Saturday, 16th April, 2022

[Day 761]

We awoke to a beautiful spring day and the promise of fine weather all day long. After we had breakfasted, I collected the newspaper from the newsagent by car and then Meg and I decided to make the best of the beautiful weather by strolling down to the park. We met our two regular friends in the park, our University of Birmingham friend as well as Seasoned World Traveller and we spent some time talking about films that had impressed us as well as other things. Eventually, it was time for us to leave so having drunk our coffee and had a good chat, we made our way up the hill to home. On the way, we espied our Italian friend who was busy mowing her front lawn but as it was such a lovely day, she stopped and we had another chat. When we got home, we had a lunch of quiche and prepared ourselves for some gemtle gardening this afternoon. Before I actually started what I wanted to do, I ‘restored’ to good health a very useful and heavy tool which almost defies description. It has a thick triangular head and Amazon have two tools which approximate to it. One they call a ‘Root Breaker’ for fairly obvious reasons whilst the other implement is called a ‘Multi-Purpose Demolition Scraper’. I have evidently felt the need for this tool in the past when I was laying out paving stones and similar ‘heavy’ garden jobs but I have not felt the need for it for some time. Afer a bit of rust removal, sharpening and conditioning with WD-40, it was ready to be put to work. I intend to use it to get a nice vertical ‘drop’ in the long border where the communal grassed area abuts my newly created vegetable bed. The idea behind all of this is that I can do a quick ‘whiz’ up and down the border each week and do not have to bother about any grass clippings as they can be pushed towards the bottom of the ‘V’ recently created and they will then rot down. Whilst I was at it, I used my sharpening tool on the new lawn edger I purchased from Wilco last week as well as my trusty side shears. Armed with these newly sharpened and oiled tools, I then put some finishing touches to the long edge I have in the front of the house. I must say I was very impressed by the Wilco tool which I bought (manufactured in India). One of the reviews I read was from a professional gardener who reckoned it was the best of its type and he has used several over the years. I was very pleased that the tool really lived up to its promise, made even sweeter by the fact that it was only about half the price of some of its competitors but with plenty of built in quality. Having done some edging and weeding around our BioDisk, I felt I had done enough for the day and retreated indoors to get a well-earned cup of tea. Perhaps it is of no surprise to learn that Miggles, our adopted cat, came along to supervise all of my activities during the afternoon to ensure that I was doing everything right. The cat has recently taken to rolling around on the newly dug soil, together with the ‘friend’ of another local cat who I have christened ‘Black Peter‘ The internet indicates that sometimes cats do his just to cool down or sometimes even to play (like children at the seaside and sand?)

I sometimes listen to ‘Any Questions‘ on Radio 4 which is first broadcast on a Friday evening and then repeated at lunchtime on a Saturday, immediately followed by members of the public phoning in to ‘Any Answers‘ broadcast immediately afterwards. One of the questions from a member of the audience to the panel was to ask ‘What is the difference between a Ukrainian fleeing Russian persecution in the Ukraine and a Syrian refugee, fleeing Russian inspired aggression in Syria?’ The simple answer, of course, is ‘None’ but in practice, one suspects that the two cases would be treated very differently by British immigration officials. One could point out that despite the surface similarities, one refugee is European and white whereas the other is Middle Eastern and non-white. I think that a United Nations report has recently highlighted the differences in outcome between the two different cases of individuals seekingg respite from Russian aggression but the whole issue gives one pause for thought.

I also came across another quite stimulating piece of political commentary that was making the case that disillusionment with the political process (in the face of evident venality, not to say mendacity and corruption) acually worked against the left – and harmed the left as much as the right. The argument is that members of the public might feel ‘Well, the other lot would be no better’ and therefore despite the recent scandals (partygate and so on), the right are not as damaged by this as you might think (and correspondingly, nor does the left profit much from it either)