Sunday Music: Hope the High Road – Jason Isbell and 400 Unit

I love Jason Isbell and I hate November.

This song is everything I want in November

I know you’re tired
And you ain’t sleeping well
And likely mad as hell
But wherever you are
I hope the high road leads you home again
To a world you want to live in

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Recommendation: Ginger Shots

When I feel poorly, I stock up on these, not always the M&S version pictured, Pret and Sainsburys and probably other supermarkets sell something similar. Generally when I have a cold they make me feel better and when I have a cough the ginger really helps me stop coughing…

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Friday Links: Disaster week

Happy Friday, I’m in Southampton again today because I’m an idiot and left my laptop there yesterday! And that was the least annoying thing about yesterday’s trip, I hope you had a better week..

What’s Happening in Florida Is a Nightmare. 2020 Could Be So Much Worse. I have a lot of issues with elections in the UK but I’m really glad that we don’t have these problems. Also I think I’m opposed to voting machines and would like to keep pen and paper because that seems to work!

May seems to think she can go on and on. But she’s running out of road

The Brexit wreckers are slinking away from the rancid mess they’ve made

Exclusive: universal credit linked to suicide risk, says study

Woman who bore rapist’s baby faces 20 years in El Salvador jail. I would like to think that this is an extreme example but as I get older, I am more and more convinced that anti-abortionists are motivated less by the ‘unborn’ and more by outrage that women when given the choice don’t always want to have a baby. How is it that this woman is in prison but the man that raped her and continued to threaten her walks free? It’s because society cares more about punishing women and by default scaring them then it does about justice.

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Allotment Adventures: November visit

After a week’s absence, the allotment was the beginning of my very busy Saturday.It’s looking very autumnal at the moment and Saturday was a very quick visit.

We cleared up the Halloween stuff and cleared the nasturtiums that finally admitted defeat in the face of the frosts. We also picked the last lettuce and carrots, and the usual chard and kale. As well as some mustard and pak choi.

We knew it would be a short trip, next weekend Ma has booked a car so we can go and buy compost and make a start on filling beds and sow things to overwinter.

We are having a go at garlic again this year. I grew it the first winter I had the plot and it wasn’t terribly successful (it got rust), this year I decided that I’d buy some from somewhere other than Wilkinsons. I’ve heard great things about The Garlic Farm but there seems to be a problem with the website and although I tried and Ma tried over several different cards, it wouldn’t take our order. So I ordered from Suttons. The Lovers Autumn Planting Collection. Which claimed to have two bulbs each of Printanor, Germidour, Messidrome and Red Duke, I actually got three bulbs of the softnecks and two of the Red Duke which is a hardneck. We also need to sow the broad beans which we do every year. I know I could sow them in spring but there is something about having some things growing through winter that is hopeful and I like it. I’m also considering doing the same with some peas and I want to start some sweet peas too, which I’ll plant in pots and then cover up with fleece. I didn’t have a good year with the sweet peas this year so I’m going to see if this way works any better and if it does, it’s one less thing to have in the living room in spring!

That’s plenty to be doing and we’ll be covering up any beds that we aren’t using again until spring too. They’ll get a weed and maybe a top up and then covered to stop the foxes digging them up, they can and do have enough fun on all the paths!

If there is any light and/or time left over, there is a bonfire that needs to happen and a shed that could do with another coat of paint.Then we can start thinking about next season. We do have space constraints and I don’t think that we’ll be able to build anymore beds. So next year will be more of the same, we will have more flowers on the plot, and hopefully the spring bulbs we planted (tulips/snowdrops/snakes head fritillary) will join the grape hyacinth in the spring. The Californian poppies, aramanth, borage and nasturtium will (within limits) be allowed to do their thing and hopefully the lavenders in the ground and verbena bonariesus will survive the winter. Next year, I’ll like to grow more marigolds and have a go at calendula (which will probably self seed the year after and suits me fine!)For herbs, the hardy and half hardy perennials in the herb bed (rosemary, sage, oregano, lemon verbena, chives and tarragon should all be fine). The mint and summer savoury in the bathtub are dying back and I’m hoping that the mint will come back next year. I also have a lemon balm which seeded into one of this year’s tomato beds, that will need a new location and a chocolate mint and chamomile that I’m hoping to nurse through winter and plant out in pots.  I have two little lavenders that will go into terracotta pots as soon as we buy some compost! The annuals parsley, dill and basil, we’ll sow again in spring because we love them.For vegetables, I’m not sure that we’ll grow much new to us veg. We will increase potato production because we really enjoyed them. We’ll grow peas and beetroot and we may grow more beetroot than last year because Ma doesn’t believe in too much!  Salad crops as we did last year. We had the right amount of courgettes and crookneck this year and we really like what we grow. The success of last year was the winter squash and the three sisters bed. So we’ll grow more of all of that. The plan is put the corn, squash and borlotto beans in a bigger bed and with smaller squash, so probably the uchuri kiki in that bed and something else in the climbing squash boxes.  I also want to grow bigger butternuts next year. I also want to devote a bed to carrots and try some more autumn crops (swedes, more pak choi and have a think about other things we could grow maybe under cover for the winter!)However the chard, kale and leeks are winter staples and we’ll do them again. It seems strange that just as the current beds of these finish, I’ll be sowing leeks and kale again!

