Wednesday, 27 April 2022

A bit of an eventful day! The superiority of English strawberries.

To ride to the market this morning I put on my running gear with a lightweight waterproof on top, not because I needed to stay dry but as wind-proofing. (Quick memory flash: when I was a teenager there was a fashion for jackets called wind-cheaters! Whatever happened to them?) Over the last few weeks I have grown used to being able to cycle to the market in lightweight clothing. No longer any need to wrap up in loads of layers. This was a mistake today. 

I was warm enough cycling along the bridle paths but once I got to Uppermill it was clear that the temperature had dropped. By the time I had stood in line at a couple of outdoor market stalls I was pretty chilly. There must be a special wind that bowls through the square where the market is held. 

On the plus side, as I approached the fruit and veg stall, from a good few yards away, I could smell strawberries. They were the first of this year’s English strawberries which, it has to be said, are far superior to almost any other strawberries. My daughter will often buy strawberries out of season from the supermarket, usually grown under glass or in polytunnels in various places quite far away. They always look beautiful but their taste never matches their good looks. A bit of a discussion ensued around the fruit and veg stall: the general consensus was that you can’t beat a good English strawberry!

It was all drama at market too. I noticed the lady who runs the cheese and biscuit stall (that lady now seemingly restored to health and making a regular appearance once more!) swilling a bucket of water into the gutter across the road, washing away what looked like a puddle of blood. And indeed, that’s just what she was doing. Someone had tripped over the uneven paving stones and cracked his head. The fruit and veg man told me, “He wasn’t even a doddery old chap. A bit elderly but sprightly! I had just served him. He had two bags of shopping, one in each hand, so he wasn’t able to break his fall.”

Someone had found him a chair to sit on. Someone else had phoned emergency services. They were warned that it might take a few hours for an ambulance to be available! That seems to be happening all over the country. However, within half an hour we could hear sirens and an ambulance turned up and whisked him away. How long he might have to sit in the ambulance outside A&E is a different matter.  

I rode home with my shopping, only to discover emergency stuff going on at home too. On the kitchen table was a ‘trouble shooting guide’. The central heating boiler was not functioning properly and Phil was having a go at sorting it. First things first, switch it off and restart it. All to no avail! So he sent for a boiler-man, who amazingly arrived within about 20 minutes. The first thing he asked was, “have you switched it off and restarted it?” Clearly the first step in any kind of repair.

In the midst of all this, our granddaughter phoned in a panic. She had spoken to a consultant about one or other of her medical oddities and needed to talk to someone. Her mother was at work. So I was the next best thing. In the end I left most of the shopping where it was in my bike panniers and took myself off to talk to her face to face. A panic shared is a panic halved. 

She calmed down. We took the dog for a walk and made plans. I called Phil in the late afternoon and suggested he sorted himself out with an early tea before heading off the play chess. I discovered that the boiler-man had done a temporary repair but had decided we need a new part for the boiler. He will phone Phil when he has it organised. Amazingly he charged no call-out fee. Let’s hope  the spare part and the necessary work are not too expensive,

Granddaughter and I chatted over cups of tea and set the world to rights. Eventually her mother turned up and we discussed matters further, rather inconclusively. We await further medical consultation. 

And finally I got home in the early evening and put the shopping away. I ate the small punnet of strawberries I had bought in the morning. They were good!

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!  

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