DAY 50: DAY 50! (Sat 2 May)

It’s Naked Gardening Day, and I want to read a book

Had to have a few stern words with the chickens at 6 o’clock this morning; they were making such a racket. No obvious signs of a disturbance. Maybe they just wanted to make me come down to them. As soon as I did they calmed down, as if to say “See. We’ve got the power to get you out of bed”. I cannot print my reply. I did not need that.

From the state of the garden we have had a wild, wet, windy night. Sunny but chilly this morning. I made a bowl of muesli and a mug of tea and went back to bed.

Managed to break sweat with a 22 minute work out by 9:30. this morning (mustn’t over do it!). It will be a while before I get up to my 15k cycle ride and 1,000 strokes on the rowing machine which I used achieve regularly.

An interesting debate started last night on the local WhatsaApp group, about whether we should be positive and supportive or sceptical and  challenging about government claims and actions. Can (a minimum of) 27,000 deaths be considered a ’success;’ as Johnson would have us believe? And should we accept the claims that the government has exceeded its 100,000 tests per day when some 40,000 were just posted out and haven’t been taken or checked yet? In my view the government is taking us for fools. More than 40,000, possibly more than 50,000 people have now died as a result of the coronavirus, thanks largely to the government’s ineptitude. Johnson and his cronies will, of course, blame the scientists, since a government that rejected the idea of ‘experts’ now claims to be acting only on what the science tells them. 

Meanwhile it might be worth avoiding unnecessary friction with the neighbours who are planning a street party to celebrate VE day and a hoped for end of lockdown next Friday.

I anticipate that the government will try to dissuade people from breaking the lockdown for a goodly while yet, but will blame those who do for any later ‘spike‘ in infections. I do appreciate that they are now trying hard to stem the tide but they acted too late and even now have only just started thunking about recruiting tracing agents to follow up on those members of the public who test positive. Johnson’s crowd are a shower and we are stuck with them for five years unless there is an uprising.

It turned into a lovely day so I allowed myself a day off – as I have been ‘locked in’ for 50 days! 

I sat in the sun in the front garden with a good book  and watched and listened to the many birds who pass through. Pigeons are nesting in the old apple tree; a blackbird family are helping themselves to coconut fibres from the hanging baskets to make their nest. A young sparrow ignores the warnings of its mates on the roof and suns himself on a garden chair beside me. The little dunnock hops about under the shrubs, and the robin family flit around the honeysuckle looking busy. I suspect, like the blue tits, they are waiting for the fountain to switch on so they can have a cooling bath. And we appear to have a coal tit visiting. First time I have ever seen one in the garden.

A neighbour comes round for a coffee, at a safe distance, and to pick some parsley. I am able to offer her a growing plant too. We agree that the free seeds generously donated by Chiltern Seeds for the Climate Change Family Fun Day the virus caused to be abandoned, should be placed out the bench for passers-by to pick up. Almost immediately passer-by pick them up and conversations start over the garden wall.

Another neighbour comes by for a chat, and when they have all gone I try to settle down with George Alagiah’s The Burning Land, which I was hoping to finish today. But lo and behold another friend turns up for an unscheduled chat about herbal remedies and Chinese medicines. Before I‘ve begun to get my head around chakras and meridians, there is commotion in the street and there is my daughter, her husband and their two boys out for a cycle ride come to check up on the ould fella (and get some chocolate). It is a really nice surprise, which bring to an abrupt halt my seminar on alternative medicine.

When all are gone I return to my book and check some messages on my phone. It would appear that I have missed out on #NakedGardeningDay. I repaired to the back garden, and hastily put the chickens away only to find that at long last we have FIVE eggs today.

As the sun recedes I nip into the greenhouse and strip off to do the watering. I am so appalled at the state of my own body that I would never dream of inflicting it on anyone, let alone my neighbours. I must admit naked gardening may have its risks, but it feels very liberating.

At Iftar we were joined by the friend with the natural remedies. She looks in to drop off some beer (for me)m then sits in the garden with a bowl of filling homemade leek and potato soup, on the other side of the kitchen window, while my house guest and I sup inside!

Now I intend to watch the latest Scandinavian offering on TV before heading up the wooden hill.

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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