Friday Links: Tier Three and other disasters…

Happy Friday! This is going out late because I’ve had a week. I was reminded this morning that I’ve been working from home for 40 weeks, which is the time it takes to grow a baby. I haven’t done that but it’s quite a wedge of time. I don’t think it’s been a complete loss, I’ve still managed to achieve things and learnt lots, I know this year hasn’t been easy for anyone but it’s been easier for me than for others. However, it’s been we got to the end of this year. People are still living, children are growing, people are getting married and having babies. Life is finding a way. Many amazing, clever people developed multiple vaccines for a disease that didn’t exist 18 months ago. Life is hard and uncertain but hope is possible because we are surrounded by miracles.

Ok enough sentimentality, here are some links…

Boris Johnson won’t be able to escape responsibility for a crash-out Brexit

Facing a lonely holiday? Single moms know how to help. I’m not sure I agree with all of this and I’m not sure that I’d mind spending Christmas alone, but I also know that I’ve never done it yet and I won’t this year. I think if you have to, do something lovely for you and to hell with what anyone else thinks..

Le Carré’s death touched me. It feels like the grownups are leaving the room. November and December are the times I think most about my dead. I’m sad about John Le Carré but I’m glad that he seemed to have lived a good life and died surrounded by the people he loved, who loved him. Last week, my eldest godson found out that his cousin, in her early 20’s was found dead. So I’ve been thinking a lot about the eulogy at my father’s funeral. Michael didn’t really know my dad but he knew the rest of us and he has a gift, Michael talked about people who die young and how some would see it as a waste. He talked about the mystery of being human that we don’t know why we’re here and that having sung ‘our’ song we die, but we don’t know and can’t understand what that is or when it’s done. This week, I’ve been thinking about that a lot. We never fully recover fo

Boris Johnson’s lack of clarity is offloading Christmas anxiety on to the nation

Boris Johnson has a habit of delaying tough choices. In a pandemic, it’s lethal. I think this is actually rather flattering to Johnson.

Viruses adapt, it seems: what a tragedy that Tory cabinet ministers don’t

Waste, Negligence and Cronyism: Inside Britain’s Pandemic Spending. Even the Americans have noticed…

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Allotment Adventures: Winter Work

Last weekend was probably the most work we’ll do on the plot until Christmas but the winter work continues. I really enjoy the more relaxed pace of winter, we don’t have to spend all day on the plot but the work we do here really helps make spring and summer easier.

This year, all of the work is about making the plot work better and having it ready to go in spring. We’re in December but we only have about 12 weeks before we start thinking about spring planting!

My plan for this weekend was to move a blackcurrant bush and the gooseberries. I did move the blackcurrant, then I topped up all the raspberry and blackcurrant beds with wood chip. The area where we had blueberries had gotten really weedy, so I decided that we’d weed that and re-up the wood chip.

While we were doing that we took a decision to move the verbena, remove the rose and lemon balm plant. Then we laid down cardboard and wood chip. If we get time this week, I think the plan is for a weed and wood chip the main path at the back.

Over the next few months, we want to work on the weedy areas, down by the gooseberries need some work, as does the area by the apple tree and the side path near there. And this bit by the kale.

Over Christmas, I want to move the gooseberries and work on weeding and tidying up those edges.

I think we’ve also decided that the planned patio will have to wait for another year because that money would be better spent on building all the beds we need to build and sorting out the ones that need dealing with on the old half. We need to build three entirely new beds, move the bed that currently has chard in it, and move and split the big squash bed. I don’t think we’ll get to that over Christmas but I would like to have all of that done by the end of January.

So in February, we can start filling them up with compost! The work is never done but I feel like we’re on track!

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Monday Miscellany: Running to Christmas

Happy Monday!

I feel, as I always do this time of year, that I am running towards Christmas and I’m not ready. I have just under two weeks and it’ll be fine. This week will be busy at work but it’s going to calm down and with any luck in the week before Christmas, I’ll be able to work on some stuff for the new year and it will be ok. Home stuff will sort itself out, mostly next weekend and it’ll be ok.

What else? First a story. After Stef died, I was a mess, I felt very alone and very needy and it sucked, for me and for the people around me. I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy working on not feeling like that, on being a less high maintenance friend on enjoying my friendships for what and where they are. I think it’s a particular problem when you’re single because your friendships can be more unbalanced and mean more to you than they do to your friends who have partners and children. This year has been weird in that sense, I’ve seen more of some friends and much less of others but it’s been ok.

This week, I had a conversation with a friend that upset me, not because it was intentionally hurtful, but because someone I care about hadn’t even considered that they might hurt me, either with the action or the conversation. It was the casual dismissal of me, as if I had no feelings. Well that’s how it felt.

This year has been spectacularly awful, I would not encourage big emotional swings but this time has made me really think about effort and love and ease. In trying to be an easy friend, I’ve found that I’ve become an unconsidered friend. It’s also really been a time of ease in other friendships that have felt much closer.

I mention it here because I think year has changed a lot of our relationships and I’m probably not the only one pondering how or whether to tackle something that isn’t as easy or good for us as it used to be.

Racing elves

In other news, I finally got an office chair, which is easier on my back. I got out of the house every day except Sunday and I finally wrote my Christmas cards. There was a really good day on the allotment on Saturday, we bought this year’s racing crackers (polar bears this year!). A pretty good week considering the circumstances of 2020.

This week, I have the work Christmas party on Friday, via Zoom god help us! My mental health plan for the week, is golden hour, daily yoga and going for a walk every day. Next weekend, I need to buy a Christmas tree and finish Christmas present buying and get to some baking. If there are no Cheese Stars, is it really Christmas?

Have a good week!

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Friday Links: Where is that Oven Ready Deal we were promised?

Happy Friday? It’s been a week and I still need to make mince pies!

The Covid vaccines bring hope: but in many parts of the UK this crisis will last

‘This Must Be Your First

By stopping players taking the knee, Millwall have handed racists a victory. Or as Mum would like it known, ‘the club that was full of people who supported Enoch Powell is bound to be racist.’ But it’s good to see that QPR is walking the walk, if only they could win a game.

Brexit was never a grassroots movement, but an elitist political takeover

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Allotment Adventures: We built compost bins

We finally got the compost bins built this week! They are not straight but they are built!

That done, I got on with cutting down the autumn raspberries and removing the summer one. Ma got on with weeding the area by the compost bins.

If you cast your mind back to last year, this area was the first bit of the new half that we worked on.

December 2019

The weeds are persistent and we had another compost bin there. So once Ma had weeded, I moved the compost pile and we laid down cardboard and covered in wood chip. I’m going to move the wooden compost bin to the back with the others. I think we’ll leave the black one in place. We are going to remove the little wooden fence and add two more raised beds to that space but that probably can wait until spring.

At the other end, we’ve made some decisions. The summer raspberries are gone (I’m sure they will make an attempt to come back in the spring but we’ll just keep pulling them up!) We currently have two blackcurrant bushes in one bed, so next week, I’ll move one of them to the bed where the summer raspberries were. If there is woodchip, I’ll top up all the fruit bushes with it as that’s always helped them.

Also on the list for next week, is moving the gooseberries into the bed and weeding so much weeding on that that part of the plot. I also need to strim the paths as well.

I’ll like to list all the other things I need to do next week but we have about 3-4 hours and if I get all of that done, I’ll be surprised!

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Monday Miscellany:

Happy Monday! We are 18 days away from Christmas and I’m about to embark on the ‘get everything done before Christmas’ phase of work (and quite a bit of that at home too!)

It was so lovely to have Friday off and I’m really looking forward to a break at Christmas, I’m also really grateful that this year, because I’m not in the office, there isn’t any pesky commute, however, this time of year is all about the final push…

So plans for the week are tidy ups at work and home and making mince pies and writing Christmas cards!

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Friday Links: Birthday Special

Happy Friday! And Happy Birthday to my mum (this is her favourite post of the week!)

Britain’s new claimants: How Covid-19 introduced middle class people to Universal Credit. Ma has been saying this since March!

Mavis Staples & Chris Stapleton. This is so interesting and because it’s her birthday and Ma does love a man with a beard!

Study finds indications of life on Doggerland after devastating tsunamis. I find the whole idea of Doggerland fascinating…

Horror at destruction of nationally important UK river. Who would do this? Can we confiscate the land and lock them up?

