Tuesday, 10th May, 2022

[Day 785]

Another beautiful spring day has dawned but as it is my Pilates class today, the schedule of the morning’s activities has to be carefully managed. After collecting the newspaper by car, Meg and I started a fairly gentle walk to the park. On the way down, we were delighted to bump into our Italian friend and we stayed chatting for several minutes, swapping tips and hints about to keep our patios in good condition. When we got down to the park, we had hoped to meet up with our University of Birmingham friend but it was not to be today. So we had a pleasant drink of our coffee and a pleasant stay in the warm sunshine before we made our way up to the hill to home. Then I changed into my track suit bottoms and proceeded down the hill again walking to my Pilates class. It has become a tradition in our little class that in every six week session, we have two sessions of relaxation for a few minutes at the end of our routines, typically in week 3 and week 6. However, if it is your birthday (or even birthday week) then for a special treat, an additional relaxation session is provided as a type of birthday treat from the rest of the group. As it is my birthday tomorrow, we enjoyed our little relaxation at the end of our session today and, in return, some cup cakes were distributed to my fellow class members, as well as some gluten-free cookies for my Pilates teacher. On my way home, I popped into Waitrose and there I presented myself at the Help Desk and managed to reclaim the £10.00 note which had been retrieved from the nether regions of the conveyor belt leading to one of the tills which I had lost yesterday. The staff and I reminded each other that tomorrow was the fifth anniversary of the opening of this particular Waitrose store, a fact that sticks in the mind as it just happens to be my own birthday as well. Five years ago, I had hoped to be the first person through the doors when the store opened – in the event, I ended up as the second as I was beaten to it by a rather pushy young woman. Then it was a walk home and the by now traditiuonal lunch on a Tuesday of haddock fish cakes which ‘do’ in the oven whilst I am doing my Pilates and can be quickly complemented by one of those vegetabke packs that can be cooked in the micrwave for about three minutes.

This afternoon, although time was a little limited, I thought I would spend a small amount of time doing some weeding at the front of the house. We have across our access road a series of large cobbles which technically mark the boundary between our own property and the roadways accessed by all of the houses in the Close. This task was not particularly difficult but I am determined not to injure my back by over-much bending. Accordingly, i sort of ‘lay’ on my side on the ground from which position I could quickly attack the weeds I wisjed to remove. As I was just about completing my task, my neighbour approached in his car (we often swing our cars into each other’s space so that we can reverse into our own properties, thus enabling us to drive out forwards the next time we use the car). When I saw my neighbour’s car approaching, I thought for a moment that he was not going to be able to stop in time and I was in danger of being run over. I jumped up to get out of the way and when my neighbour strolled over for a chat he was laughing his head off because he had seen me in plenty of time but he reckoned he had never seen a prostrate figure get to their feet so fast in all of his life. Actually, I was glad to have a chat because my neighbour has absolutely transformed the bungalow which is next to us and has generated a whole raft of improvements both inside the house but even more outsides. He is extremely knowledgeable about gardening ‘things’ particularly when it comes to little landscaping projects so I was very pleased to be able to tap into his expertise about the most effective way to get my patio repointed/re-grouted as necessary and how he would tackly my own patio if it were his.

Today was the State Opening of Parliament which is normally the preserve of the monarch. On this occasion, the Queen had very reluctantly decided that her mobility problems meant she had to miss this occasion which has happened only twice before and that when she was pregnant. So the Queen’s speech from the throne outlining the government’s legislative programme was actually read by Prince Charles acting under ‘Letters Patent’ whilst the absent Queen was symbolised by a crown on a table placed besides Prince Charles. It was all rather poignant and certainly may be a sign that the monarchy is itself in a transitional period.