floods

I went into town yesterday afternoon with my niece Phoebe. When she visited in summer 2017, we had lunch at one of the tables outside Browns, and she was intrigued today to see water level roughly where her food had been!

Other successes in town were a trawl through the charity shops, resulting in a pair of trousers for her – and a pair of decent Levi’s for me. £8 – what a result – and it’s almost unheard-of for me to find anything in the 30W 34L range.

Then off to pack it in our local veggie/zero-waste shop, to refill the washing up liquid. Only the second refill in the year the shop’s been open, and the owner (Phillipa) actually recognised me and called me by name, which impressed Phoebe! There were also plenty of Vegan wax food wraps on display, so I bought Phoebe a couple, as she’s only been able to find ones containing beeswax which doesn’t work for her Vegan housemates.

Then via ASDA to the bus stop, and a rather long wait in increasingly-cold conditions. Fortunately, although it was very nearly full, we did manage to get seats.

 

floods in front of Browns
floods in front of Browns

the Evenlode

A glorious walk down to the River Evenlode from my Mum’s this afternoon. Surprisingly,even after the recent rain, the river was well within it banks – though looking extremely muddy and turbid.

I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to manage this walk of about a mile each way.- aching hips and struggling rather a lot on the way back (which is, of course, up hill). Still, good to have done it, and there were even a few sunny spells.

hospital visit etc

Just home, after an exhausting 24 hours over visiting my Mum, who had (yet another) ambulance to hospital yesterday. This time, they’re keeping her in a bit longer than “just overnight for observation and assessment”, and are starting to realise that she’ll need more home support in place before she can be discharged. I’m back over there tomorrow evening, at which point she may or may not be discharged.

In the meantime, soaking in a hot bath for an hour is needed, to free up all the muscles in my back. Shitty weather & back-breaking train seats & the occasional over-enthusiastic cab driver driving through potholes have meant doses of tramadol to enable me to walk even fifty yards (they don’t actually stop it hurting – they simply make me not mind how much it hurts!). Once Mum is settled a bit, I think I’d better arrange a GP visit for myself, as I’m not normally this mobility-impaired.

autumn walk

Over at my Mum’s in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds yesterday, and managed a brief walk on the Common. Actually, it nearly did for me – I’ve been fairly housebound for the past ten days, and coming back from the Common I began to seriously wonder if I was going to make it back to the house! A week of the “sunshine and heavy showers” thing has done my back no favours.

I was glad to see a couple of Fly Agaric out. None were visible when I was last there, probably due to the dry late summer, and most of the usual places still don’t have any. Perhaps they’re just very late this year, and continuing damp may bring them out.

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out and about

Yesterday was over to Mum’s to meet up with Jane, Chloe, Phoebe. Chloe was very under the weather, having just broken up with her boyfriend, but Phoebe was hr usual bubbly self.

Today was Worcester Pride. I helped out on the Green Party stall for a couple of hours, in a really good atmosphere. Quite a change from the over-commercial and youth/yuppie orientation which I fel has come to typify London Pride.

And I received a fair number of approving comments about my shirt!

fishing trip

Monday 8th was over to Peterborough, to stay with Geoff for a fishing trip on Tuesday. It’s a bit of an emotionally fraught trip for me – the first part of the rail journey (Worcester Foregate Street – Birmingham – Leicester) is the route that I took so many times (certainly over a hundred) over to Bedford with, to see, or to sort out Maurice.

I hadn’t realised that it was the end of the Ledbury festival, and the little 2-carriage train was packed. People lying on luggage racks, even. Needless to say, it was standing room only all the way to New Street, and running very late. In fact, there was only three minutes to catch the Cross-country train to Peterborough, so I had to run (as best I can, which is “not very” with a walking stick!). As it turned out, not only was I on the train before the advertised departure time, but it actually left five minutes late.

I arrived in Peterborough on time, and as I emerged from the station saw Geoff’s BMW drawing up, with Sim in the back seat. A trip over to the fishing venue (Lovell’s Lakes) to suss out pegs for the morning, calling in at Morrisons on the way for food for the fishing, then back to Geoff’s. Supper was a rather good chicken and mushroom pie he’d made, with spuds and broccoli. Thoughout the evening,there was much joking and amusement about Alexa, which he’s only just got and is still coming to grips with!

As Geoff has now sorted his spare bedroom, I got a reasonable night on a decent firm mattress (Sim was on the sofa downstairs). Alarm went off at 0445, I was up by 0500, we left at 0545 and were at the lake two minutes after start time of 0600.

A very pleasant day’s fishing ensued, with all of us catching plenty. My biggest carp was only a couple of pounds, though Sim had one probably around 7lb. There was quite a mix of Common Carp, Mirror Carp, and assorted curious hybrids.

The water bailiff came round, and I paid for all three of us – well, I owed Geoff for the Morrisons stuff from the day before, anyway. There was a lot of discussion – new rules had apparently been introduced on April 1st, though the bailiff had not previously mentioned them to Geoff. His partner produced three copies of a printout for us, but neither of them examined either my tackle or Sim’s, which was just as well! Geoff’s largely passed muster, though he was told to have a larger landing net next time …

All of which suggests that I’m going to have to up my game before our next trip! Actually, I’d more-or-less decided that I need to have a set of fishing gear in Worcester, as well as leaving my “main” set with my brother Sim. It all needs to be very portable, as any fishing trip I do in the Worcester area will have to be accessed by e-bike! That means a telescopic rod, short landing net, and so on.

