Allotment Adventures: Still haven’t sorted out the compost bins

I’m beginning to think that the compost bins are cursed. First, the screws were lost, then it rained and rained, this week the screw bit for drill vanished.

Instead of building the compost bins, we weeded the rose garden and pond area. I dug up the two rose bushes that weren’t growing this year and planted the 3 lavender plants, that were in pots and needed to be in the ground, in that area, I re-sited a verbena to the corner and also planted some bulbs. The other thing we did was move all the stones around the pond, weeded and laid some weed fabric around it, then replaced the stones, we need to collect more stones for that area but this way will be slightly less weedy.

We moved the bricks at the front of that bed to the side and put some more woodchip on that side path. The plan is to have a patio that runs the length of the rose garden and pond and I’m hopeful that the plants will spread and cover more of the ground. It’s a work in progress but it’s a much tidier work in progress now.

We planted the shallot sets and most of the onion sets.

I feel like we have 101 things to do right now and I keep having new ideas! Priority for next week, are the compost bins and sowing the broad beans. I really need to paint the shed and then I think the rest of the month is about weeding and if there is anymore woodchip, more of it on the paths.

Other building work that it would be nice to do before Christmas, is building the third bed next to the two new ones, and dividing the remaining big squash bed but that requires some weeding at the side of the plot.

All of that but especially the weeding should take us to Christmas. In January, we’ll need to start thinking about a massive compost delivery, a patio and I have some plans for the beds on the old half that will make growing cabbages and cauliflowers easier.

One day, I’ll have done all I want to do and I’ll just grow stuff…honest..

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November Happy – Weeks 2, 3 and 4

I’ve missed the last few weeks, I saw someone describe themselves as ‘feeling like a phone who’s battery is never above 10%’ and it was the best description of how I’ve felt this month, but I’m rallying…

3rd – A walk with a friend

Sue and I went for a lunchtime walk and it’s lovely, when it’s not raining

4th – Ted Lasso

I spent Wednesday reminding myself that not all things that come out of the US are terrible. This is one of them

5th – The joy of working at a desk

It was a pretty dull day but the joy of not having to work in my kitchen because I have a desk in the living room is great!

6th – Wine

We ordered some wine, it makes me happy

7th – President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris

Ok, so at the time of writing, the Orange one hasn’t conceded but Biden/Harris feels like the promise of a return to sanity.

8th – Minter Wonderland is back this Christmas.

I’d like to thank Ben, Jerry and the tiny baby Jesus..

9th – Pancakes for breakfast

Do I have to explain why pancakes make me happy?

10th – Puppy Photos

B sends us photos of Barney, he’s very cute

11th – I caught a mouse

I’m not happy about the mouse, but I am happy that it seems to have been dealt with and I did it, with only minor freaking out

12th – A realisation of how far we’ve come

I’ve been feeling a bit down about the state of the plot recently, but then a picture came up of the plot last year and it looks so much better now than it did last year. We have done a lot, even if it’s not perfect, it’s in ok shape and it’s been really productive.

13th – A conversation with Jo

Cote d’Ivoire has had elections in November and they’ve not gone brilliantly, so it was good to catch up and find out what she and Ms T are up to.

14th – Allotment in the rain

It was a bit of a blowout but we did get to the plot and we did harvest produce and we had a lovely cosy afternoon indoors…

15th – A slow day

I had a very lazy day. I finished another book, watched some of Season 4 of The Crown, it was a nice rest.

16th – Monday rolls around

If I won the lottery, I would give up work, but I haven’t yet. So I work. I’m grateful to have a job at the moment but I’m really happy, really happy in this role, with this colleagues and at this company. Having had work but hating it for years, this feels like a blessing..

17th – Post Office

I’ve been at the Post Office a lot recently, today the guy at the counter recognised me!

18th – Food prep

I got my act together and made hot stew and kale and mushroom pasta, it’s all portioned up and in the freezer and that and a kitchen tidy, made me feel more in control of my life. I’m also extremely aware of how lucky I am to have enough food that I can have an evening of making food for the future!

19th – Nearly done with parcels

I’ve finished sending out work advent calendars and I’ve started the Christmas boxes, it’s going to be so great when they’re done

20th – Work Quiz

I did not win the quiz, but I did come second!

21st – Manhattans with Mother

22nd – Oli turns 11

How did that happen? He was such a tiny, little thing…

23rd – Tidy up

I started Monday on a mission. I had a conversation on Sunday that made me remember that when I take action, I fix myself. So I started the week with some action!

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Monday Miscellany: Dig Deep

Happy Monday!

It’s no secret that I struggle in winter but especially in November, so while my mental health is pretty ok right now (you know with it being November and 2020!) I have been lacking in mojo. My get up and go, got up and went and I need it back at least from now until Christmas.

