Monday Miscellany

Last week seemed ridiculously busy, I don’t think it actually was but Monday night was a transport nightmare and then something I had to get done ate up an hour and a half of my life! I was out on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. All things I wanted to do but I feel that another day at home just pottering about would be a good thing!
I went to a football match on Friday night, it was old Chelsea players vs old Inter Milan players. We lost 4-1 and I have to say it the old Inter players looked much fitter than our guys! The next day the actual Chelsea team, won the FA Cup, which was the important news of the day!

When I’m in the vicinity of a TV and there’s football on I watch it but I much prefer watching it live. It’s just better, I think it’s because I grew up with limited football on TV but with a lot of actual football matches in my life and still not as many as B did. If I won the lottery I’d want a season ticket!We did all the planting on the plot on Saturday and this morning when I went to water, some of the plants where not doing too well, I’m a bad plant parent.

My plans for the week involve leaving the house at 7:30am every morning this week. I also have a doctors appointment, I’m babysitting on Tuesday night and there is allotment watering to attend to!  So not too busy, not too relaxed. What are your plans for this week.

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Sunday Music

Sometimes you need something, foot stomping and hand clapping and Nathaniel Rateliff has you covered…

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Friday Links

Happy Friday! It’s been a week, which is something I’ve been saying quite a lot lately, things are in flux, people and it’s a strange place to be. Other than that, it’s been a pretty successful week.

This week on the blog, there was miscellany, rhubarb gin and an allotment update.

Here are this week’s links…

Just when you think Trump has done all the damage to the world he possibly could. There is more. Trump threw a match into Jerusalem with no plan to put out the fire. This week, Israeli soldiers were killing Palestinians. I have no doubt that Hamas is coordinating the protests, it was Nabka day this week so there were going to be protests but no Israeli deaths versus 60 and 2500 injured. That is a slaughter, not a defence. One thing about Hamas, extremism is mostly a product of hopelessness. I don’t like Hamas, I think their views are repugnant but if you refuse to deal with them, if you refuse to allow any light in, then Hamas is what you get. Israel has a right to exist but it has to recognise that it was founded by displacing Palestinians and it can understand that without ceding it’s right to exist. What it can’t do, is claim to be the bastion of democracy of the Middle East and do what it’s doing to Palestinians, that’s just hypocrisy. What Israel is doing, the policies it’s government executes, the corruption of it’s Prime Minster is wrong. It’s not antisemitic to say so.

Mysterious rise in banned ozone-destroying chemical shocks scientists. Sometimes I absolutely despair of the world. The ban in CFC’s and the gradual repair of the ozone layer was something that we got right. I really question whether humans deserve this planet…

My life was so hectic that I welcomed getting ill. Ma used to say that you could have a happy marriage, children or a job but you could only have two at a time. I don’t know if that’s true, seeing as I only have the job part of that equation but there’s something about how we live right now that makes us feel time poor.

Yet again a private franchise has failed on the East Coast Mainline, but when it was rescued last time and was state run, it made a profit. This should tell you something. I don’t agree with all of this piece by Andrew Adonis because I believe that national utilities (trains, water, energy should be nationalised) but it makes some good points.

Because it’s not 2018 or anything. Bank deputy fails test for top job with ‘menopause’ comment.

Gareth Southgate sticks to his guns with squad it’s hard to argue with We are entering a World Cup summer which, along with Euro summers, are the only times I really miss having a TV. England are not going to win but I’m really pleased that Southgate is taking a younger team.

The Deadpool Moment. We saw this last night and loved it.

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Allotment Adventures: Everything is growing but mostly the weeds

This weekend was another solo weekend at the plot for me. I don’t know what the weather did where you are but on Saturday, it rained and rained, so I stayed indoors and on Sunday after my regular dog walking appointment with Sarah, I went to the plot via Wilko to pick up 6 of these. Yes, they were heavy and yes I did get funny looks on the bus!

The first order of the day was to do some weeding in the absence of the weedmaster also known as Ma! I weeded around the plum tree and hyacinths, there was a lot of grass. I also dug up more stray raspberry runners. Two years ago when I got the plot, Joe told me that he’d been thinking of pulling them up, they’d been planted sometime in the early 1970’s and he thought maybe they were just exhausted. They were certainly weed infested. That summer, we worked really hard, weeding and then mulching with compost and woodchip. Other than weeding them, that is all we’ve done and they have sprung back to life and annoyingly all over the rest of the plot! It’s a good problem to have!

Then I got busy with the hammer and put together the new winter squash bed.I was talking to my plot neighbour T (who is always teasing me about how much work Ma does, while I just swan about planting things!), as more people are back on their plots, I get lots of comments about how tidy our plot is. To be fair it is mostly pretty tidy but what it isn’t is straight. If I had planned the layout of the plot and knowing what I know now, I would probably have levelled it first. Instead, we just plonked the beds in as we could afford them, so straight and level the plot isn’t. We decided that this adds to my plot’s ramshackle charm, I wouldn’t want it to be too perfect! Which is why I’m not bothered by the not perfectly straight new squash bed.Last week, I took some of the over abundance of tomato plants and put them in the cloche. They were looking quite limp due to being a bit scorched so I decided to plant them out and see if they’d survive.  If they don’t, I have a whole bunch at home to plant out. We are formally past our official frost date now, so everyone is going mental planting stuff out. I had planned to plant everything out over the bank holiday weekend, but the plants indoors are in dire need of planting out so I may plant the courgettes and squash out next weekend. We’ll see what the weather is doing.

