Another positive is that the village shop would also seem to be making a come-back in some more rural areas, given people's difficulty in getting to larger stores, or just their reluctance to go to them. These shops were being slowly squeezed out by the big stores but the presenter of this particular clip was saying that hopefully the village shop will be able to survive and even thrive after the pandemic as not only shops but also the important community hub that they used to represent.
In other news, it started raining on Sunday night for the first time in - oh, I don't know - six weeks maybe. It has been so gloriously warm and sunny that it has been a pleasure to take time out and just potter. That being said, we actually needed the rain so while it's quite a bit cooler it's not unwelcome. The weird thing is, though, that without the rain we have had such a large build up of pollen everywhere and when I was sitting watching TV on Sunday night I looked up and it actually looked like it was raining custard down my window!!! Still, getting some of that washed off should be good for allergy sufferers I guess!
I finally took a trip out today for non-food shopping since I had heard that the Botanic garden centre was now open. I figured that since I hadn't been spending any "fun" money the last six weeks I could afford to treat myself at my favourite garden centre - plus I needed more soil anyway. But oh what a treat it is to walk around that place - I just want to buy everything and even the non-garden/plant stuff is just so pretty - if a little expensive. I bought myself a few veggie seedlings which are further ahead than my own so I'm looking forward to getting those out into the garden as soon as I can. My own tomato, cucumber and courgette plants are doing well this year, probably because I've kept them inside my little greenhouses and not planted them out at the first sign of warm weather, but I added in some chili peppers, aubergines (my word for 2020) and cantaloup melon to the mix to have a shot at growing them too. I just have to remember to properly label them this year as I often have no idea what I'm actually growing by the time it's in the ground! I also made two wigwam trellises using branches that my neighbour had cut off his hazelnut tree. Once they are all bound together they seem to be fairly stable, but it remains to be seen how they hold up under pressure. I've also been following a French site called Rustica, where they give gardening tips relevant to France and our climate and every time I think "oh I must …" they seem to have an article pop up on just that subject. The latest one answered my question on why my lemon bush's leaves were starting to turn brown (answer: it doesn't like to be in direct sunlight when you first put it outside and - get this, a lemon bush doesn't particularly appreciate temperatures of over 10° round here so not to let it get too hot). My next foray into the world of gardening is to attempt to make nettle liquid manure which is apparently very good for a veggie garden. No wonder my neighbours just shake their heads when they see my latest experiments, what with my home-made wigwams and the vision of my backside sticking out from the hedge trying to get at the nettles they must think I'm mad. One year I actually created a vertical garden growing up my cherry tree using plastic bottles and very satisfying (and productive) it was too, but like I say, my neighbours think I'm nuts sometimes!
Since I was a little disappointed in my apple cake the other day I decided to make Mary Berry's lemon drizzle cake yesterday and that was a roaring success. Absolutely delicious. It sank a bit in the middle so I think I'll use a smaller, round pan next time, but having the hole in the middle just gave me the excuse to fill it up with whipped cream and indulge. As you can probably tell, the diet's going great guns (and so easy to follow too)!
And finally, I was talking to my friend the other day and he was complaining about a pain in the left side of his back, under his shoulder blade. The next day he said it was still there so I asked if it was in his arm or in his jaw as I was a little worried, having had a dad who had frequent heart attacks. He said not, but I mentioned he might want to get some aspirin in just in case (I was told to give aspirin to my dad when he had a heart attack when I was 14 and home alone with him. The ambulance came of course but that was when I learned that aspirin can help to bust small clots so I always keep some in the house just in case). Anyway, he said he thought he had just twisted his arm awkwardly and that he thought Voltaren would ease it, the problem being that he had no way of putting it on his own back. So I told him now would seem to be the perfect time to get out and meet the neighbours. "Hallo, you must be my new neighbours. We haven't met. My name's C. Would you think I was awfully forward if I asked if you would mind just rubbing some of this on my back?" I was only trying to help but he didn't think that was very funny for some reason. Can't think why!