15 August 2021

A tolerably tolerable week. We’ve had some decent enough sunshine with pleasingly pleasant temperatures, some rain and drizzle, some light breezes but nothing too extreme in either direction. Seems fair to me.

We had glorious outing on Tuesday to Pettifers in Wardington, just a couple of miles from here. It’s funny – we’ve driven past this house on dozens of occasions and had no idea of the splendour hiding behind nor any idea that it was a garden which occasionally opened its gates to the curious public.

Of course, we were there courtesy of the splendid organising committee of the Moreton Pinkney Garden Club. We had an introduction by Polly, the head gardener (I think she’s the only gardener which clearly makes her the head gardener as well as sub-gardener and general labourer). After her five-minute introduction we were free to explore at our own pace.

The garden is on the side of a gentle sloping hill and, as a consequence, is on several levels. Apparently, the owners bought the house 35 years or so ago because of the magnificent view out the back. Although the levels were more or less in place when they bought it, there was no garden to speak of and the owners set about creating the magnificent garden which is there today. They were amateur gardeners at the beginning but were friends with the owners of Kiftsgate Garden in Gloucestershire who gave them lots of advice including the suggestion of making “rooms” in the garden and having very large borders. They’ve created “semi-rooms” in the sense that each part of the garden is self-contained but they deliberately did not create high walls or hedges to retain their stunning views. They do have some very large borders though.

As I suspected, my photos are no match to the ones I “borrowed” from their web site last week.

After tromping around the garden for about an hour and a half, we retired up the road for a cream tea at the Wardington Garden Centre Café which was splendid. Thankfully, Ms Playchute did not feel the urge to buy any more plants.

On Wednesday Penelope went across to Adam and Ava’s to look after Jess while they were both working. Meanwhile, I set to trimming the wisteria on the gable end of the house. I was about half way through when I did something stupid. Well, it wasn’t stupid until I did it, I guess, but it ended up being stupid and the result was that I gashed two of my fingers. Not life-threatening nor indeed finger-threatening but there was a copious quantity of blood and considerable “discomfort”, aka pain!

Blood dripping from both fingers, I went inside to look for some band aids. Being unable to locate any, I phoned Penelope at Adam’s to ask where I might look for some. She made the appropriate sympathetic noises and told me where to look. She explained that Jessie was drawing and before I hung up I heard her say to Jessie, “Poor Grandpa’s hurt his fingers, Jess. They’re bleeding and he needs a band aid. Would you like to say anything to him?” The reply was succinct: “No. I’m busy.”

I know where I stand.

There has been a spate of works of graffiti appearing in seaside towns in Norfolk which may or may not have been created by Banksy, the anonymous street artist.

Whether they are his or not they’re quite good fun. Unfortunately, the Lowestoft town council decided they didn’t want his rubbish making such political statements so workers were ordered to remove the scrap corrugated iron which was the “boat” for one of the pieces. Who knows how long it had been there before the council finally got around to removing it?

Too many “You Could Not Make It Up” moments this week. Even when Parliament is not in session the hits just keep on coming. One of this week’s highlights, the CEO of the North East England Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the Prime Minister which was still unanswered and unacknowledged two weeks later. In the letter he asked the Prime Minster to save the north-east from the “damage being done to our economy by Brexit.”

Many business people in the north-east tell me the only way to improve the situation is to go back into the single market. We didn’t say that in the letter because the prime minister’s dogmatic attitude to the subject told us it would fall on deaf ears.

James Ramsbotham, CEO, North East England Chamber of Commerce

He also said, “If Brexit was such a success, you would think they would be shouting it from the rooftops, but they are not.”

Quelle surprise!

And while on the subject of Brexit, someone shared this on Facebook (I think) the other day. Just for some context, the fishing industry is one which was promised all sorts of benefits from Brexit and one which has been screwed over more than most.

And this, allegedly from John Cleese:

If you’re very, very stupid, how can you possibly realise that you’re very, very stupid?

You’d have to be relatively intelligent to realise how stupid you really are.

This explains almost the entirety of Fox News.

John Cleese

Last week I shared a photo of Jessie with one of her gigantic sunflowers and mentioned that I remember a similar photo of my sister Susie and a similarly gigantic sunflower. She kindly located and shared the appropriate photo.

They seem to be of a pretty similar stature.

Today is my younger brother Sandy’s birthday. I won’t reveal his precise age but since my youngest sister Sarah achieved the big 60 last week it’s safe to assume he falls somewhere between she and me – and I’m 70! How did that ever happen?

It’s also my niece Dr Amanda’s birthday tomorrow. She’s not in her 60s. Many happy returns to the pair of them.

We’re off on Saturday for a week in Devon – looking forward to lots of sun, sand and sea (maybe).

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

Lots of love to you all,

Greg

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