Sunday Music: September – Earth, Wind and Fire

Because I couldn’t let September go by without putting this up!

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


After a cancellation, we are going on holiday today!

We have absolutely thought about the risks of this and decided to go anyway. Ma and I are a support bubble, we are staying in a cottage and our holidays don’t usually include a lot of eating out. The one change is our Newcastle day. Usually we get the bus into Newcastle and spend the day there, but we won’t do that this year, we’ll probably go for a longer walk. We’ve booked visits to Warkworth and Dunstanburgh, both ruined and mostly open air castles. But we probably won’t get to other places we were thinking about. We have masks and hand sanitiser at the ready.

Currently, none of the lockdown rules in London or in Northumberland prevent us doing this and right now, the risk to my mental health if I don’t have this break outweighs the risk of catching COVID for me.

I’m so lucky to be able to go and to enjoy the kind of ‘boring’ holiday that is naturally more COVID secure than most. Other than walking and reading and eating, I also want to pick up my daily body balance exercise, I did really well at the beginning of lockdown but it’s tailed off and with the new advice, I won’t be going back to the office regularly until next year so I need to develop some SAD strategies for working from home and daily body balance needs to be one of them!

Posted in How I Live, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Friday Links: Headless Chickens

Happy Friday! This is late, but here are this week’s links…

Matt Hancock, could you honestly think of no one better to run test and trace?

Working from home could be keeping Covid-19 at bay – for proof, look at London

England’s test and trace is a fiasco because the public sector has been utterly sidelined

Our social care workers must be paid a living wage

Fear of a cancelled Christmas is about more than just stockings or Santa

Enough with ‘local’ and ‘organic’. We’ll begin to eat well when we farm well

Grace Dent reviews Wong Kei’s. When I was 20 something, I told my mum (who is not keen on Chinese food) that I’d been to the rudest Chinese restaurant in London, she immediately said ‘Wong Kei’s?’. Ben had the same experience, Lu took him and he told us about the experience and we both were “So Wong Kei’s then?”. I’ve been there with godchildren 2-5, (Sarah took her own child so I didn’t need to and all we need for Noah is that we find somewhere they can stay because Wales is a long way from London!) and I have plans for Ms T when she’s a bit older (I think Lu and Ben will ensure that Oli and Joe get it!).

A Story of a Fuck Off Fund. This.

‘A weird liberation’: why women are exposing the wild truth about midlife and menopause. Well September brought hot flushes so I guess I’m going to learn all about it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Preserving the Plot: Pico de Gallo

I’ve preserved a lot of tomatoes this year but I haven’t preserved a lot of home grown tomatoes. Despite having just over 30 tomato plants this year, we’ve also eaten through a load of them. I’ve eaten so much tomato on toast this month it’s practically a food group.

I have made some tomato sauce and cooked with them but I really wanted to make salsa, the thing is that most salsa recipes require quite a lot of tomatoes, it doesn’t seem to be small batch. This pico de gallo makes about 1.5 litres and and it’s really simple to make with the food processor.

Next on the list is green tomato chutney! And a small batch of canned plum tomatoes.

Posted in Cooking, Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Allotment Adventures: Ready for the change of season

We actually did more than weeding and collecting this week!

The plot is still at the weird, messy and winding down stage we are still getting harvests but less squash and cucumbers and more leafy greens!

Winter Squash

We are still waiting on the rest of the winter squash and the last of the tomatoes, but have taken down the cherry tomatoes and the really poorly plants and I’ve stopped feeding them.

I have to confess, while I’m not at all ready for the dark days of autumn and winter, I am ready for the different type of work that winter brings, it’s less tending and more building. Once the squash and tomatoes are done, we can make a start on re-arranging the beds on the new half, and moving the compost bins and raspberries and setting up some support for the raspberries because they are all over the place in a way that the summer raspberries are not…

We might even manage to get a patio space built next to the pond and the rose garden but we’ll see how that goes.

I work we can do, over the last couple of weeks, we’ve planted another 10 cabbages and 40 winter lettuces, some of the lettuces perished in the mini heatwave last week. We’ve finished and closed up the cauliflower, carrot and courgette beds. We planted a bunch of spring bulbs but I need a good soaking rain before I can plant any by the pond, the soil is like rock!

Other growing work to do will be finding space for over wintering onions, garlic, shallots and broad beans.

