Staying in, the joys of January

Although I loathe January as a month, now we are over halfway through, I was reflecting on whether it had any good points and had to admit that it’s always a good time for the flat and appreciating my space.After the bustle of December, the break that comes at Christmas allows me to spend more time in my flat. That combined with taking down the tree and all the tidying that entails, means that I notice things I need to do and have the time to do so the space becomes more manageable, and tidier.I enjoy the space more because being outside is grim and I need to find space for new things that were Christmas presents. In fact, if I had to spend January, in my house, it really would be lovely. As it is, I have to leave occasionally and that makes me love my cosy space even more!

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Monday Miscellany: January sickness…

Happy Monday!January is not a good month for the Dempsey’s. For the last couple of years, Ma and I always get sick in January. I thought that I’d escaped this year but on Wednesday night had another episode of fever and being sick. That’s four straight months, so it’s time to go to the doctor’s and get it checked out. First available appointment is February 10th!

Ma had a tooth out on Monday, and the recovery has been more painful than expected, she caught a cold and then on Saturday night, she tripped in Northfields Avenue on the way to mine and got a nasty cut to her head. She’s ok but the cut wouldn’t stop bleeding so off to urgent care we went (me in my cozy pyjamas!). Two and a bit hours later, she had two stitches and some glue on the cut and that stopped the bleeding. I am very lucky to have a community of people here that help, Dionne for telling Ma that she had to go to hospital and Kathy for coming and picking us and taking us home (which was absolutely above and beyond with everything she has going on right now!)I’m also feeling really grateful for the NHS for stitching Ma up and that we didn’t have to worry about the cost of it. The Urgent Care Unit is privately run for the NHS and while it was great, I’m not sure we all truly understand how much of the NHS is already run by private companies and how much more it will be if the US get their way in a trade deal (and they absolutely will).

Other than that chunk of Saturday night, the weekend was lovely. Jo is in the country and brought Deborah over to see the plot. Deborah who says she isn’t cooking much nowadays make a cake, isn’t it beautiful?It’s not something I would say to her face (she’d tell me I was being ridiculous) but the Gauld kitchen and the way that she and Jo cook is one of the influences on my own cooking life and the reason I first tried my hand at baking bread!

This week, I intend not to be sick, to book a smear test (it might be TMI but we need to be open about the importance of them!) and check to see if I have an in date tetanus booster and if not to arrange one. I need to have a barnstorming week at work too, there’s just a lot to do so I really need to get my head down and get some stuff off the ‘to-do’ list.


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Friday Links: I was sick again!

Happy Friday! I’ve been busy and sick this week so I haven’t read much and there aren’t many links…

Ireland’s controversial centenaries are exposing the divides deepened by Brexit

The agony of weekend loneliness: ‘I won’t speak to another human until Monday’

Remainers aren’t going to vanish on 31 January. We fight on, sure of our cause. I’m not sure that I will fight on, but I know that what I won’t do is be quiet. I’ve had it with Brexiteers, telling me it’s going to be fine when I can patently see it isn’t or that we need to be more patriotic, it puts me in mind of the G.K. Chesterton quote “My country, right or wrong,” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.” Of course it’s my country but that doesn’t mean I agree with every one of its actions. So here it is, they voted for it, they got a majority and they are going to have to own the results, if it’s not sunlight uplands, those who voted to remain, get to say so. We get to point out that it didn’t work, that we were right and they were wrong and they will need to own that wrongness. But when it comes to it, I bet they won’t remember that this was what they wanted, it’ll be someone else’s fault that it’s all gone wrong.

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Allotment Adventures: Halfway there

I think we surprised ourselves this weekend.

We have both the larger squash beds built and got the paths in. I dug the area over, Ma did so much weeding and then because there was wood chip (ex Christmas trees) we sorted out the paths. We did consider making a bigger bed but then decided that the big wider path would work for potato buckets.

We have a ton of stuff still to do but we now have half of the new half more or less sorted with a structure in place.

The only other thing we did was buy new bird feeders for the new half.

The things in bold are what we need to work on next week, there will be some actual gardening happening.

  • Dig over and weed the area the second squash bed is going.
  • Build the second squash bed
  • Cut the blue pipe to the right size
  • Sow some more broad beans and cover the bed with netting
  • Pull up the chard and cover that bed
  • Use the various collected bricks around the plot to mark out the space where my bulbs are next to the herb bed.
  • Move the boysenberry
  • Split the autumn raspberry bed into two.
  • Sow sweet peas
  • Learn about transplanting roses
  • Order and install the first three long beds next to the fruit beds
  • Paint the shed
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What I’ve Read – November and December 2019

The end of the year was tricky and I completely dropped the ball on what I read, so here is most of it!

Shadowmagic – John Lenahan

Prince of Hazel and Oak – John Lenahan

Sons of Macha – John Lenahan

These were on my TBR list, they were easy and quite lovely to read.

When Did You Last See Your Father – Jodi Taylor

I have a Jodi Taylor problem, I seem to love everything she writes.

Eggnog Makes Her Easy – Erin Nicholas

This was a quick easy novella but I didn’t much care for it. It’s a culture thing.

Why Is Nothing Ever Simple – Jodi Taylor

Why isn’t it? I’m looking forward to the next full length St Mary’s but this was a delightful Christmas Day read.

Christmas Past – Jodi Taylor

See above..

Someone to Remember – Mary Balogh

I’m a bit cross. You don’t get many older romance heroines and I think this one deserved more than an novella.

Sword of Kings – Bernard Cornwell

I’m determined to see this series through, I am loving that Uhtred gets beaten occasionally on account of him being so old..

The Queen of Nothing – Holly Black

I loved this, I loved the whole series, I pretty much love all of Holly Black’s novels for slightly older readers. I loved Jude and I loved how this turned out!

A Single Thread – Tracy Chevalier

This is a subject I have a lot of personal sympathy with and I enjoyed it and the idea of found family but I really did find the ‘romance’ ridiculous and I found the ending unrealistic.

The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England – Ian Mortimer

This was a birthday present from Jo and I really enjoyed it. If you’re interested in the subject this is a great entry into the era..

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Monday Miscellany: Great for January

Happy MondayGuys last week was hard. We gradually have more light in January but in London at least the mornings are darker for a while and sunrise is right about 8am at this point in the month. I have to be at the station at 8am (at the absolute outside) so I’m leaving the house about 7:40am and the street lamps are still on and it still sucks, it always sucks…

So after two weeks of waking up about 7:50am and getting out of bed at about 8:15am, this week of needing to be out of bed at 6-ish is not at all fun. I have felt behind and struggling with work, like most of the office working world, I spend most of the first half of the week trying to find my brain. The week ended well though, I had my year of end appraisal, which was much better than I expected (I wasn’t expecting it to be bad but there was a bunch of really lovely feedback) and I do enjoy what I’m doing, so for this month at least I just need to hang on to that and power through until it gets lighter.

Other things this week, Ma and I saw Little Women, I had a good weekend and I’m ready for the week.

So for January, things are pretty good…

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Sunday Music: Nobody to Blame – Chris Stapleton

Tomorrow is my parents wedding anniversary. This seemed appropriate, as it does every time I think about my parents marriage.

Ma did tear up her wedding photos, shortly after the honeymoon, they had to get them reprinted..

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