Wednesday 14 July

Today was attack the raspberries and redcurrants day. I picked 3.5lbs, and there are more raspberries to come. The more you pick, the more you get. Whenever I am picking, I remember a story my sister told me, of a friend of hers in Scotland, where raspberries do very well, who always harvested the fruit in the nude. It makes me laugh because raspberry canes can be quite scratchy. On the other hand, it does give a whole new viewpoint to communing with nature.

We went to lunch with dear friends who are very loyal blog followers, and who have entertained me during lockdown with a wonderful selection of photos from some lovely holidays they have done. We had a truly delicious meal, one of their hobbies is cooking, and the conversation was very wide ranging. It is so utterly delightful to sit around a dinner table and chat with real people, and not be restricted to Zoom or Skype.

They have some beautiful terra cotta tiles on a wall outside, collected from around the world. This one I think has to be today’s motto:

They are both very interested in languages, and I have been thinking today about the future of language learning in schools. Foreign exchange trips had become almost non existent because of all the child protection rules and regulations. Now we can scarcely leave the country anyway, so what is the point of learning the language of a country you may never be able to visit? OK, you can read the literature, look at the websites, but it is never the same as communicating with a native speaker. I despair. The whole of my professional life seems to have evaporated. I am desperately keen to go and visit my German penfriend, known from schooldays, but every time it seems fractionally closer, another regulation appears, either from this side, or that side.

I consoled myself by making 7lbs of red currant and raspberry jam this evening. The smell is just heavenly. In turning out the empty jam jars, I find I still have 3 full ones from last year, so need to get cracking and make some scones and recreate a Cornish cream tea. And at last a sunny evening when it was possible to sit outside and read the paper. Long sunny evenings is what my UK friends in Kenya would return home for. 12 hours day and 12 hours night pall after a while.

For some reason the conversation today turned to Tom Lehrer, and two of our number were able to recite most of the words of The Vatican Rag. Here is the original.

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