DAY 48: Thurs 30 April

Farmyard memories, then a magpie sounds the alarm for a blackbird

Feeling tired this morning. Binge watching can really take it out of you.

Hearing the the government is recruiting a ‘land army’ of students and furloughed workers to help pick fruit and vegetables took me back to my teen years when I used to work on local farms during holidays. Back-breaking work, and more skilled than you might imagine. And it was ‘piece work’ then so you were paid by results. I never made much money, and you were under cosh a bit. 

I lost my job after a most unfortunate incident. It was raining hard so we were confined to the barns and given odd jobs to do. Mine was loading the muckspreader which traversed the ploughed fields to fertilise them for the next seasonal crop. I had to empty sacks of vegetable waste into the foul-smelling machine. Unfortunately the stacks of sacks all looked the same, to me. I must admit I was rather surprised to be pouring freshly picked peas into the muck-spreader. So was the ganger. |I was off the farm instantly, never to return, his raucus, foul-mouthed advice as to what I could do with the rest of my life ringing in my ears as I made my way soddenly home.

On a cheerier note, a delivery of salad stuff from my son’s partner came mid morning. It was the first time I have seen her in weeks. So delighted was I to see her that I completely forgot I had a half a dozen fresh eggs to give her.

The big surprise on the day the doughty Captain Tom Moore gets a promotion (will that mean an increase in his pension?) on his 100th birthday, was that the government admitted it won’t hit the 100,000 coronavirus tests per day we were promised by now. The surprise was their admission; I doubt that many people ever had much confidence this government would meet their target.

While the bedraggled chickens wandered disconsolately around in the rain, I escaped to the greenhouse, my shed of choice, to do some repotting. Another avoidance mechanism while the unkempt living room made its baleful presence felt. I was met by FOUR artichoke hearts which are threatening to take over the place. 

Made up some hanging baskets but returned to the house as it felt like my blood pressure was again. It was a bit, and the tinnitus was loud too. Hmmm. What will bring it down? Housework. reading, more binge-watching?  I know, once I’ve done the lunchtime reading to my grandsons, I’ll bake a coffee cake. 

As I try to Skype the boys the internet goes down. Frantic phone calls come to nothing. Then there is a sudden commotion in the garden. The chicken are clearly upset so maybe it’s a cat or a fox. I rush out to find an extraordinary sight. A blackbird has got caught in the bird proof netting – and a magpie is flapping its wings nearby clearly screeching in distress, as if to call for help.

The blackbird is none to thrilled with my attempt to extricate him, and pecks at me with its sharp yellow beak. When eventually I get him free he flies INTO the fruit and veg enclosure  and immediately gets tangled in the netting at the far end. Luckily releasing him was easier this time but I have to make sure no more birds get caught while aiming to feed from the fruit bushes. I have some sparkly strips which are supposed to have the desired effect, and hang them at either end of the enclosure. Hopefully this will do the trick. 

By then my blood pressure was up again, and the internet seemed to have come back on.  I was at last able to spend a late lunchtime with the boys; a bit of reading, some chatting, and we shared some music.

Troubled by slightly high blood pressure all afternoon, but I did manage to make a coffee cake. Eating it is unlikely to help reduce the pressure. 

Some automated twat called me just after six from 0208 156 5386 (allegedly an incorrect number) to inform me that she had learned I had recently been in a car accident… I countered with a burst of profanity as usual. When will these bastards pack it in? Neither decency nor good timing.

Bell ringing, clapping, and drumming for the NHS all the way down the street at 8, and up at the upper end there was a sing song and delivery of a huge cake to celebrate a birthday! But it’s cold out there this evening.

After Iftar I shall sink into the sofa to finish off (disappointing) DEVS. I am onto dour wit merits 8 epidohsdem unless something is coming that we haven’t learned so far. Then an early night, perhaps?

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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