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.

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.


An Englishman Planted Roses TWTW # 150

The clocks change this weekend. I have to say that I am looking forward to having lighter mornings again for a while, I find lighter mornings make so much more difference to me than having darker evenings. Of course role on Spring when the weather also improves more generally.

I’ve been busy with work this week, and I also had a visit with my Mum. She seems to be doing well, although only having such a short time with her each visit it’s difficult to say. I think maintaining the restrictions in care homes is the right thing to do, but I am surprised that where everywhere else the government seems to think Covid is over, including the NHS, it’s a little surprising that they also haven’t relaxed much more in this area. Perhaps they should be looking at those other areas and asking question about why numbers are so high?


Allotment

Not much to report this week, the weather has been pretty wet and so I haven’t had much chance to do anything of consequence on the plot. I have been enjoying some of our apples this week though. I deliberately left some of them on the tree to allow to ripen a bit more. The tree is a hybrid and so the earlier you pick (September) the more like a cooking apple they are and the longer you leave them (ideally into November) the more like an eater. I’ve never had any success leaving them into November, inevitably some strong winds come along and dislodge them onto the ground, but this year I picked them right at the end of this month and they’re pretty good.


Reading

I’ve mostly been reading Rebecca Solnit’s Orwell’s Roses this week. I’ve read a lot of different books about George Orwell (Eric Blair) but this one comes at it from a different angle in terms of his garden and love of nature. It looks at his homes in Wallington and on the Isle of Jura in particular and takes in some fairly wide ranging topics including workers rights, climate change and politics generally. It’s a nice interweaving of an aspect of Orwell that I’ve barely seen covered before.

I’m not quite sure how I’d rate it though. It was clearly written during the pandemic and I think as such some of the research for the book was cut a little short and I suspect the author had to deliver the book before she’d completed all the research that she would have liked.

I did enjoy it, just suspect there’s more to the story than she was able to tell.


Links

Revisiting the 4 Hour Work Week

The Magic of the Brush

Latest figures reveal how the pandemic shaped radio listening

The Craziest (but best) decision we’ve ever made


Well that’s it for this week, whatever you’re up to in the week ahead, 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.

The Ponds of Childhood TWTW # 148

This week has been focused around work. Client work, an evening and a Saturday workshop. I visited my Mum, dropped into the vets to pick some tablets up and went for a short walk around a pond. These are all the things I did in addition to the routine things.

I started writing this during a gap in my diary, and finished it on Sunday morning after I got back from the allotment.

During weeks like this routine is important to me. