Quick Links 20th August 2017

Life In General. – It’s Sunday already. I’ve really noticed how much shorter the days are getting, it’s still not quite light when I first get up in the morning. The security light comes on in the garden when I let the dogs out first thing, and the sun is often down before we lock up at night. It’s strange how this creeps up every year.

Otherwise this week has been a few family appointments, and doing things for my Mum. It’s been three weeks since her op and it will be at least the same again until she can drive, so shopping trips and other similar things are going to be on for a little while yet.

On Friday I was at Portchester Castle. It’s probably close to 40 years since I was last inside the Castle proper – we walk the dogs around the outside fairly regularly – and it’s been on my list of things to do for a while now. I tried to get a trip in last year, but that didn’t happen, so a year later we were there.

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I also got to see the new aircraft carrier (currently without aircraft) from the top of the Castle tower.


Work  I finished the proposal that I was working on mid-week and submitted it. I won’t hear the outcome until early September probably. I’ve also been working on some other things for early September, so it’s been quite a busy week with different things on the work front.


Allotment. – Harvested my first pumpkin of the season this week. It will soon be pumpkin soup, and a few other things. It weighed in at 9.5 kilos. In case you don’t know, here’s how to tell whether your pumpkin is ripe or not:


Currently Reading – I started reading “RisingTideFallingStar” by Philip Hoare [LINK], and although I’m not even a hundred pages in yet, I’m really enjoying it. I think it’s probably one of those books that you’d either really like or hate. For me it’s the former.


The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures


Cats Eyes Signs Removed – Seriously? [LINK]


 

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Quick Links 13th August 2017

Each week I’ll try and post quick links to things that I’ve seen, read, inspired me or just sparked my interest in the previous week, with a little background and my thoughts and other things that I’ve been up to in the previous week. Mostly gardening, cooking and environmental stuff but not always.


I’ve been thinking about when these posts get published, and am moving them to a Sunday instead of Monday. I might switch between the two days, depending on what I’m doing and what my plans are, and I may yet get around transitioning it all to a weekly newsletter, but that’s a little way off yet.


Life In General. It feels like it’s been a pretty full week. I phoned the garage first thing Monday morning, and they were able to look at the car straight away. Although they couldn’t be certain that they found the fault, it seems like they have (fingers-crossed).

I spent the day doing train journeys to get me about, but managed to get my Mum’s shopping done for her.

The lawnmower repair shop phoned to say that they’d fixed her lawnmower, so I went and collected it, and mowed her lawn (it’s in tip-top shape, they did an excellent job). As I was finishing up I had a call asking me to go and have a look at the drains at my Grandma’s house. The people who are buying it had a report from their surveyor that the drains were blocked. Long story short, they were blocked and I spent Wednesday clearing them. Unfortunately Wednesday was a very wet day, so it wasn’t a very pleasant job, and my boots still aren’t fully dry!

Friday Mum had the staples removed from her knee. That seems to be progressing well.


Work  I’ve been fitting work around things this week. Mostly I’ve been working on a proposal, and I had meetings on Thursday. These were all in town, so I was able to walk to them.


Allotment. – Mostly I’ve just been popping into the plot to harvest. Lots of courgettes, broccoli and kale at the moment. Also harvested the first of my gherkins, although I’m not yet sure what I’m going to do with them.


Currently Reading – I finished Down to the Sea in Ships by Horatio Clare [GoodReads], which I really enjoyed. On my way back from my meetings on Thursday I stopped in to the secondhand bookstore in town and picked up a few books, including a couple which I was really pleased to find.I started reading Transgemination by Glenn Gray [LINK]


 

The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures


Tea & Cake Anyone? – [LINK] – Hundred-Year-Old Antarctic Fruitcake Found in “Excellent Condition”


Arthur C. Clarke – was / is a bit of a hero of mine. Although it’s a few years old I stumbled across this post about his home in Sri Lanka this week. His home is kind of how I imagined it might be.

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Quick Links 6th August 2017

Each week I’ll try and post quick links to things that I’ve seen, read, inspired me or just sparked my interest in the previous week, with a little background and my thoughts and other things that I’ve been up to in the previous week. Mostly gardening, cooking and environmental stuff but not always.


