Good news, bad news, which would you like first?  Let’s get the bad news out of the way  (well, relatively bad news, you might not think it counts as bad news at all).

As you might have gathered from earlier blogs, we live in the centre of Windsor surrounded by shops and offices.  This has massive advantages.  A few steps to all the shops we need, the Queen Elizabeth Delivery office (a post office to you) just across the street, train stations (two of them) five minutes or so away, St George’s Chapel and the Queen’s castle just up the hill, all very convenient.  However there is a downside: buskers.  In my previous life, even if I hated the noise they made, buskers never troubled me.  I could choose whether to stop and listen or whether to walk quickly past.  Not so when they sing the only four songs they know (Halleluiah and I did it my way feature frequently) all day long in the street immediately outside. There is no escape and on summer days, with windows flung open, it becomes intolerable.

Anyway, the bad news is that now that shops have been allowed to open, the buskers are back.  Even in the short time it has taken me to type thus far, a young man has just started on his third rendition of Halleluiah!  The crazy thing is that I like that Leonard Cohen song, but after hearing it repeated endlessly by numerous buskers, I’m beginning to hate it.  The Council tell me that buskers are supposed to have a licence and are only permitted to perform for a maximum of 90 minutes before moving to another pitch.  The trouble is that buskers don’t know this or, if they do, they ignore it. I sometimes ask them to move on after they have done their 90 minutes, but they usually argue (or pretend not to speak English).  Sometimes passersby come to their rescue (never to mine) and tell me to lay off, the poor busker is only trying to earn a living.

The answer is to wear earplugs all day (but my wife already thinks I’m deaf enough) or to have Radio 3 on full blast.  That, or move I suppose.

Rant over.

Good news.  I planted some sliced tomatoes a couple of weeks ago and 16 healthy tomato plants have surfaced.  I also cut a potato in half and buried it and now we have two enthusiastic plants.  Our daughter has brought us some tiny lettuce plants and they are all thriving so we are well on the way to becoming self sufficient!  Greatly encouraged by these triumphs, I’ve now planted a couple of avocado stones, however it’s too early to know whether they will flourish.  Sorry to leave you in suspense.

Good news 2. St Thomas’ Hospital have not yet cancelled my cataract operation scheduled for Tuesday.  On the contrary, they seem quite excited about it and phone often to check I’m self-isolating (I don’t like to tell them to read my blogs) and to make arrangements for me to have a swab test.  This very morning a courier arrived, delivered the kit, and waited outside until it was done.  Apparently, I’ll get a text message if the result is negative and the hospital will be in touch ‘to discuss next steps’ (ominous) if its positive.  Just think, when I next see the government’s chart showing how many people were tested for Covid-19 on 20 June, I’ll be one of them!  Matt Hancock will surely be chuffed.

4 comments

  1. Great about the tomatoes! Potato plants ought to look as if they are on their last legs in order to produce potatoes. In other words: if you have a good looking potato plant, then all its strength has gone into the leaves. Similarly with tomatoes; that’s why you pinch them out at the third whatever it’s called. Can’t wait to hear what happens to the avocado. :)

    The busker sounds extremely annoying; must be enough to get you running to your bike and around the countryside.

    Main thing for writing to you though: good luck on Tuesday!

  2. I hope your cataract operation works as well as mine did last December!
    Totally pain free. Exciting to see the world with blueish-white light again.
    I had a mild panic when fine details at a distance went blurry for 12h (optometrist cousin said transient oedema) but that just went away. Good for the painting!

  3. I’ll be thinking of you, Peter. Good luck with the op. But the sun is shining, the tomatoes and potatoes are growing, and, considering all the things that seem to be bothering people (like….. they can’t shop, can’t go to their favourite restaurant, can’t go to the pub etc), I reckon you and people like me are doing OK. You can write some super stories and I can read them. You can paint and I an enjoy looking at your paintings and, generally, lockdown isn’t such a big deal after all. I look forward to you getting back on your bike, pedalling to see friends and getting back to doing all the things you enjoy.

    Best wishes, Peter and loads of good wishes to Carol

    xx

    PS. Have you thought of taking up busking? I reckon you could stand next to your adversary and play any instrument you have access to. If you do it loud enough, he might give in!

  4. Jealous of your cataract op! Mine was due April but snookered by the commandeering of private hospitals by the NHS. Sine then I understand the hospital has been completely idle with nothing to do. Now the NHS wants to keep it till 2021. And I really need that op! Hope yours goes well!

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