Coming back to the present, or at least the near past in the form of the week just gone by, I took Fern, the springer spaniel, to Waterhall one afternoon. Wednesday, I think. It was just as well I had not gone earlier as when I arrived I noticed a caravan in one corner of the car park and two rather burly men leaning on their big cars in the middle. Then I saw the council's rubbish containers and realised that those two men were bailiffs who had just evicted a load of travellers. Unfortunately, these were the sort of travellers who delight in leaving a mess behind them. It was disgusting. The one bright spot in the afternoon (other than the moving on of a bunch of ne'er-do-wells) was a large flock of swallows flying over and around the playing fields. I would have expected them to have left before now but they were presumably just getting ready to move on.
Yesterday was a day of glorious sunshine in these parts and I took the dog up to the Roman Camp. It was the first time I had managed to get there for three months or more but I had overestimated my recovery and had to cut the walk short when my left knee started playing up. But it was worth it to get the fresher air on top of the Downs and to enjoy the views extending 50 miles to the Isle of Wight in the west. I took a couple of pictures and may well post one in due course.
In the news this week was a comment made by the Queen to a BBC correspondent in a private conversation. Frank Gardner, I am sure, realised what a gaffe he had made almost as soon as the words were out of his mouth and both he and the BBC have apologised to Her Majesty for the breach of protocol. All the same, I am sure that the Queen's comment that she was puzzled why Abu Hamza, the militant Islamist cleric, was still a free man will have endeared her to 99% of the British population. (He isn't free now - he's in a high security jail at a cost of £50k a year.) If the Americans want him, let them have him, is what most of us think. And this has been dragging on for eight years! What sticks in the craw even more is that, although his appeal to the highest European court has been turned down, his lawyers have launched yet another, believed to be on the grounds that his mental health is below par or some such. It makes matters worse to learn that those lawyers have received fees of about half a million pounds, fees paid by the British taxpayers!!
Had to smile on Friday, though, to read a front page story. A post box on Birmingham station had not been emptied for - wait for it - 23 years! It seems the Royal Mail forgot they had it! I'm surprised that there was still room to post letters in it. It must be in a pretty out of the way spot not to have been filled long before now.
I think that just about wraps up the week.
The Château de la Lorie is another of those not very far from our village. We had learned that there is a magnificent marble staircase here so when my brother and his wife were staying with us we set off to pay a visit. Unfortunately, we arrived on the one day of the week that the château was not open to the public and were unable to go back again. Next year, my wife and I went - only to find that the château opened to the public in July. This was in June. We have never been back again.