Friday, 4th November, 2022

[Day 963]

Today had been forecast as the finest day of the week which was just as well giving that I wanted to give the lawns their last cut of the season this afternoon and for this, I certainly needed a fine day. Meg and I had quite a busy morning because there were a collection of things we needed to get done on the High Street. Having picked up my newspaper, our first port of call was Waitrose in search of eggs that were unavailable in our regular supermarket yesterday. To my pleasant surprise, Waitrose seemed qute well supplied with eggs and there did not seem to be an evident panic to buy the available stock so perhaps our experience of yesterday was just a ‘one-off’. Then we went looking for the stall that is normally there on Tuesdays and Fridays where the stallholder sells leather goods, watches, watch straps and watch batteries. I was disappointed not to find her and, having used her for years, hope that she has not ceased trading. So then I proceeded to our next port of call which was to buy some cosmetics at a shop which also sells lady’s knee-highs of which I needed a supply for Meg. Fortunately, what we particularly wanted they had in stock so we purchased what we needed and proceeded to a pharmacist at the far end of the High Street. As our normal pharmacy could not supply some medication for Meg which the doctor had prescribed, a community pharmacist attached to the doctor’s practice had rung around to find some supplies for us and had issued a new prescription and all we needed to do was to collect this. On the way back, we called in at our usual cobbler’s shop which sells watch straps and watch batteries and had a new watch strap fitted, the previous one having dropped to pieces. It has been quite disconcerting to go around with my watch in my pocket rather than on my wrist so now it is almost back to normal. On our way down the High Street, we popped into an Age Concern shop which is selling recycled and reconditioned furniture so this is always worth keeping a eye as I am looking for a small but elegant corner table upon which to place a corner light in our hall. This place in the hall took over from the Christmas tree last year and it will be not too long before the season starts again but I refuse to contemplate anything ‘Christmassy’ until the month of December is upon us. When we got to the park, we felt well in need of our coffee and we were delighted to be soon joined by our University of Birmingham friend which is quite a typical pattern for Fridays. Our friend had joined a University of the Third Age (U3A) goup in Kidderminster and had joined a discussion on ‘Moral Mazes’ (after the Radio4 program of the same name, I wonder?) Recently, the group had been discussing the role of grandparents in families and I was reminded of the role of the community at large. In particular, I rather like the expression originating from the Indian culture that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and I reminisced about the time when Meg and I lived in Hampshire and bought a house in a cul-de-sac in which there several childrn aged 3-11 or thereabouts and the parents seemed to take a collective approach to the children’s activities – for example supplying a plaster and a bit of parental support if a child had had a tumble from their bike. I shared with our friend the anguish that I feel that some grandparents must feel if their own offspring divorce and separate and contact with beloved grandchildren is lost if they move away or are absorbed into their ‘new’ families. Under these circumstances, I suspect that grandparents have very few, if any, legal rights and these might be difficult to enforce.

Meg and I had a fairly rapid lunch because I was anxious to make a start on the grass mowing in plenty of time. We had made a risotto out of some basa fillets which I had steamed and then cooked with a cauliflower (=low calorie) rice, tarted up with a bit of seafood sauce as an experiment. After lunch, Meg and I had a wonderful half hour or so relaxing in our newly created ‘relaxation’ space where we put on Brahm’s Requiem and just dozed with the strains of the music coming over us in waves. Then it was time to jump and start mowing and everything went to plan – the grass had certainly grown apace in just the last two weeks. Halfway through, our next door neighbour emerged for a chat and it was good to get his latest news. He is recovering from having three stents inserted into an heart artery by an eminent visiting Japanese surgeon and is making good progress so far. The mowing having completed, I got the residual petrol emptied and this season’s oil removed in record time and was mightily relieved to get my trusty machine put to bed for another winter’s rest before we start again next March.