We packed up at Lovells Lakes around quarter to five – largely at my suggestion. Nearly eleven hours of fishing is actually rather past my limits, especially as I currently have a troublesome right wrist and wear a brace on it much of the time. Back to Geoff’s for an hours, then off to catch the 1852 train. Just as well we left in plenty of time: the lift and adjacent staircase at Peterborough station were closed, so it was a detour of several hundred yards to use the ramps. I wasn’t happy that no effort had been made to assist people who find walking / luggage difficult!

So, home, exhausted, at around 2200h.

book group

Last night was the inaugural meeting of the Worcester LGBT+ book group. When the meeting started, it was me and eight women, but Chris & Steve came along after about five minutes, which evened things up a bit. I’d have been a bit nervous sbout being the only man – almost certainly a relic of my student days of being the “token gay” on committees, and more recently being sometimes cast as the “token disabled person”.

Anyway, a very good start, and this group of us is meeting again on 31st, as a trial run, before the first proper meeting on the first Wednesday in September.

In the garden, the flowering rush is now in full bloom. The runner beans are covered in blossom, which bodes well. I’m a bit surprised: last year I had a mix of white-flowered and red-flowered beans, and the saved seed was a mix of white beans and purple beans – but the flowers (so far) this year are all red! I’m aiming eventually to just keep saving seed, hoping to end up with a type that is well-suited to here, as I’ve had disappointing results from some seeds and bought plants, and great results from others.

My saved cosmos seed got eaten by slugs as soon as the plants went out. The bought replacement plants have just come into flower – a pale yellow, as an experiment. I’m not convinced, and think I’ll revert to pink next year.

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Flying Scotsman, the Common

A trip over to Mum’s. Actually, a much-delayed trip! I couldn’t do last weekend, as it was “rail replacement” buses for most of the trip, which I can’t handle, so it was rearranged for Tuesday. The weather was foul, and Mum felt OK, so it was postponed – Sim was due to visit Thursday to Sunday. But Sim then had a cold and was too ill to visit, so I said I’d do Saturday to Sunday.

I really don’t like staying overnight. Far too much to carry,  and “anytime” returns are a lot more expensive than day returns. And, of course, it’s cab to and from the station, as the e-bike is only insured for a maximum of 24 hours when left at a station.

Going via  ASDA for veg and catfood, I arrived with half an hour to spare. Just as well: the place was heaving, due to the arrival of the Flying Scotsman on an excursion train. It’s vaguely visible in the background here!

The weather was basically cold and wet, though I did manage a quick stroll on the Common. There was a sunny spell after tea, when we managed to sit outside the back door in warm sunshine!

On the Common, the Early Purple orchids have completely disappeared from the spot where I always used to find them. However, the number along the side of the old playing field area is increasing, and there are three new colonies of them scattered around, so tht’s all encouraging. Alchemilla (Lady’s Mantle) in flower also along the edge of the playing field, foxgloves looking great in their natural setting, and the wild honeysuckle in blossom.

images are “clickable”

When I got back to Mum’s, I checked the area of orchids to the north of the house, and had a surprise!

Bee orchids

I’m absolutely delighted to see that the little bit of the small North lawn at my Mum’s which is set apart from mowing because of the colony of Early Purple orchids that’s been spreading over the last few years has acquired three Bee Orchids to add to the mix! One of my favourite wild flowers, and it’s a decade since I last saw one round here.

MEP election count

Yesterday was the election count for MEPs – I was a “counting agent” for the Greens at Worcester’s Guildhall. This merely involved watching the count, at fairly close quarters, to check that there were no irregularities, though from a Green point of view it’s also useful to get and idea of how the vote split up by ward.

In at 1500h, for a 1530 start, which was “checking and validation”. Votes are counted into bundles of ten, face down, then collected into bundles of a hundred. Once all ballot boxes for that ward are counted, this is cross checked with the number of ballot papers issued, to make sure none have gone missing or whatever. There was then a break for refreshments – provided free, as we’re not allowed off the premises during proceedings. I’d met up with Daniel Thompson, who had asked if we could slip out the back for a smoke, which isn’t normally allowed, but he got permission. Result!

Then the actual count. It was fairly clear from the size of the piles, nd my rough count of the bundles of hundred, that in the wards I was watching there was a big Brexit vote, but large Green and LibDem votes. We were – to my surprise – allowed to go at around 1930, once the counting was complete and agreed, under threat of dire penalties if we breathed a word about what we’d seen or heard until 2200h – the time the last polling station in Europe closes.

I got home, had a bit to eat, and so on. BBC1 election results programme was as usual dominated by dickheads! However, I stayed up til around 0200h.

Worcester’s overall results, which are fed into the overall count for West Midlands, shown below. Greens a fairly close third to the LibDems – a very creditable result. And we now have a Green MEP (Ellie Chowns) for the West Midlands. Across the UK, Green MEPs have more than doubled, from 3 to 7. A good night.

Worcester results