Friday 28 August

A very house and garden day in general. I have to admit that I have not been quite so busy in the garden recently so I set to. I did quite a bit of cutting back, including the rosemary bush which had grown enormous: how much rosemary can one eat? But it turned ferocious and I got a long scratch down my arm. I went to the garden centre and bought some small cyclamen to take the place of some summer plants which have died off. At the garden centre there is the usual one way system and distancing. It is rather irritating in that I knew where I wanted to go but had to take a massive detour in order to get there. Even getting to the checkouts was a bit tortuous. I wonder how long people will wait patiently in line? It may be different in the winter time in cold weather.

I picked more blackberries and tonight made some blackberry and apple jam. I was a bit short of blackberries so I used some redcurrants to supplement, and it tastes really nice. I am very pleased as all the fruit is home grown, the apples from a friend’s house. Jam for free, apart from the cost of the sugar.

I am watching the First Night of the Proms, Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. I have to say that I find it quite heartrending. I am delighted that the orchestra has come together to play in the Royal Albert Hall, and the effort is truly heroic, with 2 metres between each desk. But tears spring to my eyes, I freely confess, when the lights indicate a totally empty auditorium. I have prommed so many times, and the atmosphere is unforgettable: old and young standing together, chatting about their experiences of concerts, their preferences of music. Last year I saw Simon Rattle, really close up, because I was standing in the Arena. The arts have taken a dreadful hammering in the pandemic: a letter in the Times yesterday pointed out that our mental health and wellbeing is suffering as a result, and I agree. But to be positive: these musicians are taking a tentative and laudable step in the right direction. Good luck to them and long may it last.

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