Tuesday 25 August

Our 47th wedding anniversary. Luckily on the day we were married the weather was warm and sunny, not like today where we have storm force gales and it is definitely not summery. I have been looking occasionally at my diary for last year, to see what was happening on the same day. In 2019 it was the hottest Bank Holiday Monday ever, 31C. We went to the Edenbridge agricultural show. This seems a lifetime away, in an age of innocence, as it were. Can I wake up now and discover the recent months were all a bad dream?

This afternoon the rain eased and I decided I needed to go for a short walk to get oxygen to my braincells, a mantra of mine which causes some hilarity, but in fact has been shown to be very true. I walked briefly on Riddlesdown, and tried to dodge the big oak trees, which were cascading acorns like hailstones, but I was actually afraid that a huge branch might fall off and crush me. When I came home, I spent some time in the garden, having discovered that the runner beans had collapsed in my absence on holiday and the deer had eaten every green thing on the beanstalks. I can understand why farmers have barbed wire and shotguns. Growing things is a constant battle with marauders like deer, squirrels, slugs, snails, foxes, parakeets. I managed to retrieve some blackberries.

Today I read that Kenya will not open its schools till January, the beginning of the school year over there. One principal has turned his classrooms into chicken coops, another has dug up the play area to plant vegetables. Desperate times. In the school where I was teaching, a very rural community, school was the place where the pupils had access to electricity, and clean water. And school lunch, usually the main if not the only meal of the day. And yet I am not aware that Kenya is particularly badly hit. I read that they have had 32,000 cases with 554 deaths. In a population of 51 million, that is not staggeringly high even assuming that the statistics may not be totally reliable. But then are the stats anywhere correct? In the UK the numbers have been revised.

Back garden development is the hot topic round here. I do not intend to relinquish our garden to developers, and am currently researching compulsory purchase orders, restrictive covenants and other such niceties. Well it’s a distraction from lockdown I suppose one could say.

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