Quick Links 9th January 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 quiet week of frosty mornings, amazing sunrises and a slow start to the return to work for me. I didn’t really take a solid break over the Christmas & New Year holiday, doing little bits of work here and there, but not working all day every day. I took an afternoon off to go and see Rogue One, which I wrote about briefly here.



Currently Reading

Entering the Silence: Becoming a Monk and a Writer: 2 (The Journals of Thomas Merton) by Thomas Merton [GoodReads].


This article talks about the new “garden villages” that have been proposed across the UK, what it fails to take note of is that this isn’t new, it’s been on the cards for several years and far longer than the supposed announcement last year. I know this because one of the “new” sites isn’t that far away from me, and there has been intense local community opposition to it for well over five years. The myth that these “new” towns will only go where they are wanted is just that a myth.

The local site will take out a large area of green fields and good quality agricultural land in favour of 6,000 new houses, and with little accompanying infrastructure, even though the proposals will require upgrades to the power network, gas mains, water and sewerage system and improvements to the roads (including upgrading a motorway junction). All required, but no confirmation that this will be delivered.

Another crackpot government idea.


What does 2017 Have To Offer?

The author Charles Stross has taken a humorous look at what 2017 might have to offer. Given how screwed up 2016 was, I’m not altogether sure whether or not some of it might come true. It’s in three parts- Part I, Part II, Part III.


A Stab In The Dark Podcast

I wrote about this in a separate post last week, but want to mention this podcast again, as I’m really enjoying it. Link to the website here, but you should be able to download via your usual podcast platform of choice.


A Week In Wildlife – In Pictures

Quick Links 2nd January 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

Another year ends, and another year begins. Personally 2016 was not a great time for me, and whilst I have to carry some of that into 2017, I’m hoping that the New Year is a better one than last.



Currently Reading

Entering the Silence: Becoming a Monk and a Writer: 2 (The Journals of Thomas Merton) by Thomas Merton [GoodReads].


Cost Vs. Benefit

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I’m interested in the cost vs. benefit for the allotment. My costs are mainly on things like seeds / plants, and then a few other things like netting, tools etc. but the latter are not ongoing as they last a long time and are reused. I also don’t heat the potting shed, so have no energy needs.

I’m going to be looking at this in a little more detail this year, as I really want to understand, what is in effect savings for me, in terms of food we don’t buy at the supermarket, as those are our principle benefits, so watch this space!

One of the YouTube channels that I follow is Curtis Stone’s. He’s an urban farmer in Canada, and he’s gone into his energy costs vs. revenues in the video below.


It Shouldn’t All Be About Economic Growth

Although this article focuses on wider countryside and open spaces, I think areas of open spaces, parks and green places on the edge and within more urban areas are also at risk. As I’ve said before the drive to make everything about economic growth is just flawed. There are many things that are as important, if not more important than that.

As an example, last year our local council announced that it wanted to close the local health centre and arts centre in order to expand the shopping centre and build some housing. What they have left out of their plans is just where the health centre and arts centre are going to go. Where will people (including me) go to see their doctor?

Their thinking is all about economic growth, but is flawed. The current shopping centre has many empty units, so which businesses are going to go into the new ones that they want to create? If it was completely full I’d have a little more sympathy, but their plans just don’t make sense.

What worries me more is the same council also has control over a lot of the local green spaces, and doesn’t seem to value them. How long before they are proposing to build something on them? It doesn’t feel like it will be very long. They have no concept of the value of social or environmental benefits.


The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures (there wasn’t one posted on Friday, hopefully it’ll be back next week).


 

Penguin Cubes


One of my more novel Christmas presents. Plastic, water filled, penguins. Put them in the freezer, and then add them to your drink once frozen to do the same job as ice cubes, without diluting your drink.

Quick Links 26th December 2016

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

It’s been an odd week and very busy with family stuff. I can’t believe that when you read this Christmas will be over. Our celebrations have obviously been different this year, and we’re didn’t go overboard, just having a simple meal. I think I actually much prefer this, as I think the real meaning of this time of year has been lost amongst the commercial aspects; trying to spend more than we have, and eat until we burst.

I hope everyone had a peaceful and restful Christmas


Conspiracy Theory 

The Guardian published this article, laying out all the conspiracy theories of 2016. You know, like Russian Hackers trying to influence the outcome of an election?


Currently Reading

Entering the Silence: Becoming a Monk and a Writer: 2 (The Journals of Thomas Merton) by Thomas Merton [GoodReads].

The Wastelands (Dark Tower III) by Stephen King [GoodReads], ongoing read for an online disucssion group.

Odessa Sea by Clive Cussler [GoodReads]


A Week In Wildlife – In Pictures (love the Waxwings)


Living Primitively

I look forward to seeing how this works out. I’m not sure I could go to such an extreme, but I certainly enjoy time away from my computer, and I regularly turn my phone to totally silent.


Wildlife Gardening

This just goes to prove that your garden doesn’t need to be a massive nature reserve to attract wildlife.

Christmas Traditions

5290176834_a582cc515f_b

I can think of a few Christmas traditions and sayings. For example, we always used to be told that if we weren’t well behaved Father Christmas would only leave a lump of coal in our Christmas stocking. If we were good there was always a satsuma, and some nuts in  the toe, underneath the presents.

Do you have any similar Christmas traditions? Leave me a comment below.