Eventually hesitating when I wanted to use the word and substituting ‘implement’ or a similar synonym my mind raced ahead of me and I thought that I had better grasp the bull by the horns as it were. So I thought I had better say the word ‘tool’ at some point – what came out ‘And so there is a general cultural prohibition of handling the tools of the opposite sex’. I may have giggled or smiled just after I said it, but what ensued was a pandemonium of laughter from which it took minutes to recover.

On a more serious note, I did finish all of my edging including cutting the grass back from two access manhole covers associated with our BioDisk system which I need to keep clear of grass and weeds in case the maintenance engineer needs to lift either of these covers to inspect the correct workings of the system.