9 August 2020

Phew – Scorcio!

Another very pleasant week and then another scorching heatwave for the weekend – lovely if it weren’t for all those brainless zombies who flock to the crowded beaches to spread Covid-19 amongst themselves.

We took advantage of the lovely weather on Friday to host Nick, Lucy and Annabelle for a very pleasant barbeque – Sandy’s salmon with pesto for the fish-eaters amongst us and chicken with or without pesto for those who are not that keen on fish. Amy potatoes and Penny’s courgette and haloumi fritters – oh my goodness, what a feast.

The weather was scorching hot but as we were more or less finishing, we had a brief and very sparse sprinkling of enormously large raindrops. It felt as if it wanted to pour it down with thunder and lightning but all we got was a bit of a splash. Nevertheless, Annabelle raced inside to ask Alexa to play “Singing in the Rain” and she gave us her own interpretation of Gene Kelly’s classic routine.

No large rain puddles to stamp in and no street lamp to swing around but otherwise it was excellent.

And since we have some photos of Annabelle this week, how about a photo of Jessie and Max? Why not?

Earlier in the week we had a minor disaster in the orchard. I think I may have written previously about the outstandingly bumper crops of apples and plums we’ve been looking forward to. Whatever combination of warm sunshine and rain we had in the spring was clearly just about perfect. The cherries, which we enjoyed a month or so ago, were more abundant than ever before and the plums and apples were heading in the same direction. You can perhaps imagine our dismay, then, when we ventured up the garden to find that one of the plum trees had lost two branches due to the excess weight of the produce.

Quel désastre!

The fine weather has provided the opportunity for a few good bike rides. As I said last time, no need to repeat the Alp-like ascents of last week’s foolish off-piste adventure.

I am approaching the end of the English stages of my virtual Land’s End to John o’ Groats expedition. I am just north of Lancaster, about half way between Lancaster and Carlisle. But look at that ascent I have to climb from about Km 125 to 138. I thought I did those last week!

Nick, who has been doing the trip “with me” reckons that he’s almost finished. He hasn’t totted up his mileage recently but he gets out more frequently than I do and tends to go further each time. I guess he can just about see the finish.

A couple of items from the always amusing and often-times baffling “You Couldn’t Make It Up!” Department:

The UK has purchased the wrong kind of satellites! Apparently, when the UK finally leaves the EU at the end of the year, we will lose access to the Galileo satellite system which we use for navigation. In other words, our SatNavs will stop working! So, rather than negotiate with the hated enemy, the UK has purchased a stake in OneWeb, a bankrupt US company which produces satellites which are launched into low Earth orbit and which are designed to provide internet access in remote areas. The idea is that somehow, in the next five months, the UK can completely redesign the satellites to provide SatNav capabilities as well as remote internet access.

“The fundamental starting point is, yes, we’ve bought the wrong satellites,” said Dr Bleddyn Bowen, a space policy expert at the University of Leicester.

So, that’s another £500 million spaffed up the wall.

And then this week it was announced that the government purchased 50 million face masks from a firm which describes itself as “a family office focused on a broad investment strategy.” Their main business is “currency trading, offshore property, and private equity and trade financing.”

What could possibly go wrong?

Basically, the facemasks are not fit for purpose.

It turns out that the deal was put together by a government trade adviser who also, coincidentally, happens to be on the board of the company involved, Ayanda. Another £250 million down the drain.

Nope, you couldn’t make it up!

And finally, another one of those unwittingly embarrassing use of “foreign” words as a brand name – read it, but only if you have a relatively strong stomach.

And finally, finally, not one but two birthdays today. So, Happy Birthday to my great niece, Azaela and to my youngest sister, Sarah. Many, many happy returns! And, while we’re at it, a Happy Birthday to my brother Sandy, Azaela’s grandfather, whose birthday is on Saturday. So much celebrating to do!

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating as much as you can, wear a facemask when you go out and keep your distance. And keep safe.

Lots of love to you all,

Greg

 

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