Monday, 23rd May, 2022

[Day 798]

Today was an indeterminate sort of day with us being unsure how the weather was going to pan out. We knew that we were going out to tea later on in the afternoon so I shot into town to collect our newspaper and to pop into Waitrose where I needed to buy a little ‘prezzie’ for later on this afternoon. At the same time, I shot into Poundland in order to replace the dog-collar which I have mislaid. In case the question arises why I should require a dog-collar (i.e. something to put round a dog’s neck rather than a clerical garment) the explanation is as follows. When I walk down to the park every day, I carry our flask of coffee and other comestibles in my trusty rucksack. This has a slight tendency for the straps to slip off my shoulders, particularly if I am wearing something remotely shiny. The solution to this is to have small leather strap that ties together the two straps so that they do not have a tendency to wander. I have used a specimen of dog-collar bought from Poundland some months ago but it has gone ‘walk about’ so I needed to replace it. The new one works just about fine and it means that it is easier for Meg to link arms with me and not fall when we walk down the road. The park, as we suspected, was pretty deserted and so we were not surprised to see only one of our regular acquaintances. Then we made our way homewards, preparing a fairly lightish kind of lunch as we suspected that our calorie count was going to be radically increased this afternoon. Just before lunch, I spent about 20 minutes pruning back some of the errant branches of an Elaeagnus shrub which stands at the corner of our roadway and is threatening to get well and truly out of hand. My neighbour and I are going to tackle it properly when he returns from holiday but in the meanwhile, I snipped back some of the branches that vehicles were likely to brush against if no action had been taken. I kept all of the branches in a fairly neat pile at the corner of our communal grassed area and tomorrow, presuming the weather is fine, I will wheel up our garden refuse bin and chop the branches into smaller pieces in order to dispose of them.

This afternoon we went out to tea with the French widow with whom we have become friendly in the last year or so. At the same time, our two lots of Catholic friends who are very near neighbours were invited along side so we formed a merry little group of six. Our French friend had hoped that we could have a nice little party outside but it started to spatter with rain so our friend had moved to ‘Plan B’. She has a double length garage but the portion nearest to the garden has been made into a sort of garden room so we all sat down for tea inside the house as it were. We had a lot of jolly conversation and as our friends had just returned from Oberammergau in Austria, we had a lot of travellers’ tales. Meg and I had gone down the road by car which is just as well because shortly before our tea was concluded, the heavens opened and we had the kind of downpour you typically associate with May/June. No doubt the gardens will appreciate all of this water and I was glad that I had got my outdoor jobs done before the heavens opened. When we got home, I assembled the parts to a 36″ soft brush to which I have treated myself. This should help to make short work of keeping our newly refurbished patio in good nick as well as the never-ending job of keeping the holly leaves at bay which fall at the front of the house.

Tonight a photo has seen the light of day which shows Boris Johnson with glass held aloft evidently making a toast at one of the Downing Steet ‘parties’ The other faces have been blanked out but it is evident that social distancing is not being observed. Moreover, this photo has emerged at one of the gatherings when Boris Johnson had categorically told the House of Commons that no party had taken place for the date in question. Whether this photograph is one of those which may well be published in the Sue Gray report when it sees the light of day is unclear at this point. However, when matched up with Boris Johnson’s categorical denial that such an event had taken place, then this is the nearest to a ‘smoking gun’ to have emerged so far. There is an interesting observation in The Times today which indicates that junior staff were told to be truthful when questioned by the Met and were subsequently fined whereas some of their superiors and their political masters were much less forthcoming and tightlipped on the advice of Conservative party lawyers on the assumption that the Met would have to go after them which they generally did not. So many of the senior staff seem to have got away scot-free.