The struggle is real but I know what works best for me and that it an almighty kick up the backside and starting to take control. There is a balance between rest and activity, the problem with too much activity is that you get tired. But I’ve gone the other way, I’ve had too much rest and in resting, haven’t done the things that give me mental respite, like having a tidy house. Don’t knock it, if the house is tidy, it’s restful to my eyes and brain.

Boxes everywhere, I’ve been dreaming about these boxes

So this morning, after doing a thorough anti mouse clean of the kitchen, I started to gently sort things out. All my work Christmas boxes are wrapped and ready for the post office because I need them gone! I’m going to spend this week getting properly on top of the house, so that next week I can finally put up my new bedroom curtains and start making sure that the flat is in good shape for Ma’s birthday and Christmas.

I’ve also been slipping on Golden Hour activities and it’s time to get back to them. It’s really easy at the moment to slip into feeling down and feeling that we can’t change things that aren’t right in our life or how we feel, sometimes that’s true but not always. I know that a bit of SAD and being at home all the bloody time is the least of what some people are going through at the moment. I can’t change much about a global pandemic, but I can order my environment, I can call a friend and go for a walk. Those things help.

Sometimes the sun shines, after you’ve spend a hour walking in the rain

I would like to encourage you, if you are in a similar place, to find one thing you can do, that might help you feel that you’ve positively helped yourself. That could be a walk, or a phone call to a friend. It could be committing for this week, to making your bed in the morning, or doing all the washing up in the sink once a day, it could be making sure that you brush your hair every day. Find the thing, do it regularly, when it’s habit, find the next thing. Better mental health is possible for most of us, with tiny little steps.

It’s a bit hokey, but my depression tells me that I’m useless and unloveable. I can look at the concrete things I’ve done in my day (the tidy kitchen or made bed, the friend I spoke to today, the dinner I cooked) I see that it’s not true. These things are not going to fix you overnight but they will help.

So clearly my plan for the week is to be active and engaged in managing myself, my time, my work and my flat!

Let’s see how it goes!

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Recommended: Dorset Meats

This year, I’ve been working towards eating less but better quality meat. Last month I ordered the introductory box from Dorset Meats.

It came in an insulated box and was in really good condition and the meat is really good, I haven’t tried the sausages or the minced beef yet but Ma and I ate the beef joint and the pork chops, I’ve made lamb stew and had a steak, all of it was really good.

I’m going to order the meat for Christmas and Ma’s birthday next week too. I was really impressed.

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Friday Links: Captain Hindsight

Happy Friday!

All this week, I’ve been confused as to what the day is. On Wednesday I was convinced it was Tuesday and I’m not sure that it is actually Friday today! Here are this week’s links…

Pandemic could lead to profound shift in parenting roles, say experts

Bullying inquiry ‘found evidence Priti Patel broke ministerial code’ Is anyone actually surprised that ‘Little Ms Smirk’ is also a bully? Nah, I didn’t think so..

An expensive sinking feeling as Johnson seeks to rule the waves. This is fiddling while Rome burns, we still don’t have a deal with the EU and England is in lockdown…

The British government’s first disaster of 2021? A food shortage. My point…

Is Britain really about to embrace chaos and misery for the sake of Brexit dogma? Yes, it is.

Boris Johnson’s saboteur is back, and looking strangely familiar

New shenanigans are afoot in Michigan as Trump tries to block certification of Biden’s win. It’s time for the Republicans to decide if they really believe in the Republic or in Trump and authoritarianism. I’m afraid that they are going for the latter.

In his new memoir, Obama defends — and critiques — his legacy

Barack Obama Talks to David Olusoga. This is worth a listen too.

Stacey Abrams On Finishing the Job In Georgia. Stacey Abrams is an amazing woman, and this, is one of the many reasons why…

I was never guaranteed a victory in 2018, and I wasn’t owed a victory, but I am owed a system — as voters, we are owed a system — that actually works the right way. And as we headed into 2020, we were able to use the lessons of ’18 to help fix that system, much to the chagrin of Donald Trump, who thinks that the consent decree cost him the election. Well, yeah! When people get to participate, it may have consequences that are not what you seek.

Rudy Melts Down Over Trump and ‘Voter Fraud’ During Insane Press Conference

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Monday Miscellany: November-ish

Happy Monday!

I’m feeling November-ish. It’s dark and dull and the weather is terrible and I’ve not done any of the things that we’d planned to do at the plot. So peak November.

Yesterday would have been my Grandad’s 106th birthday, at this time of year I often post pictures of Grandad as a younger man but this is Grandad at about 80. It’s such a Grandad expression. Grandad was the bringer of fruit, when he was alive, we always had an overflowing fruit bowl and we had to put the throw on the chair because he loved sitting in it and his brycreem had destroyed the original cream upholstery the chairs came with, which is why I had them re-upholstered in red.

So one remembered birthday and next Sunday, it’s the turn of the eldest nephew.

This week, I shall be mostly sending out Christmas boxes and trying to be cosy!

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Friday Links: Done

Happy Friday! People, I’ve had a week. I know that it’s darker nights and the boredom of being at home all the time (which I kind of like but not when I have to work!). But I have reached the stage of ‘stick a fork in me, I’m done!’

I will talk about the mouse visitor I had this week later. I just can’t right now. I just need to finish today strong and have a good weekend. I’d also really like my desk chair to arrive, but we can’t have everything at once (I’m told!).

But overall, I feel like 2020 is trying, Joe Biden is President Elect, there is a vaccine, Dominic Cummings no longer works at Number 10! Small steps.

Anyway here are this week’s links…

Boris Johnson has to stop playing games and agree a deal with Europe

Mary Trump on the end of Uncle Donald: all he has now is breaking things

Trump Won’t Accept Defeat. Ever.

Mike Pompeo: ‘There Will Be a Smooth Transition to a Second Trump Administration’. This is scary…

Inheritance, not work, has become the main route to middle-class home ownership. I was banging on about this in the bloody 90’s…

UK increasingly reliant on fruit and veg from climate-hit countries – study

It’s official: allotments are good for you – and for your mental health. File under, things I already knew!

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Monday Miscellany: Finally something good…

Happy Monday!

I feel like last week was both really quick AND 100 years long. It needed pancakes!

Obviously a non narcissist President Elect, is not going to solve all the world’s ills and the UK still has Johnson and his cabinet of idiots in (when the Times is pointing out Tory nepotism and incompetence, it’s bad), but it feels like it could be better and in this hellscape of a year, I’m calling that good!

This week is going to be heavily work focussed, we have a ton to do before we can relax for Christmas and we have about six weeks until Christmas and we are sprinting for the finish.

So work, sleep, exercise. That’s all that’s happening this week.

Finally in case you missed any posts last week:

November Happy

Allotment Adventures

Hot Stew

Friday Links

Recommended: The Cheese Tasting Co YouTube

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Recommended: The Cheese Tasting Company YouTube

Yesterday, Jo told me that her friend Ned, the author of A Cheesemonger’s History of the British Isles has a YouTube channel.

I met Ned a couple of times and he’s that perfect combination of knowledge and enthusiasm for his subject. Watching Ned taking about cheese is very soothing in this imperfect world. If you haven’t bought the book, you really should because it’s excellent.

So go and watch and subscribe to Ned’s channel and learn about cheese. For my family who have no cheese manners, there is a video on how to cut cheese.

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Friday Links: Lockdown 2.0

Happy. Friday! It’s been quite the week, I feel we could have improved relations with the US if we’d sent our election officials and counters from Newcastle and Sunderland South (for those that don’t know, they are the two constituencies that declare first!). But last night Trump went over a line of decency. We’ll get to that later but I’ll start with local stuff first!

Here are this week’s links…

Lord of misrule. Rory Stewart with a beautiful article on Boris Johnson and why he’s ruining public life…

Perhaps it is envy. Johnson is after all the most accomplished liar in public life – perhaps the best liar ever to serve as prime minister. Some of this may have been a natural talent – but a lifetime of practice and study has allowed him to uncover new possibilities which go well beyond all the classifications of dishonesty attempted by classical theorists like St Augustine. He has mastered the use of error, omission, exaggeration, diminution, equivocation and flat denial. He has perfected casuistry, circumlocution, false equivalence and false analogy. He is equally adept at the ironic jest, the fib and the grand lie; the weasel word and the half-truth; the hyperbolic lie, the obvious lie, and the bullshit lie – which may inadvertently be true. And because he has been so famous for this skill for so long, he can use his reputation to ascend to new levels of playful paradox. Thus he could say to me “Rory, don’t believe anything I am about to say, but I would like you to be in my cabinet” – and still have me laugh in admiration.

Opinion: Alastair Campbell What Johnson and Corbyn have in common. I always felt that the New Labour project was flawed on the issues that mattered (housing, making work actually pay) and it’s solutions were sticking plasters (PPI and Working Tax credit). That’s before we deal with the disaster that was Iraq. All that to say, that I’m constantly surprised to find myself agreeing with Alastair Campbell, and here is another example…

Liverpool is tired, angry and ready for a fight with Boris Johnson. I missed this, but why doesn’t the rest of the country feel this way?

There are other things going on in the world and indeed other elections…

Ivory Coast president wins third term after opposition boycotts ‘sham’ election

US embassy urges Ivory Coast leaders to respect election ‘process’ hours after Donald Trump challenges vote.

Stephen Colbert nails the damage that Trump is doing to his country. The USA is really leaning in to it’s dark side.

Trump’s deep narcissism acted as a distorted mirror for millions of voters

Captain Hindsights always insist that whatever just happened in an election was both totally foreseeable and proves their theory. But this election is not proving any theory, other than that the US electoral system is, yet again, not fit for purpose, when a candidate can win millions more votes and still not necessarily win.

The future of the Senate majority could hinge on two Georgia runoffs

Trump’s desperate White House rant was everything people feared about his presidency in a nutshell

Today’s funny is Ted Lasso…

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