Week 394

Sunday, 10th July

A day at home. Political programmes until they came out of my ears followed by a surfeit of sport with Hamilton winning the British Grand Prix and Murray winning Wimbledon. To top it all, the French failed to win the football and, as everyone knows, we all hate the French!

Monday, 11th July

TMayBritain is doing its level best to emulate Greece in being the most ridiculous state in (or out of) Europe. Until lunchtime, we didn’t have a Prime Minister and then we got an unelected one who will have to negotiate our leaving of Europe even though she wanted to (just about) remain. Of course, ‘lunatic behaviour’ is measured against the ‘norm’ and the Labour Party should be providing that yard stick in Opposition but are managing to look even more lunatic than the Tories, which isn’t easy.

As The Times says this morning, families are asking, Is it Umbria or Cumbria for holiday this year? in the light of the rapid depreciation of sterling. Soon the ‘Got to get our country back’ brigade will realise how stupid they have been as prices rise, companies leave the UK, jobs disappear and the prospects for Britain decline. They won’t even be able to give ‘their country’ away! Plebiscites are ripe country for the electorate to be sold a pup. What makes this one worse is that those dodgy traders of knee-jerk emotions have melted away, deserting their responsibilities and leaving the naive or foolish electorate to rue the day.

Tuesday, 12th July

From the ridiculous to the sublime. We know that we are going to have trouble when we buy a house within a mile of a huge garden centre. We have been gardening addicts throughout our married lives and have deliberately tried to reign in our instincts here. Today, we cracked.

hydrasWe have noticed how some plants do particularly well in gardens in our area. Wisteria is not for us on the brick face of a new build property but hydrangeas are a different matter. They seem to love the terroir in Sussex. We went out on a mission and the garden centre didn’t make it easy. They stocked about 20 different species of hydrangea and we will have room for only 3 or 4. What to choose? These three are the ones we managed to narrow it down to so far.

  • Hydrangea Macrophylla – Lady in Red.
  • Hydrangea Macrophylla – Hot Red Violet.
  • Hydrangea Macrophylla – Hanabi Pink.

Might squeeze one or two more in later. Because we gave all our gardening equipment away before we vacated our last property, I’ve even had to go out and buy a spade.

Wednesday, 13th July

hdccA day largely at home today. We did go out and buy another Hydrangea – Macrophylla – Cotton Candy. We then went on to plant out the four hydrangeas that we’d bought over the past couple of days at the front of the house – around the front door. We had just finished gardening when the sunny sky went dark and threw a heavy bout of rain down on us removing the need to water our new plants in. They looked at home immediately.

Interesting to see that the normally over optimistic National Tourist Office of Greece which talks up arrival numbers all year until the final figures come out and reveal the truth has produced a dose of realism early in the season. Kathimerini reports that: There are signs of fatigue in Greek tourism with hotel occupancy levels in Athens at very low levels. They explain it by referring to the migrant crisis discouraging potential tourists and the American government warning their citizens against travelling to Europe because of potential ‘security problems’.

Thursday, 14th July


A warm and sunny day with no breeze. We were tied to the house by the imminent delivery of four side tables for the Lounge. We had been given the expressly un-user friendly delivery slot of 7.00 am – 6.00 pm. Actually, they were delivered at 11.00 am. Until then, we were glued to the government (night of the long knives) re-shuffle. Great to see Gobsbourne, Gove and Organ Morgan dumped. What about Bambi at Health? Surely he should have been lobotomised.

It was all so gripping that I had to fight with my conscience over whether to watch some of the Test Match. Largely, the politics won although I caught a little cricket at times.  We also did our weekly shop at Tesco. One of the thing about being retired is that one is free when all the grey, wrinkly people are free. One tends to shop while the home-for-the-bewildered releases its residents to shop, urging them to shuffle slowly, bent over a shopping trolley while blocking whole yards/metres of shelving with the help of their friends. Today, because we didn’t get out until mid afternoon, the supermarket was quiet, nearly empty and a delight for energetic shoppers. We have taken note.

Friday, 15th July

phormLovely warm – humid even – and sunny day. I told you that the fight against a desire to buy plants and design gardens was one we were always likely to loose. Today, we went out and spent another £200.00/€240.00 or so at the garden centre. Today we bought feature plants like Phormium Maori Queen and broad leaved, mauve flowering Hebe and three more hydrangeas. We spent two or three hours preparing the ground and planting out.

I now have an established routine in the garden. Each morning I water my tomatoes and peppers which are all heavy with fruit. The sweet basil and tarragon are romping away. We’ve been cutting and cooking with them for two or three weeks.  Twice each week – at least – I mow the front and back lawns and strim the edges. I treat the grass which is lush and healthy recently laid turf, with a green up feed. It grows fast and stays very green. It is completely weed-free and appears to be without the dreaded moss because its drainage is so good. The plants we have added are in beds at the front and side of the house and have been chosen to be self-sustaining so that we can go abroad for a couple of months without worrying.

Saturday, 16th July

erdoganWent to bed last night on the feverish reporting of a Turkish military coup. Erdogan, who has been gradually tightening his grip on power by forcing the secular state to submit to a form of Islamic rule, denying basic rights to some citizens and controlling or shutting down the press, has been provoking this for some time.

By the time we woke at 6.00 am, the coup was all but over. Thousands of military were being rounded up and some being lynched by the mob. Erdogan, from his iPhone ‘facetime’ address to a television station managed to rally citizens to come out and demonstrate support for him. Interestingly, they all seemed to be male. Women, of course, have no political part to play in an Islamic country. They stay at home.

British Airways promptly cancelled all flights in and out of Turkey while EasyJet and Thomson went ahead as normal although they did tell their customers to Turkey to ‘stay indoors’. Great holiday – fly to a war zone and hunker down!

However, you must admit that it’s been a strangely unsettling month. At home, after the sheer madness of UK having voted to leave the E.U., the two, major parties are imploding. Only the Tories innate lust for power has kept them slightly on track. The Labour Party appears to, be in its death throws with no real chance of providing effective opposition. Abroad, a madman (aka sexually confused Asian male) slaughtered 50 people in a US ‘gay’ nightclub and then a criminally deviant Asian male runs a truck over 200 people who are celebrating a national holiday out with their families on the French Riviera. The Turkish army attempt to depose an autocratic but elected State  President of the most strategically important country to the continent of Europe. One is left grasping for stability and certainties however flawed.

Hardy Fuschia ‘Janey’

We went out and bought yet more plants. Three Weigelas with variegated leaves edged with mauve, which we didn’t intend to buy, were added to a gorgeous Hebe which we didn’t intend to buy. We told each other that we must leave but, like some addicted gamblers, we spotted hardy fuschia ‘Janey’ and we could not resist. Anyone who knows us will also know that Janey was the name of Pauline’s mum. We bought two and she looks great in our garden. Of course, we also needed some compost to help the planting and some bags of bark to top dress the bed. Fortunately, we have no more space and will not be returning to that garden centre – unless something drastic happens like the Labour Party surviving or Erdogan publicly outing himself.

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