I’ve been thinking about when these posts get published, and am moving them to a Sunday instead of Monday. I might switch between the two days, depending on what I’m doing and what my plans are, and I may yet get around transitioning it all to a weekly newsletter, but that’s a little way off yet.


Life In General. This week has pretty much all been associated with my Mum’s knee replacement. I tried to make the best use of my time and save some money, by travelling to and from the hospital on the bus(es). It takes a little longer, but I can read a book, and because of the cost of car parking at the hospital it is much cheaper. She was home on Tuesday afternoon and is doing well.

To add to the list of things that I need to do, my car has been playing up again. Not the same problem as before, and one that only seems to manifest itself in the wet or damp. Anyway I’ll be calling the garage on Monday, to try and book it in for them to have a look at. I think I know what’s going on, but would rather have it diagnosed and fixed by and expert.


Work  A week of reactive work, responding to queries and other things but not much significant has been happening.


Allotment. – I’ve mostly just been down on the plot harvesting for our meals. I did make a quick update video on one of those trips (see below).


Currently Reading – Most of my reading has actually been listening as I’ve been concentrating on a couple of audio books when on the bus. Double Cross by Ben Macintyre [GoodReads] has been my “book” of choice. I’ve also started a couple of books with a nautical feel to them:

Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin [GoodReads] & Down to the Sea in Ships by Horatio Clare [GoodReads]

I am missing my weekly fix of Stephen King.


The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures


Green space v social housing: the fight for the future of London’s oldest allotments – It’s probably not surprising that I’m linking to this [LINK], and if I’m honest I don’t believe the charity will stop at the point they claim. The phrase “the current board” appears a lot and of course this is only good until the board changes by one person and then technically it’s a new board and they could do whatever they wanted. It is a tough call, but actually I think it is incumbent on local authorities to push for more social housing in all developments and stop the rot of only building “luxury” developments. Of course there’s no money in that, but if we need more housing then lets build what people can afford, rather than only for those minted enough that money is no object.


Goose Vs. Elephant


Neil Gaiman “There’s no point wearing a cowboy costume if it’s just you.”LINK – []

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Quick Links 31st July 2017

Each week I’ll try and post quick links to things that I’ve seen, read, inspired me or just sparked my interest in the previous week, with a little background and my thoughts and other things that I’ve been up to in the previous week. Mostly gardening, cooking and environmental stuff but not always.


Life In General. Quite a few different trips with my Mum this week for pre-op stuff for her knee replacement. Her surgery was on Saturday and seems to have gone okay, although at the time of writing this it’s still early days, but she is already up and about walking with the aid of a frame – she borrowed someone eles in the middle of the night and got up to go to the loo by herself when she wasn’t supposed to, causing a minor panic amongst the nursing staff – possibly graduating to crutches today.


Work  I’ve been invited to submit a proposal for some work, always nice to get an invite like that a little out of the blue. I’ll be looking on that in detail over the next couple of weeks. Otherwise I’ve been moving some other projects forward, and trying to tidy things up so that I can be a little clearer next week to help my Mum.


Allotment. – We’ve had a lot of rain this week, which has meant I haven’t had to water the plot at all, but it has also kept me from doing much else other than harvest as and when needed. We’re getting good crops of courgettes, kale, cavlo nero, broccoli, tomatoes and lettuce. I’m still waiting for another sowing of lettuce and beetroot to germinate, which I’m hoping they will do soon as we’re running low of the previous sowing, and the remaining lettuce are starting to bolt.


Currently Reading

“The Dark Tower” by Stephen King [GoodReads]- which I’m reading for an online group. (This will probably be the last time I write this sentence or one similar, as this week coming is the last of the book group, and I actually finished the book on Saturday night. I’ve enjoyed the series as a whole, although there have been a couple of moments where I might well have stopped reading all together were it not for the group, so I’m grateful to have had that drive to keep me going. Great respect and kudos to David Cranmer for taking the lead on this quite epic journey over the last year!)


The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures


Our Man Inside Newsletter – If you don’t already subscribe then you should, as it is one of the best out there [LINK]. Normally published every Friday.


Orangutan Playing With A Sack – I think he wants to be Casper the Friendly Ghost.


