My optimistic prediction that the pattern of improving weather would continue proved to be exactly that – wildly optimistic. I would have been content if the pattern of one nice day, two nice days, etc. were simply to increase in an arithmetic pattern; I wasn’t necessarily hoping for or expecting a geometric progression, i.e., one nice day, two nice days, four nice days, etc. What we seem to have now is a cyclical pattern, i.e., one nice day, two nice days, one nice day, etc. for we did, indeed, have one nice day this week (and that’s probably being somewhat generous with the definition of “nice”). On Thursday it was mainly dry (in our area, anyway – those further north are still clearing up after the floods they enjoyed), the sun shone (a bit) and the temperature was warm (77 degrees F, 25 degrees C) and humid. In between the downpours and deluges, one could almost convince oneself it was a good day.
And this just in – this has been the wettest June since records began and, similarly, the three month period from April to June is also the wettest April to June since records began. I guess our perception that the weather has been pretty lousy since that warm, sunny spell we had in March is just about right.
Ms Playchute and I have been wondering over the past few weeks whether any of our swallows had actually taken possession of the fine accommodation we have annually to let in the garage. We did see two birds swooping in and out but we couldn’t see any discernible evidence of habitation and/or procreation. Perhaps they were a young couple who hadn’t quite worked things out? Or maybe they were a gay couple co-habiting, with or without a civil ceremony? (No problem here – we fully support equal opportunities and personal lifestyles).
However, occasionally when sitting out on the patio (in between the rain) we would see them dash into the garage and could hear the unmistakable jabbering of infants demanding nourishment. So, I was sure there was a family but hadn’t been able to spot them whenever I peeked. The other day, however, Penny’s sister J announced that she had seen the parents feeding a brood in the garage. It seems they had made use of a derelict, decrepit and dishevelled hovel at the far end of the garage instead of occupying one of the more luxurious penthouse suites we had available from previous occupants. While it’s grand to know that they are indeed raising a family, it is annoying that in deciding not to use one of the more elegant and stylish nests, they have managed to avoid targeting my pre-installed cardboard crap-collector which had been strategically located below the magnificently comfortable nests right at the apex of the roof. They’re now crapping all over everything on the other side of the garage!
I know I’ve banged on and on in the past about the b*****d bankers/wankers who decimated the world economy while at the same time amassing multi-million pound bonuses for their good work. This week saw the Financial Services Authority in the UK fine Barclays, of which one of our favourite wankers, Bob Diamond, is head, £59.5 million for manipulating interest rates. The US authorities went even further – they fined Barclays £230 million for the same offences. This seems to be so serious that Diamond and a couple of other top Barclays executives are having to forego their multi-million pound cash bonuses this year. It seems poor old Bob will have to scrape by on his nominal salary of £17 million this year as well as the multi-million pound share pay-out that he is still due to receive. All this when it turns out that he was heading up the division at Barclays where the interest rate manipulations took place. Naturally, even though he was in charge, he knew nothing and didn’t have any knowledge that such illegalities were occurring. It seems it was all down to a small number of rogue employees who had tried to make profits for their own benefit. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
I was delighted to read that “Mugly”, an eight-year old Chinese crested from Peterborough in the UK has won the title of the World’s Ugliest Dog at a recent competition in Petaluma, California. Yep, he’s a pretty ugly mutt.
And speaking of mutts, our Molly is feeling very despondent these past few days – her best friend, Penny’s sister J, flew back to Toronto on Thursday abandoning her to our care and attention which is decidedly less proactive than J’s. It’s always a real pleasure when J visits, for us as well as Molly – she is one of those rare anomalies – a house-guest one never tires of.
And finally, a couple of links to a recently released collection of old aerial photographs of the UK. There’s a video on the BBC site, and a gallery of photographs on the Guardian site. How many places can you identify?
And finally, finally, following the toilet-related pieces we’ve mentioned over the past couple of weeks, a bit of research for which I am sure I have all the qualities required.
And finally, finally, finally, le Tour started yesterday. Three weeks, twenty stages and 3,497 kilometres (2,172.9 miles) until Paris. I’ve got my spotted jersey and place on the sofa all lined up.
Love to you all,