Friday Links: Elections are not the answer

Happy Friday! So we’re going to have an election and Trump is interfering in them, anyone remember how outraged Nigel Farage was when Obama expressed his opinion during the referendum? Honestly, I’m so sick of Farage and Johnson and the ERG and the right generally, they are going to wreck this country and they don’t care.

Anyway onto this week’s links…

The Grenfell families have been vindicated. Now they need justice

While reports earlier this week may have given the impression that criticism was reserved solely for the London fire brigade (LFB), police and ambulance services were also criticised for failing to adhere to joint protocols. RBKC’s emergency plan depended on information provided by KCTMO, whose own emergency plan was 15 years out of date: neither plan reflected changes to the building after its 2015-16 refurbishment. There were no procedures for evacuating disabled residents, no floor plans of the building, and KCTMO’s chief executive, Robert Black, played “an essentially passive role and failed to display effective leadership”.

The housing crisis is at the heart of our national nervous breakdown

Canada: lights to go out on tiny remote island as locals agree to resettle

The hour you are most alone: how I got trapped by poverty and depression.

Rachel Roddy’s recipe for cottage pie. I don’t think much of the Roddy family recipe for cottage pie. The meat element is much better when made like my mum did it. Brown the mince, pour off the fat, add several crumbled up OXO cubes, sliced onions, a generous squirt of tomato puree and enough water to cover it. Simmer for at least two hours – basically the longer the better. I would also remind you that I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, this mince multi tasked, we had it with spaghetti as ‘spag bol’ and occasionally in pies (pies were much larger part of my childhood eating than you’d think!)

Foster care saves lives. Our work deserves employment rights. I have known some excellent foster carers and some terrible ones. We need to treat it like the vocational career it is to keep the good ones and weed out the bad ones, but like everything in social care, people are outraged when it goes wrong but don’t want to pay for it.

A Cheesemonger’s History of the British Isles by Ned Palmer review – a miraculous resurgence. Ned is a friend of a friend and I met him once (at a wake, for which he provided the cheese), his knowledge and enthusiasm for cheese are boundless, I can imagine that this would be a good book for a foodie friend.

Sad mystery of elastic bands found on remote Cornish island solved

Posted in Links | Leave a comment

Allotment Adventures: Pumpkins in the Rain

On Saturday, the allotments had the annual Pumpkin Trail, in the rain.

It was so wet.

Despite that, it was still pretty busy, we had about half the usual amount of visitors at around 2000 with everyone seeming to enjoy themselves, despite the rain.

Did some work other than plot decoration. We planted out some more chard, kale and a selection of winter leaves (spinach, corn salad, rocket and sorrel). They’re under cover so let’s see how they do.

There is lots of work to do but we have another weekend off, so it’ll be a quick visit to harvest some kale and work will resume mid November.

Posted in allotment | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Monday Miscellany: Busy

Happy Monday!

So it’s been quite a couple of weeks. We had the Pumpkin Trail and the weather was terrible but 2000 people decided to visit anyway!

Work is challenging which is good, I was in need of more to do at work and the team is lovely!

There are lots of other things that are occupying my brain right now. Winter darkness means my brain is having a prolonged sulk.

I can deal with that, but the other thing that isn’t really my issue but is having an interesting effect. And while I’m going to be circumspect about the actual thing, suffice to say that some close friends are dealing with a child and a leukaemia diagnosis. It’s not at all about me at all I know this, but apparently, my brain is dredging up trauma because I’m watching my friends go through something similar to Stef dying (I’m in no way equating a seriously ill child with a dying fiancé before anyone jumps on me, just pointing out that my brain doesn’t distinguish). I’m dreaming about Stef, which hasn’t happened for a while and yesterday while having a perfectly normal conversation started crying. I don’t have PMT, so here we are. I’m having a reaction and this folks, is why I’m so keen on therapy, yep I’m having more because I need not to emote all over my friends right now but I need to sort my brain out!

This week plans are work, cleaning (my house and others!), sleep and the joys of lighter mornings for a bit (clocks went back this weekend), and babysitting my delightful nephews at the weekend.

Right deep breath and the week begins…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Allotment Adventures: Autumn Work

We got to the plot on Sunday and found it pretty unchanged despite our neglect of it last week. There is a temptation in the autumn, as the plot calms down to be done with allotment work, I know that for lots of plot owners on our site, the Pumpkin Trail next week, will mark the end of regular visits and our visits will probably start to get shorter as the days do.

But there is lots of work to be getting on with. To make it a bit easier to write about I’m going to break the plot in two. Plot A is the plot we’ve always had and Plot B is the half that we’re getting, it’s still not official (the agreement hasn’t arrived!) but we have had things growing on it for the summer and we have plans I want to talk about.

