While the bungling government of Boris Johnson lurches totally out of control and ideas, from one crisis to another in the UK, here in France we are looking forward to an easing of the Covid-19 lockdown conditions as from Monday. I had high hopes for Boris Johnson when his government was elected at the end of last year but it appears that he and his team are as crass, ineffective and bereft of knowledge of the real world as all those British politicians who have gone before them.

Imagine a senior manager in the private sector being set the task of sourcing a quantity of personal protective equipment for his company – a simple item like a protective gown for which there are established standards for manufacture, performance and quality – and when they arrive they are ALL, 400,000 of them, not fit for purpose. That manager would have been summarily dismissed on the spot, but apparently the same standards don’t apply if you are a UK government minister.

You get to keep your job, your fat salary, all your perks and your juicy pension and you also get to go onto TV where you can lecture the populace on how to run their lives. And this is after another (the same?) minister purchased and paid for millions of Chinese Covid-19 testing kits, all of which were found not to work. You couldn’t make it up. It makes hiring a ferry company without any ships to ‘help with Brexit’ (doing what for God’s sake?) look like the act of a mastermind.

The latest hare-brained UK government schemes are to subject all ‘elderly’ people (and ‘elderly’ means over 60 – I ask you) to permanent house arrest for at least a year after they ‘restart the economy’ (God help us…) and, after having previously let hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 infected travellers into the UK while the pandemic was building, to subject everyone entering the UK to a mandatory 14 days of quarantine ie self-confinement, now that just about every country in the world except the UK has got the pandemic under control and they’d be subjecting themselves to more risk coming to the UK than they’d be exposing the population of the UK to. Such a move would, of course finally kill off all of the UK airlines (lucky for all the other foreign ones, eh) and ensure the total demise of the UK travel and hospitality industries. They just don’t have a clue.

Moving onto other things before I become so exasperated that I explode. The prospective purchaser of my Weedhopper, who is Belgian incidentally, is as impatient as I am to get the transaction underway. He hasn’t even managed to get down to see it yet because of the Covid-19 crisis and was bemoaning the fact that with the travel restrictions that are currently in place, he doubts that it’ll be possible much before mid-June. So I decided to shoot a little video to send to him when I went over to Malbec this week to start and run its engine.

I’m glad to say that he contacted me after he’d seen it and said how much he’d enjoyed it, so I’m glad that I made the effort.

Changing the subject again, plant time has come around again. Last year I filled up all of the plant pots that I brought with me from the UK and which had been standing empty since I arrived in 2012 and was glad that I did because the plants that I put in provided a delight of colour right through the summer and autumn. I say ‘I’ but it was Chantal, my sweetheart of a French neighbour, who twisted my arm to do it and she got busy working on me again a week or so ago.

However, the weather wasn’t right at the time and we ended up going to the local nursery the day before yesterday to buy the stocks that I needed. The place was heaving with cars and people who were supposed to be ‘social distancing’ but as Montignac is a relatively small place and almost everyone there knew someone else, there was really no chance of that. But nobody is really worried – the Dordogne is a ‘green’ d├ępartement and the Covid risk is therefore very small, and anyway, those who wanted to wore masks and some even gloves.

The prices seemed quite a bit higher than last year, probably because the nursery owner anticipated that sales would be down this year. However, I think he could well make a killing given the crowds who were there snapping up trollies-full of plants just as I was.

We put most of the plants in yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised by just how many of last-year’s plants had survived over the winter and were sprouting and growing again. You expect plants like geraniums to because they’re pretty hardy anyway, but many of the ‘annuals’ were showing new growth, small buds and even little flowers.

Today I finished off three of the five hanging baskets that I have, two of which showed no sign of life whatsoever. The other three all have some good growth going on though, with flowers already out, and having re-done one of them today, I’ll come back to the last two some other time, but before it’s not too late.

I also cut the grass today and picked out quite a few large stones that had risen to the surface over recent months, so it ended up being quite a long day. I went out this evening after I’d had my evening meal and shot a few pictures with my little EG16 drone. Here’s one but I’ll wait to post some more when it’s a bit more bright, sunny and inviting.

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I’ll be taking it a bit more easy tomorrow. The main job will be to drill some holes in the bottoms of a couple of plant pots. The pots are glazed and are really meant for indoors but they’re a bit too garish for my taste. As they’re glazed, it’ll be a bit tricky but really should be little different to drilling a bathroom tile, say, so I have high hopes. I’ve also got to drill another little decorative free-standing concrete plant container to prevent the rainwater staying inside it and drowning the plants it holds.

Then with a bit of luck, if everything goes well and to plan, I might even be able to get across to Malbec later on to start and run the Savannah’s engine. I really need to do this because it’s only been run once (I think) since I returned from the UK in it back in September, and it needs to have its oil circulating again.

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