Signs of Spring 

There are definite signs of Spring. The days are getting longer (it was still light at 5.15pm yesterday), the mimosa in our garden (above) is flowering and the crocuses (below) are out. 

I know that officially Spring is still another month away, but these are all good signs. 

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Quick Links 20th February 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.

Lots of health related stuff this last week which I’ve already talked about. More stuff with both my Dad’s and Grandma’s estates. I suspect that this is going to be an ongoing theme for many weeks and months.


It’s been a busy week. One of the proposals I’d been working on fell through because of some unethical practice on behalf of the potential client. I won’t say anymore on that at this point because I’m not sure that I have the full picture in terms of the background to the decisions (plus I’m a little mad about it).

On the plus side I had a really great meeting with a group of students from Solent University who I’m going to be working with on looking at a new venture on growing vegetables. It’s one of those things that may become something or it might not go anywhere, but I’m really excited about it. I’ll talk about it a little more in due course but I don’t yet know where this is going to go.

I also had a very positive call on another proposal that I need to do some work on, but there’s going to be a meeting first. It sounds exciting and could really go somewhere.

Currently Reading

I’ve not really been reading much in the last couple of weeks – I always read in bed at night, but frequently fall asleep over my book (not because the book’s boring, but because I’m super-tired) – so things aren’t changing much below

The Fireman by Joe Hill [GoodReads]

An Astronauts Guide To Life On Earth by Chris Hadfield [GoodReads] – really enjoying this (he’s this guy, in case you’ve forgotten).

A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk’s True Life (Journals Vol. 3) by Thomas Merton [GoodReads]

Wizard and Glass by Stephen King [GoodReads]. The next book in the Dark Tower series,  a book I’m reading for an online group.

Blog Survey

Another quick plug for the blog survey…

If you haven’t already had time, please consider completing my 2017 blog survey. I’m keen to hear what you think of the blog, and you can potentially win a £10 Amazon voucher. Looking at the responses so far it seems to take people about 3 minutes to complete. I’ve been having a quick look at responses each day, and I think I can already see some trends, plus there are some nice comments generally, thank you if you have left me one of those, it is appreciated and really means a lot.

If you’ve already filled it out, thanks! If you haven’t had a chance yet, then please do (it will be open until the end of February).


What You Might Want To Do With Your Phone When Entering the US now – or how it’s closer to entering Russia or China than it was before! [LINK]. I can’t say I’ll have much call for going to the USA anytime soon, but you never know and after reading how this NASA scientist was stopped when returning to America [LINK], I might take it quite seriously if I do.

Neil Gaiman – a short piece in the New York Times on his talk about his latest book on Norse Mythology (fiction) [LINK] I’m hoping that I’ll get a copy of his new book for my birthday next month.

He’s also announced his next book, which will be a sequel to “Neverwhere” [LINK]

The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures – Love the buffalo picture

How Emergencies Like The Orville Dam Will Be More Frequent – Climate change means we can expect more similar problems [LINK] and a little bit on what this means for Donald Trump’s infrastructure strategy [LINK]

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Gennaro Contaldo On An Allotment

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Allotment Update 18th February 2017

A short video from the allotment.

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Morning Bird Song

The birds were in particularly fine voice this morning, so I recorded a little bit of it for you. Can you hear the woodpecker?

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What The Heron Had For Breakfast

The playing fields just over the road from are a good bench mark for me to tell how wet a winter we’ve been having. So far I’d have to say, drier than last winter. That said there is a big wet patch over there, it’s like a bit of marsh land. There is often a Heron out there stalking the amphibian fauna that lives there (it’s not wet enough to support fish, it dries out in the summer). This morning the Heron had been particularly lucky and had bagged himself a particularly large frog. He flew off with it dangling from his beak.

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The BBC’s adaptation of Len Deighton’s SS-GB starts this coming Sunday. I’m looking forward to watching it, having read the book years ago. It’s an alternate history story with Britain being occupied by the Nazi’s having lost the Battle of Britain. Trailer below:

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