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© Katy Bell

Notes from The Orchard for July 2019


How difficult it is to be satisfied  particularly in England as far as the weather is concerned!  As I write this, we are going through the hottest spell of weather since 1976 – if you are the right age to remember that far back - and although it has lasted only a few days so far, we are already longing for lower temperatures much like the flowers in the gardens.


There is so much sport in and on the air at the moment, it’s very difficult to keep tabs on what is on and when it’s on but a lot of it is really exciting.  First of all, I suppose is the great surprise at the success of women’s football: for a start it is so much more attractive than the male variety, with their blonde ponytails, general good manners with the exception of several much less experienced teams who are still going through a major learning curve.  With the girls there is also considerably less cheating.  There was the added general problem of coming to terms with the quirky behaviour of the VAR machine, combined with novice referees who looked so worried about handing out any red cards!  Then there is the cricket where, so far, the UK seem to be ahead of the game and then there’s Grand Prix, though the rare phenomenon of Louis Hamilton losing a race gives pause for surprise.  


And now for the tennis:  how wonderful to watch the arrival of a new star!  For those of my elevated years it is a reminder of Little Mo, Maureen Connolly, in the early Fifties.  Younger visitors may be surprised to know how Little Mo arrived ‘all of a sudden’ to sweep away the older generation (with whom we young people at the time were thoroughly bored – Fancy Pants and all [see Gussie Moran]) and win Wimbledon.   It would be amazing to see her play Cori – an impossible dream, alas.  Speaking from my own experience of Wimbledon tennis, they would have been a wonderfully matched pair of opponents. . .  


But there we are, enough of sport.  Let’s just be grateful for the pleasure it gives us, and if it’s more of an irritation, we are lucky enough these days to find loads more to watch on the television or internet to keep us wasting all the time there is when we could be doing something much more useful.  “Like what?” you may ask. . .


That’s quite difficult I discover, having just tried it as I sit here.


Visiting friends would be a good start, inviting them to your place might give more pleasure, especially if you think they might be lonely.  If you must use electronic means rather than a biro (which upon its arrival on earth was considered amazing and anyway who has a fountain pen these days?)  do please feel free to use your digital equipment – even an old-fashioned telephone can be a brilliant way to get in touch.  You could join a voluntary group. Most of the useful ones would be delighted to hear a knock on the door from someone who’d be interested in joining.  A word of warning though: offer your help at the lowest level, no matter how brilliant you are/think you are.  Let them find out as emergencies crop up and you manage to help out.  Successfully.


Plant a tree to save the planet, but if your garden is rather small, join a gardening group in your area.  I know there’s one here in Milford and I’m beginning to find that there are lots of similar groups elsewhere.


Here we are in our own village – a seaside town where lots of boats are out every weekend and people to sail them.  Alas I have just found out that the local branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution is about to close due to lack of volunteers on the local admin side of things.  Even if your sailing days have come to an end you can still do your bit to keep the whole thing afloat!  


There was a musical in the Fifties (what a long time ago!) called ‘Salad Days’ in which a mother was very anxious to get her own ‘My Time’ who sang to her son ‘Find yourself something to do, dear! Find yourself something to do!’  The song is available on YouTube but it you look for it, do click on the original stage version.  


Whatever you do, stay away from Plato’s allegory of The Cave!  If you don’t know it, use Google to find out what that is. . . and live!


The BBC has done something well worth watching to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Man’s landing on the Moon.  A splendid tribute to those responsible for making it happen with computers fifty years behind the ones of today – a bit like doing the Tour de France on a Penny-Farthing.   How brave those men were but since then what have we managed to do of note?  Nothing worthwhile, just let rip our selfish behaviour!  We are definitely not ready to be let loose on the rest of the Universe.


Autumn is coming – let’s use the season to make a new start and beg the good Lord to give us a hand. . . it seems there’s no way we can manage to do anything well on our own.  If you doubt me, just look at the current political shenanigans!  


Make the most of the summer, which, thank God, is looking promising.  




Sarah Bell