Friday, 22nd April, 2022

[Day 767]

Today we seemed to be running a little bit late all day. Our domestic help had been delayed whilst she was taking her much beloved Jack Russell terrier to the vets where it appeared to have been poised between life and death for a few days. In the meanwhile, the vets seemed intent on suggesting more and more expensive treatments at what appeared to me to be outrageous prices but at least the dog has now rallied and seems to be intent on inhabiting the world of the living for a bit longer yet. We were just on our way out to the park when our domestic help arrived – as she and her husband had just enjoyed a wonderfuly sentimental journey back to Venice in which city they were married some 25 years ago, we had quite a lot to chat about. Eventually, though, we got down into town by car and treated ourselves to a coffee in Waitrose but unfortunately we did not bump into our former acquaintances in the coffee bar who, since the pandemic, have no doubt developed new haunts. Eventually, though, we made it home and enjoyed a wonderful lunch of smoked hake for which I have recently acquired a taste and which I buy at a ridiculously cheap price as part of my weekly Aldi shopping.

This afternoon was my regular lawn cutting day – and I still breathe a sigh of relief when my trusty petrol mower starts at one simple pull of the starter cord. Although it is not absolutely necessary, I tend to cut the lawn in one direction and then perform a second cut at right angles to the first as a kind of cross-cut. Where the wheels have traversed over the ground, they still leave behind a faint impression which gives the lawn overall a sort of vaguely striped appearance which adds to the overall manicured effect. The grass in the front of our house, when originally planted by the builder, evidently did not use some really fine lawn grass but it is what I call ‘meadow’ grass whose apppearance is enhanced by not having it cut incredibly short (and it is probably better as regards water retention and the like not to have the grass cut too short)

Boris Johnson is still hoping that a degree of bluff and bluster will see him through the latest ‘crisis’. However, one analysis has pointed out that the reference yesterday of Boris Johnson’s behaviour to the Committee on Privileges will keep the issue alive for months, whereas the PM himself is desperately trying to move the agenda onto other issues. What I think is slowly sinking in is that there are now three enquiries into Boris Johnson’s behaviour. For a start, the Met have got to complete their work and this may take some weeks more. They revealed the other day that they are not going to make any more pronouncements as to who may or may not have received a fine until after the elections on May 5th – this kicks the can down the road for another two weeks. Only then can the Sue Gray report be concluded and handed in – there may even be a delay before it gets published or see the light of day. After these two enquiries have been concluded, the Committee on Privileges will start its work but, with holiday breaks and the like, the Committee may not be able to report until the autumn. This will keep the issue alive fror about the next six months, unless other things (such as election-induced resignations) intervene.

The French presidential election seems to be heading for a fairly predictable conclusion. Marine Le Pen has failed to deliver anything approaching a knock-out blow to Emmanual Macron so the French president looks set for another term. The French electorate, given the choice between the two candidates have one who has a small minority adore (Le Pen) but who does not appeal to the centre ground whilst the other (Macron) seems to generate enthusiasm from nobody but at least they are not Le Pen. A week or so ago, it looked as though the contest was going to be very much closer than seems to be the case – on Sunday, no doubt, a predicted result will appear within seconds of the polls closing and then all be over except for the counting.

One of the pleasures of having a largish garden is that you discover things in odd places that you did not expect. Whilst I was waiting for Meg the other morning, I looked down the slope towards our fence and discovered a tree about 5′ tall I never knew I had. To be honest, when I periodically tidy up this area, if I discover a small set sapling, I tend to replant it near to the fence and then forget all about it. From the shape of the leaf I think this tree is a horse chestnut but it may be a self-set maple – when the leaves get a bit bigger, I may be able to ascertain more exactly.