12 July 2020

It’s Week 18 of our own, self-imposed lockdown and, to be fair, we’re not really completely locked down any more. In any event, the government tells us that it’s all over and we should go out, shop lots and eat and drink our way to prosperity. They’re even going to give us a £10 discount if we go out for dinner at participating restaurants on Monday to Wednesday (Terms and Conditions apply). Somehow, I think my health and safety is worth somewhat more than £10.

It’s been a wet and blustery week for the most part. Only one cycle ride and even then the wind blew in my face the whole way round. Why is that? I’d like to think it’s because I cycle so fast that, even though the wind is pushing me along from the back, I am going at such a speed that I scythe through the wall of air in front of me. Yes, I know – not very likely.

We did manage a couple of tromps across the fields – we went back to Edgcote for a nice stroll but the poppies are, sadly, all gone apart from a few straggly remnants. The barley fields up Plumpton Lane, on the other hand, are at a glorious stage – they really are “Fields of Gold” at the moment.

As I said, we’ve not really been locked down and have enjoyed a couple of outings. On Tuesday we meandered down towards Cirencester to visit our dear friends Dave and Sue Walton in their new home which is marvellous. A lovely, spacious house with a fantastic garden overlooking a field and then some Cotswold hills. I have to say, they’ve done even worse than we did in “down-sizing”. The house is larger than their previous one and the garden is easily ten times what they had before. Never mind, lockdown has enabled them to crack on with transforming the garden. They’ve planted an allotment’s worth of vegetables, built a chicken run for their resident egg-layers and transformed the bottom of the garden into a wild flower meadow which is just gorgeous. I’m sorry I didn’t take any pictures.

Last night we were out for another “Not a Pub Night” at some neighbours a few doors down. As always, a lovely, socially-distanced opportunity for a few drinks and catching up with folks.

Tomorrow we’re off out again, this time to the Cotswold Lavender Fields near Snowshill in the Cotswolds where we’ll be meeting up with Nick, Lucy and Annabelle. We were there several years ago and it is simply stunning. Fields and fields of lavender of all different shades and scents. As you would expect they make all sorts of lavender products which, in normal times, they would sell in their onsite shop. That’s still closed so it’s online only.

This coming Tuesday we are off on a Garden Club outing to Admington Hall Gardens near Shipston which I mentioned last time. We’ll all make our own way there and enjoy a socially-distanced wander round. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

And then on Wednesday we are off for four nights in a National Trust cottage near Ripon on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Lots to see and do in the area which we are looking forward to all of which means almost certainly there will not be an edition of the Picayune next week. Sorry/You’re welcome.

Our gym will be reopening at the end of July – they sent us a nice email saying how excited they were to be able to welcome us back. Thankfully, they also included a link so that we could “freeze” our memberships if we didn’t quite feel comfortable yet. I’ve frozen mine.

A splendid collection of things to see online from the What’s On Stage website. Have a look – it is a magnificent assortment of really interesting shows and performances.

In spite of the “not great” weather this week, the garden keeps producing. This was yesterday’s harvest. And don’t be fooled by the relative scarcity of the courgettes – Penny put a box full of excess courgettes out on the bench in front of our house (and there were loads more than in this photo) – free to a good home. The neighbours made good use of them and even “thanked” us on Facebook. I am trying to encourage her to do the same with the abundance of kale she has grown.

And finally, another video from Andrew Cotter, Olive and Mabel – this time, what went on behind the scenes.

See you week after next (probably). Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating, wear a facemask and keep safe.

Lots of love to you all,




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