17 July 2022

Scorcio – it’s been a hot one with more forecast to come this week. The temperature has been in the mid to high 20s C but we are expecting 30o today and 38o (104o F) on Monday and Tuesday! The Met office has even issued an amber warning for heat indicating a threat to life! Scorcio Maximo!

We had some excellent visitors last weekend – we welcomed my niece Karin, her husband Zach and their two splendid children for an overnighter on Saturday. They were in town for a wedding in London and came to us from a week in Greece and Crete. It was lovely to have them even if their visit was decidedly too brief, especially when their arrival in the UK from Crete was delayed by a couple of hours.

Adam, Ava and the girls came over on Sunday and Jessie had great fun with her two new cousins. The weather was absolutely fantastic, Penelope prepared a simple Michelin-starred meal, and we were so pleased to have made it on to their shortlist of things to do in the UK, especially when they had so many other things to see and do and friends to meet.

Wednesday brought the next stage of the continuing (and continual) maintenance at Penelope’s Pleasure Palace. We’re tackling two jobs on this occasion – repointing the brick wall on the utility room and Penelope’s Workshop (which is, of course, now Daisy’s room). This particular wall has been patched and repointed many times as the use of the buildings has evolved. Hence there is a variety of mixture of mortars as well as a significant section where the rain and presumably a faulty gutter has resulted in there being no mortar at all! The mortar here has now been completely raked out and this week they will start the repointing. Oh my goodness, it’s a dusty messy business.

The other job they are doing on this occasion is up on the main roof – repointing and redoing the flashing on the three main chimneys. One of the chimneys in particular is letting damp into one of the bedrooms – it doesn’t come gushing in but the wallpaper peels and it’s clear there’s been some damp there. Hopefully, this will fix it all and should be quick – just over a week they reckon. So, on Thursday and Friday we had scaffolders all day erecting a very substantial construction at the front of the house. Typical, though – in spite of the fact that the builder had spoken with the scaffolders and agreed what was required, when they got here the scaffolders realised this was a much bigger job than they had anticipated and that they would need many more poles and planks than they had planned. Still, it surely wouldn’t be a proper building job if it didn’t take twice as long as it should!

Friday evening we had an outing with one set of our lovely neighbours – we went to see Richard III at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford which was very good.

As I was watching the play I was struck by the similarity of Richard III’s career path and that of our soon to be gone (although not soon enough) Prime Minister. Both were/are delusional and have an overwhelming sense of entitlement. Their “destiny” was to become King/Prime Minister and it didn’t matter who they killed/stabbed in the back or threw under the bus. Then, when they reached the top both proved incapable of governing.

We’re [almost] never disappointed at the RSC – astonishingly good acting and marvellous productions which always set you buzzing when you exit the theatre. I did say “almost” never disappointed as we did endure one show there which was dire. It wasn’t Shakespeare but one year the RSC ran a season of Spanish plays in the Swan theatre – we had been to one which was fantastic and arranged to go to another in the series with my sister and her husband on one of their visits. We should have suspected something was up when we arrived – the theatre was three-quarters empty which doesn’t usually happen with productions there. At the interval just about everyone else left – I seem to remember that by the end of the show the audience was down to about a dozen members. It was absolutely awful – we felt so sorry for the cast who were trying their best but were flogging the dead horse that this play had become.

And speaking of which, this week’s YCNMIU moment comes courtesy of that self-same “soon to be gone” Prime Minister. Instead of attending an emergency climate/weather cabinet meeting this week to discuss the current heatwave emergency, he decided to stay at Chequers, the PM’s grace and favour country residence, to plan for a party today to thank his supporters. His petulant narcissism on full display – it’s always all about Boris.

The knowledge of my expertise at Pergola building is seemingly becoming increasingly widespread – I’ve spent this weekend helping Nick build one on his new patio! This too was designed by Adam but on a somewhat smaller scale than the one he designed for our patio. It will be great and will no doubt provide a suitable venue for many a happy barbeque.

I’ve been making (somewhat) steady progress along my virtual Tour de France ride – I completed Stage 7 (of twenty-one) on Thursday, from Tomblaine to La Super Planche des Belles Filles. Unfortunately, the “proper” tour completed Stage 7 about a week ago – they went past me so quickly I didn’t even notice, except for the wind as they shot past me like a rocket.

And finally, Happy Birthday to our Adam (and to my niece Lisa) both of whom celebrate their birthdays today! Many happy returns!

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, be careful, wear a f**king facemask in crowded places and keep your distance. And keep safe. And be gentle to wasps and bees.

Lots of love to you all,

Greg

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