Monday, 13th June, 2022

[Day 819]

This morning, Meg and I spent a certain amount of time sorting out what clothes we intend to take away with us when we make our journey to North Wales starting on Wednesday. This really did take not too much sorting out as it was case of which top ‘goes with’ which skirt and we know that certain combinations work very well. So we have our Wednesday/Thursday kit sorted out as as well as our Friday/Saturday kit. According to the weather forecast, the temperature in certain parts of Englnd may well exceed that of Hawaii as it seems that a plume of hot air over Spain is being pushed northwards towards the UK. Eventually, we decided to go and collect our newspapers by car as we needed to buy a few provisions from Waitrose. Whilst there,we were tempted to buy a ‘butterfly’ mixture of seeds and bulbs for, as it happens, I just happen to have a little plot of spare land in Mog’s Den into which they can be sown. Once we got onto our bench seat, we made our number with Intrepid Octogenerian Hiker who was still completing his 9-12 kilometres a day as he has been doing for months now. We had not bumped into him for a week or so now but he still seemed hale and hearty – as always, he did not linger too long as his muscles get cold if he stops too long and he is eager to get on this way. After we had exchanged gossip with him we met a couple of our elderly Irish friends who had just returned from a cruise and I suspect might be preparing for another one. They were planning a trip down the Rhine and the tour company with which they are booked picks them up coach from Bromsgrove bus station and once their luggage is loaded, the next time they see it is when they are in their cabin in their cruise ship. To avoid all UK airports sounds fantastic so I think this may be an option well worth exploring. When we returned home, we cooked ourselves a fairly rapid midday meal of unsmoked gammon, baked potato and some Hispi cabbage and very tasty we found it.

When I was doing a tidy up of Mog’s Den yesterday, I was exploring some of the things that I had evidently rescued and after some months of benign neglect, were now busy growing away in some of the large pots I have distributed up and down the quite steep sides slopes of the den. When I examined one of the pots more closely, I realised that it was a lilac tree or bush which was about a metre tall. So I have made some space for it next to the much a larger lilac tree on the patio that was bought for me a couple of birthdays ago and which flowered for the first time this year. Apparently, it is a characteristic of lilac trees that they take about 2-3 years to flower but the specimen I have just discovered will no doubt respond to a bit of TLC, some fertiliser and a somewhat more regular watering. Later on the afternoon, our next door neighbours popped round, by arrangement, to take a spot of afternoon tea with us. We wanted to show them the correspondence into which I had entered with the solicitors of the vacant bungalow across the communal green area from us. Like us, they were fairly amazed that we should have been put to so much trouble and reinforced our own view that the solicitor should have pressed their own clients much harder to supply all of the details of the property which they were trying to sell.

Late on this afternoon, the Government has published its proposal to overturn critical parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol – an international treaty which Boris Johnson had both negotiated and agreed to. So it appears that we may be on the edge of a trade war with the EU given the plain illegality of what is being proposed. However, the UK government is arguing that the Northern Irish situation is a ‘genuinely exceptional situation’ and because of this, the UK feels it feels it can disregard a treaty which it itself had signed. One has a suspicion that all of this may be just be playing ‘hard ball’ in negotiations with the EU but the legislation will have to pass through the House of Commons first. This is by no means certain, because a significant numbers of MPs opposed to Boris Johnson many feel that this is a step too far and refuse to vote for the legislation in the Commons. Then, of course, the legislation will almost certainly fail to pass through the House of Lords. One does get the suspicion that ‘normal’ government has been suspended and that Boris Johnson will pursue whatever policies will feed the appetites of his own fervent Brexiteers. So anything that seems to pick a fight with the EU or draconian measures to deal with asylum seekers will automatically throw ‘red meat’ to whatever supporters or voters he needs for his survival.