DAY 64: Sat 16 May

Baking bread and labelling eucacalyptus oil.

Woke at 6 this morning, and caught the Agriculture Minister George (Useless) Eustice on R4’s farming programme explaining that the way to make Britain self-sustaining in food is to create opportunities for farmers to be make more profits. (To this end subsidies will only go towards edible products. as I understand it.)  Not entirely sure of the logic of this approach since farmers may face competition from lower quality/lower price imported goods. A backbench Tory amendment to the Agriculture Bill to block the import of sub-standard goods was defeated despite the support of 22 Tories ‘rebels’. have an 80 seat majority affords Johnson and his cronies a form of elective dictatorship which I’m sure plenty of people are beginning to regret. 

I slept well, having gone to bed at 11:30, after downing a zingy Pinot Grigio from Moldova with the sea bass I baked with lime and rosemary as my contribution to Iftar. Drinks with the neighbours did not materialise.

Spent the first couple of hours of this morning logging the wildlife camera capture of the rats’ night-time exploits. Actually they get going about 8pm and then have another sortie around midnight. I can only see two, though the neighbours reckon they have seen four…

Made more fruit loaf this morning. Too nice not to try again. 

Grandsons 1 & 2 made a lemon drizzle cake again before we got together for our Skype storytelling sessions, Culann had plenty of extraordinary adventures today as he ran around Ulster, but things went a bit sad when he got home. He became ill, warriors from Connaught were threatening, and Menessa’s fleet was attacked by Tirgach the Pirate’s warships. But the wedding went ahead even though we discovered that Culann’s bride is the daughter of the Golden Belina, Leader of All the Man Haters!    

My son swung by this afternoon with his children, he had taken grandchildren Nos. 3 & 4 out in the double-decker pushchair as his 7-month-old daughter needed to sleep and his partner needed a break. But grandchild No. 4 stayed awake and welcomed me with her big smile, while grandchild  No.3 fell asleep instead, and was extremely reluctant to wake up even when tempted with a chocolate biscuit. While expressing his annoyance at being woken he began to cough, a rather chesty cough. It was time for them to set off home. I do hope he is not unwell.

Later my son called to reassure me that the little lad was just being crabby because he wanted to stay asleep. The problem is that if he sleeps for too long during the day he won’t get to sleep early at night, and his parents will have even less time to recover themselves. I feel for them and feel bad that i can’t offer to help out.

Apart from my interactions with grandchildren and a long chat with my mate in Tanzania, it was a bit of a nothing day today. Had a headache in the morning and felt like doing nothing. I spent a lot of time trying, successfully, to find things to do to keep me off the exercise machine. That included ironing that has been waiting for at least  week, and putting labels on the eucalyptus oil I bottled back in March. The poor old eucalyptus tree is looking very sorry for itself; no sign of fresh growth since it was so severely lopped, but the rotten part of its trunk is being whittled away by the chickens looking for grubs. 

The pillar of wind that is the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson warned us that children would misroute if they didn’t go back to school soon, but failed to mention that they would miss out in even more of they became sick, infected their teachers or took coronavirus home. Do any of these government spokespeople really think they have any credibility left? We have not been clapping for teachers, but it should be remembered that many have continued to look after the children of other key workers since the pandemic became official in the UK

And that other nasty peace of work Priti (or Prat, as predictive text would have her known) Patel has announced a 50%+ increase in visa charges for NHS staff from overseas who want to continue looking after Britain’s old and sick. The woman is sick in the head if she thinks this is a popular let alone proportionate response to the efforts they have been putting in during the pandemic.

I put the chickens in early having discovered that they had trampled over the protective cover over my asparagus bed. If they keep on like this they may have to stay in their coop all day everyday. 

Time catch up on with State of Happiness. I am beginning to think that the title is ironic. It is bleak in a quite different way tot he Scandi-noirs we have all grown accustomed to.

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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