Posted in allotment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monday Miscellany: Tapped Out

Happy Monday!

Confession time, someone should stick a fork in me because I’m done. I’m over it all. We had the virtual offsite on Friday and I’m so glad that I wasn’t presenting because by the time we got the end of it, I felt like I’d done the office work equivalent of run a marathon. This week, I have a week ‘in the office’ and then holiday and I really need it and if the announce another lockdown and we can’t go, I’m going to lose my mind. There are more restrictions in Northumberland but luckily Ma and I like to do things like old castles and walks and they will still be ok. We have decided that we won’t go to Newcastle for the day like we usually do and we may not get to all the castles, we had planned but the ruined ones are still ok. The weather won’t be brilliant but I don’t care, I just want to be besides the sea….

I get that everything is difficult for everyone, and if it doesn’t happen, I’ll find a way to cope but I’ve hit my wall this month and this has been keeping me going!

The only other thing I really want to do this week and can’t is meet my brother’s puppy, they got him today and he looks really cute, he’s called Barney and he’s a black lab and the boys are going to be so excited!

That’s it, have a good week!

Posted in How I Live | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monday Miscellany: Busy

Happy Monday!

Today I am taking a trip to the Southampton office. I need to get there, do some and hightail it out of there by about 2pm. Fun.

Was wasn’t fun was getting up at 6am, in the dark and being unable to get a coffee at Clapham Junction, this part of the ‘new normal’ I am not here for!

In other news, last week was a busy week, I have two more working weeks until I go on holiday and I am so ready for it! I need to be by the sea and near some old castles…

Other than work, plans for this week are more work, the Kenny’s and partners are coming for dinner, I need to get to the plot for the picking of raspberries and watering, it’s going to be hot for the first couple of days of the week and that is all of my plans!

Posted in How I Live | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Allotment Adventures: Ma does all the work (again)

I’ve not been to the allotment since Friday, when I spent an hour harvesting and left Ma on the plot to weed. I’m doing the same thing today and at the weekend, I’ll go and do some work while Ma weeds…

Bloody pigeons
Posted in allotment | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Monday Miscellany: Two Birthdays and a Quiz

Happy Monday!

I had such a good weekend that the working week is going to be a bit of a comedown!

In the week, we had a virtual birthday party for a friend. I hosted the work quiz, which Ma was here for, she didn’t win! I was supposed to spend Friday night at Ma’s but I was fried, work is pretty intense at the moment, so Ma stayed here and I went over on Saturday to attend to Mum’s washing machine! On Sunday, we went to my brother’s for the small nephew’s 5th birthday!

Everyone is well, it was loads of fun and all outdoors. I can’t believe that he’s five already!

Grandma also got a lesson in bouncy castles!

This week I have a ton of work to do, I want to spend a good long time on the plot and I really need to get the house into a cleaner place, it’s fine but the Kenny’s and their spouses are coming for dinner next week and therefore it’s time to really clean the floors!

Anyone else do ultra cleaning for other people, the house is always tidy but it’s always much tidier when I have company!

Posted in How I Live | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Friday Links: A Confederacy of Dunces…

Happy Friday! Schools are going back, the govt has not got anymore efficient and I’m tired and grumpy! Happy Autumn folks…

The Tory party has been hollowed out and filled with Boris Johnson’s vanity. It’s like Thatcher never happened, the Tory Party has been hollowing itself out pretty effectively since then. This didn’t just happen, it is, as with the Republicans in the US, the work of decades not just down to their latest leader…

A Week in Tory. This was Tuesday, there’s been more since. If I didn’t laugh, I’d weep…

Trump’s Republican National Convention Was a Spectacle Fit for a Would-Be King

Trump: Americans Who Died in War are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’

Obama returned to torment Trump in ways that only a member of the Oval Office club can

‘My world came crashing down’: how 2020 took me from a six-figure salary to universal credit . Being unemployed and on benefits is really hard. It leaves scars you

How the Pandemic Has Changed Us Already

This phoney war over Last Night of the Proms is everything we deserve.

Being a postal worker during lockdown has shown me who really values our work

Family recipes: how to revive your grandparents’ most delicious meals. After you’ve read this, could I please direct you to my most read post ever for my Grandad’s Bread Pudding and please for the love of God and Frank, use the required amount of mixed spice, it needs an entire tub…

Tune in, drop out

Posted in Links | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment