Monday Miscellany: And yet Lord, I am fed up

Happy Monday!

The rose that we have named after my Grandma, flowering on the week of my Grandad’s birthday!

So there’s a translation of the Book of Job, where God lays into Job for questioning Him. In most translations, Job is repentant in the face of God’s power and majesty. In this one Job replies “I have heard you and now my eye has seen you. That is why I am fed up.”

I love this. It reminds me that God wants relationship with all of us, all our good and bad, he did not create us to be automatons, obedient to His will. God created us for relationship, with Him and with each other and He gave us free will so we can choose that relationship.

The middle isle of Lidl was useful for new pots

I’ve spent considerable chunks of my time depressed, to get out of that hole, one of the things I did was remind myself to be grateful (example from 2015 here), it does work but it sucks to have to list all the good things when you feel terrible and useless, at some point in the recitation of things for which I am grateful, I feel ok with a ‘and yet Lord, I am fed up’.

This rather long explanation is a way of explaining that last week was a ‘and yet’ week.

Team building

Why? Well, November, the state of the world, and every little thing going wrong. On Monday, the IT at work stopped, on Tuesday, it was three hours with IT separate from the global IT issues at work, on Wednesday, the reservation I booked for Friday’s team meal was cancelled (we found out via an article in the Southampton Echo not from the restaurant!) and I had to scramble to find a new booking (I did it but not without having to contact14 restaurants!), and the office move due to happen at the weekend, that I’d been working on was postponed for a week. Postponement has been a thing this week, on Thursday, it was announced that the new kitchen would not be in situ for Christmas as I had been told, but work will start in January instead (yes had I spent last week accommodating my mind to moving out for two weeks in December). My stress levels were such that I bought two bottles of gin and another cast iron pot in Lidl, but I managed to wrestle Thursday to a win with organisation (I have a very organised fridge with all veggies prepped!)

Train wine

I was feeling confident about Friday, I was up at 5am, to get a bus at 6.10am to the station. Except that the bus didn’t turn up and that ticket machine at the station didn’t’ work and I didn’t get to Southampton until 8:53 and not at 8:35 as planned. Which threw my day into more of a scramble than intended.

Then the trains on the way home were broken. So on Friday I arrived home at 11-ish and it had been a day!

Worse things happen at sea and no one died but it was not my favourite week!

Comfort gin

This week, I’m hoping for less mishaps, I’m in the office Monday and Tuesday, walking with Sue on Wednesday and who knows what else for the rest of the week. Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Lent so then it gets serious, and I need to clean the oven before then!

Have a good week!

Christmas wine!
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Friday Links: Struggling To Be Optimistic

Happy Friday!

It’s been a while. Mostly because to be perfectly honest, it’s been hard for me to remain cheerful with the trash fire that is the world in general and my country’s government in particular, it’s also November and I didn’t plan sufficiently for being busy at work and November in general.

Anyway here are some links:

No-jokes Jeremy Hunt can’t bridge gap between Tory fantasy and reality

The appalling death of Awaab Ishak shows how social housing tenants are treated as an underclass. All tenants are treated as an underclass, social housing is marginally worse in some places but basically if you don’t have a mortgage your function is to pay your rent and be grateful. The state no longer sees decent housing for everyone as it’s job.

Atlantic overfishing was already a problem. Then Brexit happened. As a species, I’m beginning to think that we deserve to go extinct. We have all of this knowledge and we can’t act on it because we’re too greedy.

Like Trump, Elon Musk reveals a vapid mind super-charged by wealth and ego

‘Enough to feed a family of four’: Kenyans embrace urban farming as food worries rise

It’s the menopause, stupid – why Britain can’t afford to ignore women’s health

It’s ****ing big and it’s ****ing clever: why swearing makes you fitter, happier and more persuasive

Private renters twice as likely as homeowners to have anxiety, UK study suggests. Oh yeah, even when you have a good landlord and have lived in a place 13 years. My landlord is decent and does things the right way but I’m not looking to the rise in the rent next year.

Want to understand Britain’s decline? Try catching a train in the north of England

In Britain today it seems your suffering only counts if you have a mortgage

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Allotment Adventures: Autumn Harvest

Sometimes I think I plan too well for the winter and not enough for the summer. Because last weekend we harvested quite a bit.

The sweet potatoes were disappointing we got some but not the amount I’d been hoping for and the second round of new potatoes haven’t done brilliantly either but we got something and I may crack sweet potatoes next year, I don’t think that I’ll give up a whole bed of the polytunnel to them though, I’ll grow them outdoors and maybe cover them!

The winter crops are coming on, we harvested a cabbage each, the carrots were amazing and I wrestled some parsnips out of the ground. We took the tomatoes home, the tumbling tom plant in the poly is hanging on by the skin of it’s teeth so we may get a few more. We also had a first pick of salad crops in the polytunnel, which makes me happy.

Collecting and organising that, took a while, we also fed the birds, gave the sprouts a tidy and slightly bigger net and arsed about a bit and that was all we did.

No collecting next week, so we’ll crack on with the strawberry and mint rehab and maybe clear out the shed, cut down the raspberries and weed. We’ll see how it goes.

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Sunday Music: Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson – Lay Me Down

Loretta Lynn died recently and they played this on ‘Last Words’ and it’s so pretty

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Allotment Adventures: Paving Stones and Brussels Sprouts

I did no real work on the plot last weekend. The weather was miserable and I needed some time in the house to prep for the week.

Although I did visit the plot yesterday, when Ma and her friend, Sally, delivered paving stones for our patio area. Paving the area where the table and chairs are next to the rose garden has been a long term plan. Sally has just had her garden paved and had spare tiles, so Ma bought some from her. I have visions of the paved area with herbs growing in the cracks (thyme and camomile lawn – because they are my favourites!). However, laying them will be a completely different task and I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

While I was there, I did a quick plot walk and it’s all looking autumnal, windswept and weedy! The cavolo nero is not thriving and neither are the brussels sprouts next to them, in another bed the cauliflowers are really too tall and not heading up. You can see where this is going can’t you?

Yep, I had mixed up the sprouts and the cauliflowers! We have lots of lovely caulis where the sprouts should be and vice versa. I had a quick check and we do have actual brussels sprouts growing! Growing Christmas dinner is still a possibility. Every time I grow something new, I feel like a proper gardener!

Brussels Sprouts

With no actual work done last weekend, we have a heap of things to do. The last of the garlic needs to get in, as do the tulips. I also need to cut the raspberries that we’re going to move down, so that’s done and when we are done with the cabbages at the back, we can just pop them in.

I would to tidy up the rose and iris beds and add the plants in between them but I also need to turn the compost, so it’s all about whether I do what I really should do (compost) or what I really want to do (flower beds).

Ma is assigned the sitting down work of taking up the strawberry plants from the bath and putting them in planters and revamping the mint bath. I’ll be assisting her with the compost heavy lifting.

If there is any extra time after we’ve collected some produce (looking at caulis, carrots, cabbage and maybe parsnips and kale), there’s weeding and the shed needs a tidy up. So that’s basically the next three weekends work sorted, then we’ll ease off a bit in December and I’ll talk about plans for next year (I have lots of ideas!)

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Monday Miscellany: November Blues

Happy Monday!

November is absolutely making itself known, the weather is terrible, my fringe is awry and I’m not enjoying life right now. I have had worse Novembers, this one isn’t even in the top 10 for me struggling, but even so, I’m more aware that I’m finding it harder to focus and get stuff done and I want to be asleep a lot more than normal. I’m doing all the usual things to cope with it and they are more or less helping, I’m just feeling (for no actual reason other than the time of year) a little more fried than I have been.

Last week, was busy. Work is busy, I said to colleague that right now, “I don’t know what to put my eyes on first”, there are lots of moving parts at the moment, which is better than not having anything to do but we all need for it to let up a bit. It’s seven weeks until Christmas and with any luck, we should be through the worse of it but we have a move within the office, a new hire, and a software upgrade in addition to our normal stuff, it’s a lot.

Outside of work, I was sociable again last week. There was a Grace dinner on Wednesday and dinner (and revelry) at Christelle and Mike’s on Saturday. Both were lovely but on Sunday I was broken (too much whiskey and dancing!)

This week, I’m in the office today and Wednesday for new starters and training. Tomorrow, we have a special delivery of paving stones for the plot. I’m having another people-y week, I’m out with the guys from work (to Flight Club) and there is Grace on Saturday night. (I know I’m going to be a complete gibbering heap if I keep this up!). I also have a bunch of prep for a couple of work things that I really need to start work on. The rest of the month will be quieter, there are some birthdays but not ones that I need to do anything about. In about 4 weeks time, it’s Ma’s birthday and we have family lunch, with the dog, so I really need to get the house cleared for that!

Have a good week people!

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Allotment Adventures: Pumpkins, Strawberries and Birds

This weekend was the Pumpkin Walk, I did a solid 5 hours on the booze stall and we ran out of beer (again!), I think my back still hurts from 5 hours standing but it was a really good event and well received by most of the people who came.

Ma doesn’t attend either of the allotment open days anymore, so I wasn’t expecting to do a lot of allotment work this weekend, but on Friday afternoon the 30 strawberry plants I ordered turned up. So on Saturday morning , I filled the strawberry planter, I’d bought for this purpose. I’d ordered another on Friday because I knew that we needed two. Each planter holds 18 plants, I’d ordered 30 new plants, knowing that I had five in the bath, so that would be fine.

On Sunday, I went back to the plot to tidy up the Halloween decorations and plant the other twelve up. A quick count of the bathtub strawberries revealed that the 5 original plants are now at least 10, if not twelve, so I’ll order another planter and sort that out in a week or two. My working plan is to have a planter to plant any runners into each year on a five year cycle, let’s just see how that goes.

The theme of the year seems to be very warm and we are having a very warm October, this is giving some of the plants ideas. The roses are flowering beautifully and the nasturtiums that struggled all winter are starting to flower too. In the poly, I’m overwhelmed with ripening tomatoes and the salad beds are doing well. There is self-seeded dill all over the ex-cucumber bed, that’s now got swede in it, I’m going to let it do it’s thing until the cold comes!

I also managed to feed the birds. We stopped doing fat balls in the spring as they weren’t getting eaten but we’ve put them back in for the winter. We’ve got two suet feeders, two fat ball feeders and two peanut feeders and it’s going to cost us, but on Sunday I was really chuffed to see how many birds were around and using the feeders, so we’ll carry on doing it.

Next week, I’m also solo on the plot and I need to plant more garlic and the tulip and fritillary bulbs that need to go in the ground too, I want to cover the empty beds or sow mustard or something on them too. Then I’m all about the weeding!

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Monday Miscellany: Halloween

Happy Monday!

Last week was weirdly busy. I had Monday off for a haircut. I took Jane a plant, a verbena bonariesis, I love London and never more when no one blinks at a person on a tube with a tall-ish plant!

The rest of the week, was work from home. I spent the week feeling off, like I was hungover or coming down with cold. It was really annoying because I couldn’t pin it down.

Saturday was the Pumpkin Walk.

In the morning I decorated the plot, planted up some strawberries and did some house stuff. From 3pm to about 8pm, I was slinging mulled wine.

Surprising myself, on Sunday, I was back at the plot, to take decorations down, feed the birds and pot up more strawberries. I also got myself ready for being in the office today!

Plans for this week are all about adjusting to the clocks going back (hurrah for the ‘dead cat bounce’ of it being lighter in the morning for another couple of weeks) and new starters at work. There’s a Grace dinner on Wednesday and I’m seeing Christelle on Saturday! Yes, it is alarmingly social for me in November!

Have a good week!

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Allotment Adventures: Tidying Up

We’ve hit the point of the year when our efforts are all about maintenance and readiness for next spring.

Ma is on a weeding ban (I think it’s fair that the 73 year old doesn’t weed), but we started with collection, I ‘picked’ tomatoes from the polytunnel and watered the beds in there. I also gathered two cabbages and some mint.

Ma started to clear the beans off the arches in the winter squash bed and I started to empty the back compost bed. We used some of this compost to top up the potato pots.

Then Ma riddled the compost while I weeded, with breaks for refilling the wheelbarrow with compost for riddling! One of the squash beds was lower in compost and more weedy than the other, so we laid cardboard on the bed and covered with the riddled compost. It will probably need more in the spring but this works and we made it.

That done, we decided we’d had a good day and went home, only to find that Ma had left her shoes at the plot! So back we went. While Ma was changing shoes, I checked the carrots, we have carrot success!

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Monday Miscellany: Time off

Happy Monday!

Last week happened. It was pretty normal. I got my flu jab, went to the Southampton office for the day. I was not amused to be out of the house when the night buses were still running, although it was a seamless journey and I’ll take trains running as advertised as a win! Let’s see know it goes when I go down again next month…

It did suck to only see daylight from the train and it was a horrible rainy day so it felt gloomy all day! Yes I know, it’s October, but I reserve my right to be unhappy about it every year!

Ma and I had a great day on the allotment and other than a walk with Sue and therapy, I have done almost nothing else. Sometimes I need a break, apparently it was this weekend!

Everything else is normal. Yes, the country is a laughing stock, but there’s not a lot I can do about that. My brother took the youngest nephew to see QPR at the weekend and they won! Nephew described it as “the best day of his life”. I love kids at this age, they are just so interesting and funny!

Plans for this week are simple. A day off for a haircut today, I’m beginning to look like a yeti! I’m WFH Tuesday and Wednesday, office Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, I’ll be decorating the plot for the Pumpkin Walk and slinging mulled wine behind the bar from 3pm. The organisation for this is intense and it’s looking quite spooky already!

This is from a couple of years ago!

On Sunday, I’ll be having a quiet day, with no people in it because I have to be the office on Monday 31st. It’s hard to believe that I used to do five days in the office every day, I’m exhausted after three now!

Have a good week!

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