Fifty From Fifty

In a few weeks time I turn 50. I’ve been toying with ideas of ways to mark it in some way and I thought I’d write about some of the things that I’ve learnt in my life, things that were important to me.

I wanted it to be a limited thing too, something that would be roughly 50 posts, done before I turn 51. So rather than post them here I’ve set up a separate newsletter that way if you’re interested you can sign up for it and if you’re not you don’t have to worry about it – although I can’t guarantee I won’t mention it again here.

So if you’re up for some reminiscence and nostalgia you can sign up here: Fifty From Fifty the sign up process might ask you if you want to pay, but ignore that all the posts will be free. I hope you’ll join me.

Some Not Very Good News TWTW # 32

This last week has been pretty busy, and although I’ve had some good work related news (see below), I’ve had some sad news too. I think I’ve mentioned before that my Mum’s health has not been the best – well she had an appointment this week which was a follow up from some tests and a scan that she had a few weeks ago. The news that the consultant gave was not good, although perhaps wasn’t a surprise given the symptoms she’s had, we’re still processing what that means. For the time being at least I’m not going to say very much more.

The good, work related news, was that the second client I’d been talking to has come on board and that pretty much means in work terms I’m booked solid for the next couple of months. I much prefer being busy to having time on my hands though.

When I went to the allotment last I nearly trod on this pair of mating slugs that were between my shed and compost bins. I was surprised to see them there as this is more of a nocturnal activity, my guess was that they were in the shade there, and it wasn’t until the sun came around that they moved off and went on their separate ways to ultimately lay eggs to produce more slugs to eat my crops!

24 White Storks released in West Sussex rewilding project

I have been listening to the BBC Prom concert based upon the book “The Lost Words” by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris. It’s available here for a short time. As a celebration of nature, wildlife and words, it is very much worth a listen.

I’m leaving it here for this week, lots to do over the coming days and obviously plenty to think about.

Quick Links 12th 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.


This past weeks been taken up with catching up on preparations for Christmas. Up until this week I’ve not done anything much in that respect. So putting up lights, writing cards, buying presents etc. etc. have been the order of the day. In between times, there’s still plenty to do in connection with my Dad. I think the latter is going to go without saying for some time.

I can’t say that I am particularly looking forward to Christmas –  but I can’t do much about the timing, as it is what it is – so I guess I’ll just be making the most of it.

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.

When Eight Bells Toll by Alistair MacLean [GoodReads]. By the time this post goes live I expect I will have finished this. It’s a reread too, although I think I was about 13 or 14 when I read it the first time. Despite being published over 50 years ago it stands up really well, great little action novel. I like many of MacLean’s books, but this is one of my favourites.

The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures

Giraffes have been hitting the headlines this week after the IUCN report showing how they have declined in numbers in recent years. The report also shows that there are 24,000 species at risk of extinction in the world. Humans are driving this planet to destruction and without major changes we won’t be able to stop it. It’s not just the exotic species either, everyday we place pressure on an already strained system in the name of “economic growth”. It seems that have more and more money is the answer to everyone’s woes and yet it is the rich who seem to get richer and the poor, poorer. Poverty amongst working people is on the rise in the UK,  and our NHS and elderly social care systems are bordering on collapse. There are sections of society that are also likely to become extinct, the only difference here is it’s one species and eventually the issues will rise up the wealth ladder until poverty and related issues has a wider reach. We seem to have forgotten what is important to society as a whole. Maybe it’s because we don’t use some of those systems, for example most people hope that they will never need the NHS, but wouldn’t you want it to be there when you did? So doesn’t it matter that just because your not using it, it should still be in a good condition in case you do?


A Post A Day

I was going to start this next weekend, but I feel like starting now, so here goes…

I’m going to try and post something here everyday between now and the end of the year. After that I’ll see what happens. It might be something simple, like a photo I’ve taken that day or perhaps an old one; or it might be something else.

So to kick off, here’s a photo from nearly a year ago, in a garden centre car park, in Warwickshire – I was waiting in the car with the dogs, listening to a radio programme on the music from Star Wars movies.

Please feel free to share these posts on social media or comment below.


2016-05-21 13.47.07

On May 21st, I broke my watch. I caught the face against the corner edge of my desk as I was hoovering, although I didn’t hit it that hard, the angle of the impact was enough to smash the face. I’ve only worn a watch on one other occasion since (and then it took me several hours to notice that it was still running on GMT and not BST). The once white band on my wrist has pretty much disappeared and I’m not sure I notice that I don’t have a watch on. When someone stops and asks me for the time, I still go to look at my wrist before checking myself and getting my phone out of my pocket to check the time on that. This has pretty much been how I’ve kept track of time when I’ve needed to since, not that I’ve really felt the need beyond the basics of making sure I’m where I need to be, when I need to be there by.

This just reminds me how much my routine has changed in the last 12 months. I no longer have a regular alarm clock, instead preferring to run my day around what work I have on and other calls on my time. I still do use an alarm if I have a morning appointment and have to be somewhere at a particular time but otherwise I rise pretty consistently at the same time most days. Walk the dogs, visit the allotment with them if I need to – either to harvest food, or water the plants – and then start work. Work varies depending on how busy I am (not very at the moment), if there is no work for clients I’ll be working on something else, mostly my writing.

Stop with lunch with Ann, and catch up on any personal things and my Words with Friends games. Then depending on workload, carry on into the afternoon. I’ll take an afternoon walk with the dogs, normally this will be a longer walk and if I remember I’ll take my camera with me (I often forget, and use the one on my phone). I’ll then come back and finish any work that’s outstanding and then prepare supper.

We might watch a little TV in the evening, depending on what’s on, although with Wimbledon, Euro2016 and the Olympics, there has been an awful lot of sport on recently, and so we’ve been catching up on DVDs or things that have been recorded long ago and not watched, as we’re not great sports fans.

Then to bed and read. I do read at other times during the day depending on what else I’m doing and often if I’m travelling by train or bus (which I have done quite a bit of in the last few months). I also keep a handwritten journal, and will update that throughout the day if there are things to record – it’s mostly a nature / allotment journal, so I don’t write in it everyday.

Just over a year ago, my day was dictated much more by others. I think it requires more self-discipline now than before, but it does feel much more like my day.