So on Plot A, we had to clear the Three Sisters bed, by taking down the borlotti beans and the sweetcorn stalks. We also needed to sow broadbeans and cover them (we didn’t have a great broad bean harvest last year and Ma thinks it’s because we didn’t fleece the bed last winter). I also wanted to cut back the tarragon ready for digging it up and we needed to harvest some produce. On Plot B, we had to clear the cucalmelons and courgette plants and cage the cabbages.

Clearing the beds was going took the longest time because we needed to chop it all up to get it in the compost bins. When I’m rich we’ll have a garden shredder on site for this but for right now, it’s a pain. That done we took some time out to be interviewed for a podcast by a fellow allotmenter over a cup of tea. Then we got back to work. First broad beans and a struggle with the fleece. Then netting the cabbages. I know that some people object to netting things but we have voracious pigeons who love all forms of greens, so we net. That I’m aware of, the only time the nets have resulted in bird death was the netting that I laid over the cabbages when I planted them out, it was netting held down by bricks and a pigeon got caught and a fox had dinner. So we needed to net the cabbages properly so the birds can see the structure and avoid it! We managed that, I can’t find a link to it but Wilko do a net, pole and clip set that is amazing we have three of them and we’ll buy more next year because the poles are properly sturdy and will last for ages, when I don’t need them for cages in the summer, they hold up my tomatoes.

Then we assessed the box of Halloween decorations and got a rough idea of how we’re going to decorate the plot next weekend.

Work done, we went home but there is a list of things we need to do, we’ll get to all of that in November

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

Monday Miscellany: Pumpkins everywhere

Happy Monday!

It’s the start of a brand new week and this week feels like it might be a busy work week! Sometimes you open your mouth and find yourself with lots to do, it’s all good but some of it will be a stretch and is no bad thing but at the same time, I’m naturally quite lazy!

Last week was pretty good, the cold seems to have morphed into having a cough and being extremely tired and honestly this is where the discipline kicks in. That ‘in the bath by 9pm, in bed by 10pm’ habit I started back in August is really helping, except last week, it was in the bath by 8pm and bed by 9pm last week, which is why there was radio silence last week because I was too tired to think about the blog and didn’t have time last weekend to set up blog posts!

But I survived the week and being in the office on a Friday, and on Saturday, I had guests and helpers!

Not the pumpkins but the children who carved them, Kathy and Adam’s two kids, in my head they are still toddlers but they are actually 7 and 8 and we did pumpkins and pumpkin cinnamon rolls with the pumpkin puree I made on Friday night. Look, it’s nearly Halloween and medium pumpkins are 65p in M&S and it was a simple craft. We also roasted the pumpkins seeds with cinnamon and sugar and went the eldest went off with Mum and Dad, the youngest stayed all afternoon and we made bread and pumpkin and ginger bread. They were both delightful to entertain and although I maintain my ‘all children are small demons’ stance, I’m very fond of these two!

On Sunday we allotmented, and about time too. We also had snails hitchhiking on our produce! There were lots of jobs to do, including some planning for decorating the plot for next week’s Halloween Pumpkin Trail.

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

Friday Links: Ulster says no

Happy Friday!

So here we’re all about whether Boris Johnson can get the new deal with the EU through Parliament with minus 40-ish minority govt, or whether he will keep his 100% failure to get the House of Commons to pass anything. Meanwhile the Turkish Army has been killing Kurds because Donald Trump thinks he knows about foreign policy and clearly he knows nothing. He is also trying to convince the world that Nancy Pelosi is the politician in the room that’s unhinged.

I’ve decided that this is the plan, politicians aren’t doing anything about climate change because they think that it’s a race between it and them as to who can destroy the planet for human and animal habitation….

You can see, I’m feeling really cheerful about life. However, it’s the weekend and at some point over the 48 hours there will be gin and this week I learnt some very strange and wonderful facts about Virginia opossums, please go and read this thread, I promise it’s worth it (it’s better than the ant facts, Ma!)

Here are this week’s links…

Queen reduced to furious frontwoman for grubby election stunt

Trump’s Worst Betrayal Yet

Five ways to fight the winter blues. I’m finding that it’s really biting right now, it’s dark in the morning and I hate it, but note the comments are much more helpful than the article.

How Macron discovered the soft power of the working class. Interesting..

Ivory Coast law could see chocolate industry ‘wipe out’ protected forests

Can a $1,300 baby bed make me a better mom? No but it’ll a solution designed for late capitalism parenting…

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

Monday Miscellany: Birthday Boy

Happy Monday!

And Happy Birthday to my favourite brother!Last week was dominated by my feeling terrible with cold, it’s getting better but I’m mostly just really tired and want my bed! I did manage to accomplish things, I got a flu jab, I hoovered, I worked and I read three books!

I did make it to my brother’s to spend time with the family, four year olds are nuts and my sister in law is the queen of the roast dinner (and the caterpillar cake!)

This week, I’m still in quiet mode, I want loads of sleep and an easy week with minimal coughing!

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