I did manage to give away some of my extra seedlings away so that’s all good and got to see Dionne as well. I have rhubarb envy, hers is doing much better than mine. Maybe we’re taking too much! The same cannot be said of my strawberries, which are going bananas, hopefully that will translate into fruit!My salad bed is beginning to flourish too. Last year the nasturtiums went bananas on this bed and I said that we weren’t planting any this year, but there are a couple in this bed amongst the lettuce!The broad beans look wonderful but I found black fly on the tops, bloody ants… I removed the tops and we’ll keep an eye on them but I’m beginning to believe it’s just the price I have to pay for broad beads. We are about three weeks away from our first harvest so it’s going to be a race between me and them vs. the ants!Lastly, look at that oreganoHard to believe that it started out as a tiny little thingAnyway, I’m feel that we are finally catching up and soon the manic watering phase of summer will begin…


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Too much rhubarb? Make gin

This weekend I started some rhubarb gin.

I had 777g of washed, chopped rhubarb (this actually isn’t from my plants, it’s from Dionne’s massive plants!), I added 350g of sugar and then covered with 900ml gin*.It’s in a dark cupboard, and I’ll give it a shake every day until the sugar dissolves and leave it for about 6 weeks.

*A note about the gin. Use a decent one that is at least 40% ABV, it does matter, don’t use a rubbish gin. It doesn’t have to be expensive, Morrisons and Sainsburys both do decent affordable gins with a decent ABV.

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Monday Miscellany

I don’t really believe in horoscopes but I read this in my horoscope for last week and it perfectly expressed how the last couple of months has been for me

There’s so much pressure to sell yourself as a completed product, as a neatly packaged brand, but you’re a person, too. Don’t stop doing what you need to survive in the noise, but don’t be fooled into thinking you’re nothing more than your survival tactics.

And this is why people believe them because that was just perfect.

Sarah and I went for our usual weekend walk with the dog and when we got to Brentford, there were ducklings all huddled up. I was besides myself with joy!There was also a swan, that was not very happy to see Fred but was very pretty when Fred ran offNext week the Woman’s Hour drama is ‘celebrating’ the 200th anniversary of Emily Bronte’s birthday with Wuthering Heights. Look, you could tell me that Wuthering Heights was your favourite book, but then we could never be friends. It’s a terrible book even before you twig that Heathcliffe is other, possibly mixed race and then his behaviour has all sorts of awful readings beyond him being an abusive arsehole. Nope, nope a thousand times nope…

This week is going to be a bit busy, cinema on Thursday (Deadpool 2) and Chelsea Legends vs Inter Forever on Friday and then Tom and Yoey’s party on Saturday night, I’m also at the tail end of migraine fortnight so I need to prioritise sleep and calm. We’ll see how it goes…

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Friday Links

Happy Friday! I hope you’ve all had a productive week.

As ever with the weeks after Bank Holidays, I felt discombobulated all week because the days are all out of sync but I battled through and managed to have a fairly productive week at work but you will have noticed that posting has been all over the place. Sometimes I find the time and sometimes, I don’t! However, this week, I did manage to write miscellany and allotment adventures and this post so I don’t feel so bad.

It’s been an important week for learning. Things I have learnt this week: 1) In the US, they call Nutella ‘Nu-tella’ which isn’t wrong (ok it’s wrong but it’s not a hill to die on) but just odd. 2) Until Europeans stumbled upon the New World, broad (fava) beans were the only beans that we had.

The more you know.

Anyway here are this week’s links…

A radical way to cut emissions – ration everyone’s flight. In the last 10 years, I’ve taken 8 trips that involved flying, Dublin, Ben and Laura’s wedding, 2 trips to Belfast to see Ryan, 2 long haul trips (Cote d’Ivoire and DC), a flight back from Edinburgh for work and Strasbourg to look after Ms T. Even that looks like a lot and it will never happy because limiting flights hits the well off and no one wants to do that.

There’s a reason white women’s tears have gone viral. I’ve read the original Guardian article and seen some of the twitter debate about it. I’m not aware of having done any of this but I think it’s really important to hear what is being said and consider my behaviour in the context of it. Look, it’s not a conspiracy, if that many BAME women have experienced this, then it’s happening.

The panic of turning 40. Really? I honestly didn’t mind that much, it felt like the no-bullshit birthday, with most things that feel daunting, they aren’t if you look them in the eye but maybe because of the terrible time that had been my 30’s it was just relief that they were over.

Incredible Edible: Yorkshire town’s food-growing scheme takes root worldwide. You all know how much I think of growing food if you can and volunteering as good for the soul. This combines the two!

South Georgia declared rat-free after centuries of rodent devastation. I heard about this on the Today Programme this week.

The Great High School Imposter. there is such a difference between British and American journalist styles but despite that this is interesting.

Flat shoes you can walk to work in. Not if you don’t want to experience a lifetime of foot pain. So much wrong in most of these suggestions…

Working while grieving. If being dumped for God, isn’t bad enough. Having that person before you have it out of your system, while you still love them has got to be horrific. I just feel so sad for her. I know, through lots of hard won experience, that she will get through it but it’s hard and difficult, made more so because he wasn’t her boyfriend anymore. What I’ve learnt is that people love a label and a hierarchy and not being married to the dead person before they die doesn’t count to a lot of people so sympathy is withheld but your grief isn’t any less.  Grieving can be a kind of madness and the only thing to do is to take one step, and then another and just try to keep going.

My life before was unreasonable, for lots of reasons. But death is double-unreasonable, because you can neither argue with it nor understand it. It simply is.

And if death is double unreasonable, grief is triple unreasonable. The pain of it is unreasonable; the way it swirls and eddies into every corner of your life is unreasonable; the empty place in the centre of you is as unreasonable and inexplicable as looking into a black hole. These metaphors don’t make much sense. I know that, but I also know that writing these words puts the roof over my head. I also know that, like millions of others in this country, I am working perhaps before I am truly ready to go back to work because I don’t have a choice.

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