Twenty Four And Counting

Screenshot 2014-11-21 22.10.15This is my fourth year of undertaking GoodReads Reading Challenge. Each year I’ve set out to read a certain number of books in the year. Each year I’ve read less than the previous year. This year my target is at an all time low of 30 books, and apparently I’m about two books behind. I hope to catch up, for although this is a somewhat artificial challenge (I can revise my target up or down if I choose), I do get a bit of a kick out of see the little badges on my page with the “completed” sash across them.
However this isn’t getting those books read is it!


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My Twenty Minute Rule & My Fifty Page Rule

2011-05-20_1305913306How often do you start reading a book or watching a movie and you just can’t get into the story / plot. This has happened to me more times than I can remember, and over the years I’ve developed a couple of simple guides to give myself an out if I need one.

Simply if I’m not getting into a book within the first 50 pages or the first 20 minutes of a film, I’ll give it a miss. It’s not hard and fast, sometimes I’ll read a few more pages or watch a few more minutes, but I find I don’t often spend my time reading / watching something that I’m not enjoying.

As my time seems in short supply just recently with pressures of the day job, it also helps me keep focused when I am reading or watching.

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Going Dutch

I’ve been in The Netherlands for a few days for work. Normally these trips are a flash in the pan and I never get to see any of the local area where I’m staying other than the office or wherever the meeting happens to be. This time however I’ve managed to see quite a bit, including on the flight out from the airport.


I’m staying in a fairly basic hotel, comfy and with a giant Aardvark right outside.


An Aardvark that also has a twitter account.


I also managed to get out and see the John Frost Bridge. This is the “Bridge Too Far”, made famous in the film of the same name, and part of “Operation Marketgarden”. Although the film tells one story, the little museum that is just below the bridge tells another, more realistic turn of events and how the battle took place over the period of ten days, seventy years ago. The bridge itself is a replacement for the one that was destroyed during the fighting, although the footings are the original ones.


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Allotment Update 18th October 2014 & A Walk In The Rain

I thought it had been a couple of months since I last did an allotment video, I didn’t realise that actually I haven’t recorded one since the middle of July. Anyhow despite that, here’s one from yesterday.

I also ended up taking a longer than expected dogwalk in the rain later in the day, and here are a few photos from that. I have to say I actually enjoy walking in the rain, I find it therapeutic somehow. I seem to notice more of the world around me than I do normally.

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Time Travel

imageI’ve been using an app – Timehop – on my phone for a few months. Every so often, it throws up something that I forgotten about. Today it was the holiday we had 12 months ago. It was a very relaxing week and the last holiday we had with our dog Sparky. Sometimes this app knows how to really stab at the heart.Untitled

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Planning For Next Year

IMG_0727.JPG We had our first frost last night, the signs that autumn is truly upon us.

The allotment is winding down now. There’s still lots to do in preparation for next year, but in terms of crops most things are coming to the end. I’ve still got beans up, but only to let them dry and go to seed, and there are still courgettes, squashes and pumpkins. I’ve also got my garlic in, this needs several consecutive cold nights to properly set bulbs for next year, so hopefully this should have plenty of time.

I’ve sown some overwintering broad beans. I used to do this each year but stopped a couple of years ago, as I lost them to winters that were either very cold or wet. I’m gambling that we will have a mild, and hopefully relatively dry winter, and I’ll have an early broad bean crop. If they don’t survive I’m not too bothered as they’re in an area where I want some winter cover, so they’ll provide that if nothing else. I’ll sow more in spring regardless.

The allotment shop took delivery of its seed order this week, and so I made sure I was at the front of the queue to stock up. The above is just a sampling of what I’ll be growing next year, I still need to get runner beans and a few other things before spring.

IMG_0728.JPG Speaking of pumpkins, I made pumpkin soup last night. It was fantastic, if I do say so myself, and the good news is there was enough for this evening as well. This is what an allotment is all about – fork to fork.

I also had a practice ahead of Halloween.


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Pilfering On The Plot

IMG_1640.JPGMy allotment subscriptions are due this month, so I went and paid up this morning. Next year will be my seventh growing season.

It’s the only time of the year that I speak to the site manager at any length, normally we speak in passing and normally about our respective plots rather than anything else.

It turns out however that there has been some pilfering of crops, from across the allotment. We’ve had shed break-ins and thefts, but produce has never been the target of thieves before. It seems like it’s been going on some time. I don’t think I’ve had anything taken, or not so that I’ve noticed but it’s a bit of a low stunt to go around stealing what someone has spent time and effort tending to and growing, in most cases for months at a time.

It’s also going to be difficult to catch whoever the person is, unless someone actually catches them in the act. There are rumours that it is a current plot holder, which makes it seem worse; if they’re stealing what they know takes a lot of effort to grow; or, and this seems more likely, a former plot holder who didn’t return their key when they gave up. This latter option seems the most likely to me.

Fingers crossed that over the next few weeks, nothing will go missing. My pumpkins are nearly ready, but not quite, and I’m looking forward to some pumpkin soup.


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