Pesticide Levels in Garden Centre Plants


Goat Stuck On A Utility Line

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Quick Links 24th July 2017

Each week I’ll try and post quick links to things that I’ve seen, read, inspired me or just sparked my interest in the previous week, with a little background and my thoughts and other things that I’ve been up to in the previous week. Mostly gardening, cooking and environmental stuff but not always.


Life In General. It’s been a bit of an odd week this week. On Monday evening we were scattering my Dad’s ashes, which had quite a significant emotional impact on that day, and the rest of the week as a whole. I’ve had a feeling of just wanting to go back to the site where we they are all week, and I think I probably will fairly soon.

Outside of that it’s been busy with medical appointments for my Mum ahead of knee replacement surgery which is taking place imminently. Consequently I’m not sure whether there will be a quick links posted next week or it might be a fairly curtailed one if I manage it.

Ruby cut her paw at the start of the week, not sure how, but suspect a flint or piece of glass possibly. So she’s been restricted to lead walks while it heals, which by the end of the week it mostly has.


Work  In between various personal appointments I’ve been moving a few projects forward, and looking at a couple of other potential proposals. This year has been very quiet on the work front in terms of paying work, but there has been lots to do in terms of trying to draw in some paying contracts. There’s likely to be a little hiatus around my Mum’s surgery too.


Allotment. – We’ve had a mixed bag of weather this week, which has meant the plot has had a good dose of well needed rain and many things are producing well. This includes our courgette plants. If you are similarly challenged with an over abundance of courgettes, then you could try making cheddar and courgette muffins. Here’s the “How I”…

I’m thinking of coming up with a broccoli and stilton alternative.


Currently Reading

“The Dark Tower” by Stephen King [GoodReads]- which I’m reading for an online group.

I also revisited an Alistair MacLean that I probably haven’t read in over thirty years – Santorini by Alistair MacLean [GoodReads], I enjoyed this reread a lot, so might revisit some of his other novels.


The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures


Manta Rays Swimming in Circles


Dave Goulson Garden Update


Criminal Damage by Goat – 

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Tomato Update

A quick video update from the potting shed on how the tomatoes are doing.

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Quick Links 17th July 2017

Each week I’ll try and post quick links to things that I’ve seen, read, inspired me or just sparked my interest in the previous week, with a little background and my thoughts and other things that I’ve been up to in the previous week. Mostly gardening, cooking and environmental stuff but not always.


Life In General. – A busy week doing family stuff. My Mum needed taking to a couple of medical appointments, and now has a date for her knee replacement, meaning the next few weeks are likely to be very busy indeed.

I managed to pick up a puncture on the car, so spent a time getting that repaired. Fortunately the garage where I had it done is close to a second-hand bookshop, so although I didn’t actually buy anything I had a pleasant time browsing while the puncture was repaired.


Work – I’ve been moving a few proposals forward and adjusting some plans around when my Mum will be in hospital having her knee done, and afterwards for when she returns home. My diary was reasonably clear anyway over that period so it shouldn’t have too big an impact.


Allotment. – The plot is coming along well. I dug the second row of potatoes at the weekend which means we have easily enough to last until Christmas if not a bit longer. The courgettes are also now starting to produce well, so we should have a steady supply until the first frosts.

In the potting shed the tomatoes are in producing well too, so I’ve not been buying any now for a couple of weeks. It’s reaching the part of the year, where our shopping bill drops considerably, as we have plenty of fresh veg.


Currently Reading

The Dark Tower by Stephen King [GoodReads]- which I’m reading for an online group.

Haven’t had much time for anything other than the tale of Roland and his Ka-tet in the last week.


The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures


Fido Family Tree – A quick Guardian pictorial of the family pet’s wilder relatives [LINK]


Sixth Max Extinction Is Already Underway – LINK I actually felt that this was stating the obvious when I read through this article []. I felt for a long time that many species are becoming less frequent or their ranges are changing and / or shrinking. Even locally, changes to insect populations, and also species such as swallows, swifts and housemartins are considerably different to where they were ten years ago when we moved here. Those with the power just don’t seem to care however, they are in it for the short term and not worried about the future or their descendants.


13th – Between watching the F1 British Grand Prix and the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final, the 13th Doctor was revealed.

Not an actor that I know all that well, but one I’ve heard a lot of good things about, and at last a woman. I’m looking forward to the new season, hopefully the series will return to it’s strengths now.

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