Manchild Gavin Williamson plumbs new depths of stupidity. A man who sounds like Frank Spencer but without the charm, wit or intelligence of Frank Spencer. What I really want to know is how many fireplaces did he sell?

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99 Bottles of Gin on the Wall: A 2021 project

My birthday present to myself was the 99 Bottles of Gin on the Wall poster. This, a genius idea of Emma Stokes aka Gin Monkey, is a scratch off poster featuring 99 bottles of gin, the gins should be easy to get online if you can’t pick them up in a supermarket.

Ma and I scratched off the ones we’ve had but there are 63 gins, we haven’t tried. So guess what we’re going to do for 2021?

It might be time to bring back Gin Club.

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House Changes

I’ve been living in the same place 11 years, the only place I’ve lived as long is the flat in Fulham as a kid (16 years from ages 4 to 20!).

July 2019

I moved here after a long period of sadness and uncertainty, I was absolutely ready to live on my own again after 7 years of sharing with others. When I moved here, I approached living in this house in a completely different way, than I had done before, in that I decided to take my time about furnishing it and wait for the right things, instead of buying stuff that would do. Which meant I didn’t have a sofa for six months!

Even when I’d just moved in, everyone commented on how much the flat ‘felt’ like me and it still does but it has changed quite a bit without appearing to change much at all because it happens so slowly but this year has been the biggest year for changing since I moved in.

That’s because I’ve been in the house more this year AND I’ve had extra money to spend on the house thanks to not paying to commute for the last 9 months! Here’s what I’ve done this year;

  • Sorted out the Cupboard of Doom with new uniform shelving
  • re-arranged the living room to accomodate a new desk
  • moved the chest of drawers in the living room to the bedroom
  • finally installed curtains in the bedroom
  • framed some ‘art’ and hung it in the bedroom, kitchen and living room

I when I put it like that, it doesn’t seem like a lot but this week, the flat feels different.

There’s still more to do, there’s always something to do. At some point, I’ll sort out an actual wardrobe that fits my space but I’m in no hurry!

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Monday Miscellany: Last of November

Happy Monday!

Traditionally, I’m always pleased to see the back of November, so that’s it’s the last day of November is good, that we’re also in Advent is also good and tomorrow, I open my advent calendars.

Less good news is that I seem to have a visiting mouse, clearly, the poison traps aren’t working so I’ve ordered some traps, the kitchen is getting bleached every morning, I’m beginning to think they like the smell!

I have also finally got all the work post out of my house, which is delightful and although work was pretty manic last week (it always more busy June/July and Nov/Dec as people suddenly realise that everyone is going on leave!), I’m feeling more in control of it.

We did not allotment this week, instead Ma supervised my DIY and other chores and we ate tomatoes from the Isle of Wight and drank wine. When I’m asked about having an allotment, I compare it to having a child. Its needs are nowhere near as demanding as an actual baby but if you’re doing it properly, it takes all your time and most of your money as you’re setting it up. Which is why so many people stop in winter. We do need to work on the plot this winter, but I needed to some things to the flat and Ma would like a Saturday off some point soon.

This week, lockdown ends and we go into Tier Two, which means I can meet more than one person at a time for walks, I could also go out to eat with 5 other people but I can’t have them come for dinner in my house! I have a four day work week because Ma’s birthday is on Friday, there will probably be shenanigans – yes she is in her 70’s and a Grandma but that’s not stopped her yet!

Random Duck Photo

With the rules changing for Christmas, Ma and I will be going to Ben and Laura’s for Christmas, we’ll be three households and six people including the nephews. So within the rules set. Ma and I live alone and are pretty cautious, we are also in a support bubble and see each other weekly. We’re more at risk from the boys than they are from us. As usual we’ll go on Christmas Day, come back on Boxing Day and because we both live alone, if the boys infect us, we’re unlikely to spread it to others. We won’t see my aunt and uncle this year. I understand people making different decisions these are ours and I’m satisfied that we’re as safe as we can be. Obviously, that’ll change if we anyone catches anything or the nephews have to isolate but that’s our plan for the moment. I do have a back up meat in the freezer just in case anything changes. If this year has taught me one thing, it’s prepare for the unexpected!

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