Tree’s Up TWTW # 154

Well it’s a little windy out there at the moment. I’ve just come back from my morning dog walk and we have a fair breeze blowing. I dare say it’s not the 100mph winds that have been reported for storm Arwen in other parts of the country. Although you can’t see it easily from the photo that blue dot is us, and we’re right on the edge of one of the weather warnings so hopefully will escape the worst. If you’re in one of the other areas then I hope you stay safe and take care if you have to venture outdoors, probably better to stay inside in the warm and dry though if you can.

This week has been mostly been about the work again, trying to move some things forward and finish off others. I’m aiming to take the Christmas and New Year period completely work free, so would like to tie things up before then.

Outside of that I’ve been booking booster jabs, which has proven to be quite a torturous process with the website insisting that the nearest centre with appointments available is on the Isle of Wight which is an expensive ferry ride away. Eventually we managed to get booked in a little closer to home and without the sea crossing.

We also put up our Christmas tree. I suspect we would have done it this weekend anyway so we were probably a few days early but it feels like we should make the most of having it up, rather than putting it up last minute and then taking it down a week later.

So we put on the original Now Christmas album (on vinyl) and decorated the tree. Just need to write Christmas cards now.

I’m also planning to make our Christmas pudding over the weekend at some point. A few years ago I made a video about it here:


Work

As mentioned above I’ve been busy on different projects this week. I was also supposed to be at a couple of workshops yesterday and today, but mysteriously they were cancelled without notice or explanation on Tuesday. My assumption is because of the bad weather but I haven’t been able to contact the organiser to find out the reason. I’m not disappointed that they were cancelled due to the rising Covid numbers, I wasn’t looking forward to being in a room of potentially hostile members of the public.


Allotment

Nothing to report today, I’ll pop down there once the storm has passed to see if there is any damage but it’s probably best to stay away while the wind is so strong.


Reading

I mentioned that I’d started The Small Heart of Things by Julian Hoffman last week, well I finished that in fairly short order. It was a quick but brilliant read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Given it’s been tucked up in my “to be read” pile for so long it was a delight to read it. I hope there are more of the same in that pile of books. Since then I’ve been reading March Violets by Phillip Kerr, which is a Bernie Gunther mystery novel.

During the week I read an article – which I now can’t find – that said men don’t read much fiction. I initially dismissed this thinking that I read a lot of fiction. Later in the week I was looking through a book list of mine and realised that it was almost entirely non-fiction, so I had a look at the books I’ve read so far this year on GoodReads, and it’s pretty much a fifty-fifty split between fiction and non-fiction at the moment, so maybe there is something to that article after all?


TV

Nothing much to report this week, a lot of the things we have been watching have come to the end of their run, and Shetland finished this week. So not sure whether there’ll be much to report over the coming weeks.


Well that’s it for this week. As mentioned I’m off to be boosted next week, otherwise I’ll probably be working on client things. Whatever you’re up to Stay Safe and Take Care.

All The Leaves Are Brown TWTW # 153

Welcome to Autumn

This week has been a mixture of many things. It started bright and early on Monday working remotely while a carpenter fitted a new external door. So many doors these days are known as engineered doors and are made at a standard size to fit a standard door frame, this frame wasn’t a standard size and you can’t cut an engineered door (because they’re basically a sandwich of wood with a pulp filler). Engineered doors are relatively cheap, but a door to fit this frame wasn’t and I didn’t want to risk trying to do it myself with my rudimentary skills. The chance of catastrophe would be high as would the length of time it would take me. While the carpenter sawed and chiselled, planed and sanded, I finished a report for a client. By the end of the day the door was fitted and my report was finished.

I came back a couple of days later and painted it, I can be trusted with a paintbrush. While the paint dried I went for a walk with my camera and took some autumn photos. The beech trees this year are pretty spectacular and were so inviting to the camera’s eye.

Later in the week I had to take Wilson to the vets for yet more tests. We’re trying to decide whether to change his treatment or persevere with what we’re doing at the moment which isn’t completely working. There’s no guarantee that something different will work any better, so it feels a bit like reaching into the dark for a solution that might not even be there.

On Friday I did something that I haven’t done since February 2020, and drew some cash out from a cash point. With the pandemic, the shift to contactless and card payments I’ve had very little need for cash but I was down to my last fiver from what I drew out 20 months ago. I wonder if I’ll have enough to take me to 2023 or perhaps 2024?


Reading

I finished Alistair Maclean’s Floodgate which was really hard going. Not his best work by a long way and if you’re thinking of reading something of his it’s not a good place to start. Instead try Puppet on a Chain, Where Eight Bells Toll, Golden Rendezvous or Ice Station Zebra. As a rule of thumb his older novels are better than the newer ones (although St Andreas which came straight after Floodgate is one of my favourites), the later ones are reported to mostly have been written by ghostwriters and then reviewed by Maclean. Not sure if this is true but it would explain the patchy quality of the later novels.

After that I’ve started reading Julian Hoffman’s The Small Heart of Things which is a complete change of pace – non-fiction, natural history and place.


Watching

We watched the season finale of Foundation on Friday night. I’m glad it’s over and I’m glad my Apple TV subscription is a freebie. I’m pretty sure I won’t be renewing it, there just isn’t enough on there that can make me justify the cost.

We’re continuing to watch both Shetland and Adam Dalgliesh both of which are excellent, the season finale for the former next week and the latter ended this week.

I didn’t watch much of Children in Need but I did catch bit of the Drumathon:

An audience with Richard Mabey


Links

RIP Cedric Robinson – Queen’s Guide to the Sands

Key Outcomes Agreed at COP26: Summary

Everything You Thought You Knew About Hobo Code is Wrong

Net Zero / Not Zero/


Allotment

I harvested our Brussel Sprouts and some leeks on Saturday and converted them into a rather acceptable pasta, leek, sprout and onion dish in a rich cheese sauce. Probably not a cholesterol buster, but very tasty.


Well that’s it for this week. I’m expecting a fairly busy week ahead work wise, but not sure what else I’ll be up to, whatever you’re doing, stay safe and take care.

The Amethyst Deceiver TWTW # 152

This week has been has been focussed on work related things without much time for other things apart from dog walks, eating and sleeping. In part because I have less time for work in the week ahead but lots to do and want to be ahead if I can.

We did manage an afternoon walk in the woods this week and I spotted this bright purple mushroom. The app on my phone, confirmed by my field guide when I got home, told me that it was an Amethyst Deceiver. Despite the colour it is apparently edible, although known to absorb arsenic if it’s present in the surrounding environment, so maybe not totally safe. It’s quite late in the season for this particular mushroom, but a first for me as I don’t recall ever seeing one before.


Reading

I finished reading Daily Rituals by Mason Currey this week, it’s the sort of book that you only dip into now and again, which to be honest has been just what I needed this week when I haven’t had space for extended reading. It did get me thinking about my own daily routine which has been pretty fixed for a while now, particularly when I have work on.

I’ve been reading Alistair MacLean’s Floodgate since, but haven’t made many pages of progress.


Allotment

Last week’s rain has left the plot pretty damp so I’ve been focussing on doing some tasks that don’t require me to be on the main beds. I’ve been cutting out last years old growth from the loganberries. As they are spring fruiting they’ll produce that fruit on this years new growth, which needs tying in.

I harvested some leeks which became leek and potato soup for supper on Saturday, with enough left for lunch today, homemade rolls to boot.


Watching

A bit more Apple TV this week (and I’m now pretty sure that I won’t be paying for it when my freebie membership comes to an end). As the first Season of Foundation comes to an end I’m quite glad I don’t remember the story from the books – although I think I will reread them once it’s done – as it’s really unclear as to just what is going on. The other show we’ve been watching, we’ve decided not to bother with from now on, Invasion, is just a mess.

We have been enjoying the BBC’s Shetland, based on the Ann Cleeves novels and also the adaptations of P D James’ Adam Dalgliesh series being shown on Channel 5. The latter I’m pleased to see has tried to stay faithful to the time period of the novels, which other versions haven’t. I’m hoping that it will get a second season, as we’ve really enjoyed the first.


Links

Neil Gaiman – Art and Climate

Honey and Co – The Food Sessions: Red Sands with Caroline Eden

The Accounting Trick That Could Wreck The Planet


Following on from that who doesn’t need to see a singing banana playing the guitar?


Well that’s all I have for this week. Next week I’m going to be hanging about waiting for a door to be fitted, and hopefully working while that’s taking place, and then probably painting the same door. Whatever you’re up to – Stay Safe and Take Care.

Boots Made for Walking TWTW # 151

I wear boots a lot of the time. Hiking boots, wellingtons, steel toe safety boots. In fact when I’m out of the house I’m most likely to be wearing a pair of boots rather than any other type of footwear.

This week has been a bit of a disaster when it comes to boot wearing. Firstly at the start of the week I noticed that my wellingtons had sprung a leak. In time honoured fashion I discovered this when I had to wade through a large puddle and realised that my foot was wet. They’d split on the seam and in an awkward place which made even a temporary repair impossible. Then on Friday I noticed that my hiking boots had also had a failure, this time the sole had split across not just on one boot but on both. I hadn’t realised but now suspect they might have been like this for a while and possibly explain why an old injury had been causing me problems.

So now I need to get replacement boots – two pairs. New wellingtons will be here on Monday, but I’m having trouble finding hiking boots in my size.

Given the amount I wear them I’m not surprised that they wear out, they cover a lot of miles in a week.


Reading

I’ve been reading and finished Diary of a War Artist by Edward Ardizzone and The Potter’s Field by Ellis Peters this week. I often pick up an Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael mystery when I’m between books and don’t know what to read next. I’ve only got a couple more in the series to read and then I’ll have to find something else that fills that role. I don’t have any idea what that might be. For now I’ve pivoted back to non-fiction and am reading Daily Rituals by Mason Currey – all about the daily habits of famous figures across history. There’s some interesting habits in there, some quite curious and others that aren’t all that unusual and are the sort of thing that many people do today.

There’s lots of discussion on the internet about the new kindle paperwhite this week. I’ve been looking at some of it even though I certainly don’t need a new kindle. I’ve had my current one, which is the previous generation, for nearly two-and-a-half years. It’s been a workhorse for me, but the new version doesn’t look like a significant step forward to justify a purchase I don’t really need. I’ll be sticking with what I’ve got.


Watching

More Foundation and Invasion watching this week, I’m really not sure where the former series is going, and there’s only two episodes left (I think) in this season and I can’t see how they’re going to bring it all together in a satisfying way – then I suppose they don’t need to if they’re going to be making more. As for the latter, I feel like I could stop watching it now and not miss it. I did read a review that said it didn’t get going until episode 5, and we’re only at episode 4, so I might watch one more, but if it doesn’t then I can’t see that we’ll watch the rest of it.

We also watched the new Tom Hanks movie – Finch which was okay but didn’t really do much more than that. All of these are Apple TV+ which I got a free subscription for when I upgraded my iPad earlier this year, however I can’t see that we’ll stick with the paid version when my freebie runs out.


Work

I’ve mostly been focussed on one client’s work this week. When I can working on something in a concentrated way works best for me, so to be able to spend some extended time in this way has delivered real dividends both for me and hopefully also the client. I’ve only got a few more days allocated to this particular piece of work and it looks like I’ll complete it on time and budget.


Allotment

It looks like my onion sets are starting to germinate but no sign of my broad beans as yet. I harvested some leeks this week and we’ve had a lovely leek, brussel sprout, cheese and mashed potato pie over a couple of nights.


Links

Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagne recipe

Do Not Eat, Touch, Or Even Inhale the Air Around the Manchineel Tree

Ridley Scott Films – Ranked


Well that’s it for this week, there’s nothing much in my diary for the week ahead, so I’ll be cracking on with client work and trying to get things finished perhaps a little earlier than I might otherwise. Whatever you’re up to stay safe and take care.


Well Look At Those Onions TWTW # 149

I seem to have spent a lot of time in the dark this week. Taking photos of the moon, treasuring my night vision and eschewing a torch or other artificial light.

I feel these weeks in autumn and early winter more than any other time of the year, and the feelings aren’t all good. Whilst I don’t mind the dark I realise that it has an effect on my mental state. I’m much more tired than normal and prone to sighing more than normal. I know that I’ll adjust to the shorter days in time the change of time to GMT will make my morning dog walks lighter again for a while. I also know that many others feel this time of year much more than I do.

Our Covid numbers are very much on the rise again, our useless government are refusing to implement even the simplest of preventative measures and pinning all their hopes on booster jabs that most of the population doesn’t have access to. Add to that shortages and cost of living crisis….

Looks like Christmas is cancelled again this year.


I’ve had some new subscribers this week, if you are one of them – Welcome!

If you’re new here and wondering what an earth you’ve signed up to, welcome, this is my website / blog.

By training I am a biologist and by profession I generally make most of my income from being an independent environmental consultant. Outside of that I have a fairly wide interest in all sorts of things. I normally publish a post like this on the weekend at the end of the week (TWTW = The Week That Was), and talk about what I’ve been doing in the previous week, links to things I’ve found and anything else that I think might be interesting. Other occasional posts will appear at other times e.g. book reviews.

Thanks for signing up, but if after reading my ramblings you’re regretting your decision feel free to unsubscribe, there is a link to do so in each post if you subscribe by email. Obviously I hope you’ll stick around.

I also post on Instagram and Twitter where I am also @tontowilliams if you like what you see you can also buy me a coffee via the link in the sidebar


Work

Between the darks rising and falling this week, I’ve mostly had my head into client work. Tonnes of carbon dioxide, and looking at how we seemingly commute such short distances in our cars. The numbers of course hold no context, they’re just numbers there’s no why as to how they are.


Books

I finished reading Horse Under Water by Len Deighton and moved on to Silverview by John le Carré, both were excellent. It’s odd that this is possibly the last John le Carré, there’s a little tease that there might be some “uncompleted” novels in his papers and it seems that the family is very much in control of them so I think that if there are any more they will only be released if they are any good.


TV & Film

I sat down and watched IT Part 2 this week. I say watched because I ran out of time and didn’t finish it. I’m not sure I’m going to go back either as I really wasn’t enjoying it.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I did enjoy the Stephen King cameo, but just couldn’t get into the rest of the film

[SPOILER ALERT ENDS].


I’m not sure why, it just didn’t sit well with me, there’s some impressive special effects, and a good correlation with the original book (as far as I remember it anyway), but I just found it a bit, well, meh.

On the other hand we also watched The Guilty which I thought was very good. The films premise revolves around a single emergency service operator and there are very no other major actors seen, most of the other characters are voices on the other end of the phone. It’s Swedish with subtitles but a great concept with a nasty twist. Worth watching if you can track it down. (It’s also been remade by Netflix with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role).


We’ve also been watching the return of Shetland on BBC, good to see it back but too early to say much more. Plus more of Isaac Asimov – Foundation and the new Apple TV series Invasion. I don’t know where the latter is going, the first three episodes have been released and it’s unclear exactly what is going on.


Allotment & Food

We had quite a bit of rain during the week, which is good for the recently planted broad beans, garlic and onions. It’s also made for some easy digging and weeding, so I’ve been clearing parts of the plot that are no longer going to be used this year. A couple of cold overnight temperatures have done for the squash and courgette plants so they’ve been pulled up and the remains added to the compost heap.

I made some simple onion relish over the weekend. We were having vegetarian hot-dogs for supper on Saturday and it went perfectly with those in the homemade rolls. When I say simple I do mean just that:

Take a couple of large onions and slices them into thin half-rings, you’re going for long thin strands rather than pieces. Heat some olive oil in a non-stick pan and then add the sliced onion. Fry them on a high heat for a couple of minutes and then turn down the heat and continue to cook until the onion it becomes soft, keep stirring them. Now add some demerara sugar (just enough to cover the onions), a good glug (couple of tablespoons) of white wine vinegar and a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Keep stirring and continue to cook until the vinegar is all evaporated and the onions are well caramelised.

You can either allow it to cool and use later or serve it while still hot. It’ll keep for a couple of days in the fridge. You could also make some bigger batches and store in sterilised jars, but to be honest it’s so quick and easy to make fresh each time why bother? We had enough for our hot-dogs and enough for a lunchtime cheese roll the following day.


Links

Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit

Yes, We Have To Live With Covid – But Not With Such Irresponsible Ministers

Which Form of Transport Has The Smallest Carbon Footprint?


Well that’s all for this week. Whatever you’re up to in the week ahead, stay safe and take care.

Buying Go Go Juice TWTW # 147

I’ve mostly been at my desk working on client projects this week. Things are moving in the right direction and I have another busy week, including some Friday evening and Saturday morning workshops that I’m going to be involved in, coming up. It’s good to have paid work coming through, and the experience of getting back into that routine again quite interesting.

I had to buy some petrol this week. I haven’t needed to before now because I didn’t actually need any and saw no benefit to adding to the stupidity of what has been panic buying of a resource that isn’t actually in a shortage. I had no problems, just drove straight up to a pump, filled up and paid and drove away again. I’m not sure whether I was lucky (there were queues at the same petrol station earlier in the week) or whether things have just calmed down again. I hope it’s the latter.


Reading

I’ve mostly been reading James Holland’s Brothers in Arms – One legendary tank regiments bloody war from D-Day to VE-Day this week. I’ve stayed up late several nights reading this without feeling fatigued (which has taught me something about when you’re engaged with a book, you don’t feel tired), and I have to say it is one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in awhile. It is also probably one of the most gut wrenching when you consider the casualties. I think I am right in saying that no one in the regiment who landed on the beach in Normandy survive without being wounded, and there were many, many who were sadly killed. War is horrible and I’ve read a lot of military history books but this really brought it home just how many were killed and wounded and how many ‘replacements’ came directly from training to the front line to replace their comrades and became casualties themselves. Of those who landed in Normandy the number of men was replaced at the rate of 150%, and although some were wounded and returned there were very few who managed to do through the whole period without injury of some kind.

Sadly the last surviving member of the regiment from that time died this week.

I’d recommend reading this if you have the time.

Later this coming week the final John le Carré novel Silverview will be published. There are a couple of interesting articles about other writers favourite le Carré novel (mine are probably The Little Drummer Girl and The Constant Gardener but as I’m rereading those that I first read many years ago, I expect some more might get added to that list) and also about the authors change of nationality to Irish so that he could remain and die an EU citizen. I’d also recommend listening to the Radio 4 programme that’s mentioned in one of the articles.

I have my copy on pre-order and I’m looking forward to, although with some sadness to reading this final novel.


Allotment

I recorded some audio from the allotment this week.


Links

I use Instagram but rarely Facebook or WhatsApp but for one reason or another there’s been a lot of coverage about them this week, either because they’ve managed to shoot themselves in one foot or another, but this comparison is an interesting read. I find my use of Instagram a little unsettling now given the background and information that has come out.


Watching

I’ve not really been watching much this week, a few episodes of the Michael Gambon incarnation of Maigret which are excellent, and some more episodes of the Apple TV+ adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels. I’ve been spending much more time reading my book (see above).


The coming week looks like being a rinse and repeat version of this one. I hope whatever you’re up to your able to stay safe. Take care.


Sweeter Corn TWTW # 141

I’ve been bird sitting this week, or rather popping into one of our neighbours to check on their pet cockatiel, change his water and seed and have a ‘chat’ with him. Our conversations are pretty limited I think, and I’m not sure that he’s actually pleased to see me.

I was asked to take a Covid antibody test as part of the Zoe study this week. This test can tell whether you have actually been exposed to the coronavirus and developed natural antibodies to it, as opposed to ones you may have develop from immunisation. My test came back negative, which to be honest was what I was expecting.


Reading

I finished reading Roald Dahl’s Short Stories Volume 1 about middle way through this week and then picked up Len Deighton’s Mexico Set. I read Berlin Game by the same author earlier this year and was intending to read the trilogy – Game, Set, (London) Match at some point, and now feels like as good a time as any.


Watching

We sat down to watch a couple more Clint Eastwood westerns this week – Joe Kidd and Hang ’em High – again I don’t think I’ve watched either of these from start to finish in a very long time. We enjoyed them and I suspect we’ll end up watching some more.


Work

I have a meeting arranged for next week to discuss the proposal I submitted last week. Hopefully this is to discuss any refinements and give me the go ahead with the work. I doubt that they would have arranged a meeting just to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’. This is a reasonable piece of work in terms of the time and mental challenge that it presents so I’m hopeful that they want to proceed as that also means I get paid obviously.

It’s possible that I’ll also be returning to in-person allotment talks soon too. I’m trying to work out how this will actually happen and what changes there will be in order to be Covid-safe. I’m not sure whether I actually want to be back in a room with a group of people of unknown vaccination / negative test status at the moment given the high levels of the virus in the population. I’m waiting to hear back from the organisers of the first of these talks about their new arrangements, but they seem to think that this is down to the owners of the venue.


Allotment

Photograph shows some sweetcorn cobs on a tea towel

As the photograph evidences I’ve managed to harvest some sweetcorn this year. If you’re a regular reader here you’ll know that in previous years harvesting sweetcorn has always been a race against time with the local badger population or some serious fence construction to stop them getting to the plants. In previous years they have pushed over the plants to get at the ripe cobs, devastating the entire crop. Whilst I don’t begrudge them a feed, given how persecuted they are, I don’t intentionally grow the sweetcorn for them. This year I beat them to it.

I suspect the truth is that the set that was behind the allotment site is actually dormant at the moment and the badgers have moved on elsewhere. There’s no sign more generally that they have been about.

In addition to the sweetcorn, I got a good harvest of French beans, patti-pan squash and autumn raspberries.

It’s the time of year when I am thinking about whether or not I am going to continue with the allotment for another year – fees for the year ahead are due in October. This year has been a hard one, with more failures than successes and contaminated manure has lead to a lot of problems with weeds. I am honestly not sure what I am going to do.


Links

The All-Seeing “i”: Apple Just Declared War on Your Privacy – by Edward Snowden

Amazon’s older Kindles will start to lose their internet access in December (US only)


Well that’s it for this week. Have a good week ahead and take care and stay safe whatever you’re up to.

Rain Stops Play TWTW # 140

Well a slightly earlier post than I’d planned today.

I’m just back from the allotment where I’d planned to do a series of different jobs until it started to rain hard.

The forecast must have changed a bit overnight because I thought I’d at least have 2 to 3 hours before the rain arrived.

Anyhow I finished up what I was doing and then headed for home, I’ll try again tomorrow in the meantime I’ll just have to finish my flask of coffee at home in the dry.

You know I’ve had that flask the best part of 30 years. I got it when I was working in the woods all day and needed a warm drink, particularly in the winter. It’s served me well, and still keeps my drinks warm even today.

The outer green paint is flaking off on one side and it’s a little bit rusty underneath. I did look to replace it a while ago, but that was during the first lockdown and you couldn’t get them. They’re available again now, but I really don’t want to replace it now. I think I’ll just keep going until it doesn’t anymore. Maybe it will even outlive me?


Watching.

We seem to have watched a lot this week. We’ve been continuing to watch Ghosts which I think I’ve mentioned before and have finished series 3. We also watched a couple of movies; Green Book which we really enjoyed, even if it does make for some painful watching because of some of the historical treatment of people of colour; and Pale Rider which I don’t think I’ve sat and watched from beginning to end for a very long time. It still stands up well, and the finale with Eastwood taking on an overwhelming force has been repeated many a time in the western genre and it’s a great example of it. It’s made me want to watch a few more of the old Eastwood westerns too, and perhaps some others that I haven’t seen in a while.


Reading.

I’ve been reading Arthur C. Clarke’s The Lost Worlds of 2001. A bit like The Odyssey File which I mentioned a few weeks ago, it’s more of a making of the movie, although it does contain some original stories that went into 2001.

I’ve also started on Volume One of Roald Dahl’s short stories, which are incredible pieces of work. Some I’ve read before – including Lamb to the Slaughter which has just the best telling of the the disposal of a murder weapon that I’ve ever read – but some are completely new to me. I’ve got the second volume to read as well so I could be reading these for a while.


Work.

I’ve been working on a proposal for a client at their request. It’s actually revisiting one that I worked on back in February that didn’t go anywhere due to budget cutbacks. However it seems like they now have some funding in place so I’m hopeful. They’ve also expanded the brief a bit, so it’s slightly more work than I bid for before. Fingers-crossed that it works out. It was submitted on Friday, so hopefully I’ll hear something in the next week or so.


That’s all I have for this week. It’s still raining outside, so I think I made the right decision about the allotment.

Whatever you’re up to in the week ahead, stay safe and take care.


Late Night Grande Hotel TWTW # 139

The start of this week was plagued by some ghost alarms on my phone. For an unexplained reason my phone started playing an alarm at 05.30 each morning, even turning itself on to do so. There were no alarms set on the phone and it took a couple of days to work out what was going on. Fortunately I’m normally up before this time and my phone charges in another room to the bedroom overnight so it was more of a nuisance than a disturbance.

Eventually it turned out to be a problem linked to a fitness band that I haven’t used in over a year which (at the time) had synced to the health app on my phone and was causing the alarm from there as part of the sleep / wake function.

If this happens to you, turn off the “sleep schedule” in the health app and the alarms should stop – unless of course you want to be woken at a specific time.

It seems that a recent OS upgrade has caused this and a number of other problems. I’m also suffering from my podcasts app mislabeling the podcasts in the library so that sometimes it doesn’t play what it says it is supposed to be playing.

Sometimes these things are just too complicated for our good.


So how are you? Other than the above my week has been pretty good.

I had a visit with my Mum in her care home. She was in good form, all other things considered and it was one of those lucky visits where there is no one in the slot after mine so that the staff let mine overrun so we had extra time together. It doesn’t happen that frequently but it’s good when it does.


Reading

I finished John le Carre’s The Honourable Schoolboy this week. It’s set in a very different time period, but it’s interesting how pertinent it is to today with different conflicts around the world and with Russian spies surfacing in unlikely places.

I had planned to read something else next but thanks to Hermes the rather useless delivery company who appear to have lost the package with that book in, I’m probably going to have to change my plans. Hermes only seem to have AI for customer service and no humans, the AI is insistent that they are trying “very hard” to deliver my package but I fear that they are just very trying. Sadly they also have another package of mine which is a part of Ann’s birthday present, so I’m not hopeful that they’ll manage to deliver that one either.


Allotment

The weeks of rain and warm weather have been kind to the weeds and I spent a long time on Saturday on my hands and knees weeding different bits of my plot to try and get on top of them. I had some success and the piles of weeds speak in testament to my efforts.

It’s also been good for other things, and as usual the squashes and courgettes have gotten away from me to the extent that I was leaving some on the site’s “swap” table for anyone who wants them.

I also lifted the last of the onions – it’s been a really good year for those and I’m considering switching permanently to the new supplier I tried this year for all my onions. This is in part down to the consideration that I’ve heard our allotment shop is not going to be ordering potatoes or onions sets this year.


RIP Nanci Griffith


Watching

We’ve been watching the new series of Ghosts this week. It doesn’t feel as strong or as funny as the previous series but it’s still much better than a lot of things on at the moment.

We’ve also been watching Hemingway which has been interesting and has added quite a bit to my knowledge of the life of the author.


Well that’s it for this week, I have a proposal to prepare in the week ahead but other than that my diary is looking quite empty, although I dare say I’ll be waiting around at some point for a parcel that may or may not be delivered.

Whatever you’re up to, stay safe and take care.


Eggstatic TWTW # 137

The sounds of workmen and the smell of newly laid tar have been the soundtrack to my week as the road outside my house is being resurfaced – slowly. It’s not been too bad and at times quite interesting to watch. There are a couple more weeks of associated works to go before it’s finished although hopefully after the middle of next week we won’t be as affected.


Allotment

I’ve been doing a lot of harvesting this week. Mostly things that we won’t immediately eat like onions and potatoes. This years onions have been a good crop, both in terms of their quality and quantity. I’ve had a few that have split – probably down to inconsistent watering – but the vast majority are good.

I dug the final row of potatoes too, like the previous row they weren’t a fantastic yield but they were good quality with very little slug damage or scab. I did have one that was a little odd though.

As I dig them up I always brush off as much of the loose dirt as I can before putting them in a bucket. This one particular potato wasn’t particularly remarkable except when I went to brush the mud off and it burst open revealing that it wasn’t in fact a potato but an egg – a very old egg judging by the smell. Unfortunately when it burst it also sprayed me with it’s contents, so I had to take a moment to wash off the leg of my shorts and my t-shirt.

My assumption is that a fox or something similar had cached the egg there – when the soil was loose – with a view to eating it at a later date and then forgotten about it.

I did a quick check and I’m pretty sure that it was a wood pigeons egg (see below). I didn’t completely destroy the egg when I broke it so was able to get some photos of the other side of it and had a fairly good idea of its size and colour, so I’m pretty confident with my choice.



Reading

I no longer believe that dolphins are really intelligent. They are much too friendly to man.

Arthur C. Clarke

I’ve been reading lots of bits from lots of different places this week. The above quote is from the correspondence between Arthur C Clarke and the screenwriter/director Peter Hyams when they were collaborating on the film of 2010. Their correspondence via Kaypro computers as an early form of email is captured in The Odyssey File which I was given as a birthday present back in the early 1980’s when the film was released. I’ve been rereading this in part this week, and it’s making me want to go back and reread all of the 2001 to 3001 sequence of books.

The quote comes from a sequence in the book / film where the lead character is at his home which happens to have a pool with dolphins in it. This is based on a real home which had this “feature” and they were hoping to use it in the film. As they discover however the house is still in existence but no longer has dolphins in the pool, so they built a replica at Seaworld in San Diego for the filming.


Watching

A few things come to mind this week, we’ve watched the latest season of Baptiste which is being shown on Sunday evenings but is also available on iPlayer. As it still hasn’t finished it’s Sunday run I won’t spoil it. We’ve also been continuing our Star Trek movies rewatch and are now firmly into TNG sequence of films. We also rewatched Timecop, which if you don’t know is a Jean Claude Van Damme action movie. Although I enjoyed the silliness of it, it was also interesting watching an 90’s movie that is pretending that it is set in the early 2000’s with time travel backwards – “you can’t go forwards because it hasn’t happened yet”. The self driving cars and 90’s fashioned that seemed to prevail for over ten years were a little cringeworthy, but that said it was a pleasant diversion for an evening.

Sidenote: It was also directed by Peter Hyams.


Well that’s all I have for this week. The week ahead is looking quite quiet, roadworks excluded. So whatever you’re up to this week stay safe and take care.