It was a good tomato year and we’ll grow plum, baby plum and black Russians again I do think that 3 beds might be enough next year, we can always use the buckets for extra. I also want a couple of more blueberries plants next year and next year will be the first year, we can pick from all three rhubarb plants. Which is good because the year after that, we’ll need to split the big one on the corner, but I’ll worry about that later.

This time of year is strange, we’ve just finished with summer and we are tired but there is still quite a bit to do before we can stop for a bit and some things to harvest and it really doesn’t take much for the planning for next year to start. There will be a point in January went the new seeds come into Wilko and I’ll be ramping up for spring again….

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Monday Miscellany: Introvert’s nightmare

Saturday seemed to be an experiment to see how many parties one introvert could go to in a day without going mad. Three is too many. Especially when one of them is for 6 year olds…

On Sunday I did nothing and hardly talked to anyone…

This week is going to be much like last week, work and sleep and a relatively quiet weekend. I’m going for minimal interaction with human beings…


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Sunday Music: Drink, Drink, Drink – Mario Lanza

Today is Remembrance Sunday and 100 years since the end of the First World War. So this is a very happy song for such a sad day.

But when I think of war and soldiers, I think of my Grandad. Grandad was shaped by both world wars, he was born at the beginning of the First and his father was in it for the whole four years and he fought in the Second. 

It was something he didn’t like to talk about but it shaped him profoundly. So I could talk about sacrifice and freedom and what they fought for but this is what I know, my family is still dealing with what war and military service did to it and I wish people would be more careful when they talk about ‘heroes and freedom’. We honour service men and women by making sure they don’t have to fight, we honour the war dead by looking after their families, we honour injured servicemen by making sure that they have what they need to thrive after war, we honour military service by making sure that veterans don’t end up on the street because they haven’t had the support to make sure that their service doesn’t haunt and damage them afterwards.

On Thursday, it’s 104 years since my Grandad was born and I will honour the entirety of his life of which military service was part, by playing music that we both like. Grandad liked Mario Lanza (we come by it honestly!) and I like this song. Drinking (not that my teetotal Grandad did), dancing and celebrating life is how I will honour him.

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Friday Links: On a Saturday….

I am late getting this up, it has been a week. Ma says I’m to apologise for my lateness, because she likes to read links on Friday! At least one person is reading it!

Run: Why the public marriage proposal at the New York City Marathon is the absolute worst of the trend

How to make Christmas cake. This is not how I do it see here for what I make but if you were thinking about it now’s the time..

Rigging the vote: how the American right is on the way to permanent minority rule. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

Britain has never looked so foolish in the world’s eyes. This isn’t pretty either but he’s so right…

Fellow evangelicals: stop falling for Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. I’m not an evangelical but it is un-Christian. I find that people that spend a lot of time prattling on about being Christian can often be the ones who spend the least time showing Christianity in their actions..

‘The NHS is paying me buttons. I can’t cope’

They shall not pasty: why British soldiers are banned from Greggs

Outrageous! Did we defeat Hitler only to surrender our basic freedom to eat baked goods? Hitler was largely defeated by the Soviet Union, a totalitarian police state where baked goods were often hard to come by.

Democrats Are So, So Bad at This

‘Miserable staff don’t make money’: the firms that have switched to a four-day week

Winter blues? A practical guide to getting more light in your life

Why are we surprised that therapy has its downsides?. I didn’t expect that therapy would make me happy, I expected that it would help me cope with my unhappiness. My naturally stoic nature at work there.

David Cameron, get back in your hut. You’ve done enough damage


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