Friday, 3rd June, 2022

[Day 809]

Today was scheduled to be quite a heavy gardening day because we knew that the weather was going to be fine and a Jubilee bank holiday meant that nobody was going to work. There were two tasks scheduled for today and my son and daughter-in-law had very kindly volunteered to get stuck into what you might call ‘once in a year’ tasks. My son had volunteered to clear out the gutters on our dormer bungalow as the east facing side of the house always seems to generate a lot of moss much of which detaches and finds its way into the gutters. Without periodic cleaning this would create problems for when we have heavy rainfall which is, of course, quite common at this time of year. So whilst my son busied himself clearing out the gutters, my daughter-in-law had brought along her battery operated hedge trimmers to trim the hedge that we had planted around the BioDisk some fourteen years ago now. The hedge is probably about 20 metres around but is a metre and a half high and the same width. We had it massively pruned back about a year or so ago but consequently, it has gone really thick and bushy evidently relishing being pruned. Whilst the cutting job is arduous enough, the real work is in the clearing up. One garden wheelie bin was vey quickly filled up and we then used our garden rakes to fill about half a dozen large, heavy duty plastic sacks to take the rest. However, armed with copious cups of tea and a really fine morning, we got the job completed relatively quickly so now to have to choose an opportunity to dispose of the clippings. It might be worth a trip to the domestic tip even though it is some 5-6 miles distant but otherwise we will see if we persuade other neighbours to accept some of our excess when the gardening wheelie bins get collected in another ten day’s time. After a salad lunch, it was time to do the routine lawn cutting which is a job generally reserved for Fridays. At about half past two, there was a most tremendous roar overhead so I rushed out into the open to see if I could spot what aircraft was going overhead. It was pretty cloudy when I heard the sound so I did not manage to spot anything. I have done a quick search on the web which details a lot of the flypasts that are taking place this Jubilee weekend. Yesterday, though, I think I missed a Lancaster and possibly a Hurricane and a Spitfire which were on their way to a Midland airshow yesterday afternoon – the flypast was when I was walking down to Bromsgrove and I did not notice anything yesterday.

I must say that having two Bank Holidays on a Thursday and a Friday before a weekend rather plays havoc with one’s sense of time. I had the feeling all day that today is a Saturday and not a Friday. Thinking how the present Jubilee celebrations have been planned for quite some time now, I wonder whether anything is being planned for the 70th anniversary of the Coronation in 2023 i.e. next year. Of course, too much advance planning might be difficult as the Queen may not survive that long. But her mother lived to be 101 so perhaps genetics is on her side. As a child, I seem to remember painting in lots of illustrations of the Coronation coach which is how they used to entertain us in primary schools in 1953 and make us anticipate the event.

There is a sort of moratorium on political activity this weekend as I suspect that politicians themselved want to engage with their local communities and overt politicking might seem to be counterproductive. No doubt, on Monday morning or whenever the Commons resume, politics will resume with a vengeance. Some commentators believe that the challenge to Boris Johnson may come in the next week whilst others think many MP’s will stay their hand until the results of the two by-elections to be held on Thursday, June 23rd (Wakefield, Tiverton and Honiton). But when Boris Johnson and his wife arrived at St.Pauls today, then Sky News reports that the PM was greeted with a mixture of ‘boos and cheers’. But if you listen to the clip on Sky News, then it appears that there was probably four to one in favour of the boos. The only other PM I can recall being booed in this way was Tony Blair addressing the Women’s Institute, mis-cuing the tone of what needed to be said and then faced with a completely hostile audience and a slow hand clap. Tony Blair should have made his speech totally non-political but he viewed this as a potential platform for a relaunch of Labour’s policies with disastrous consequences.

Rather late in the day, some accounts are now emerging of the violence inflicted at the ill-fated final in Paris between Real Madrid and Liverpool. UEFA have now issued a formal apology to both clubs as it has emerged that there appeared to be groups of 30 men, running around in big packs. Some of them had weapons: machetes, knives, bars and bats. People were being pinned to the floor and having their watches taken.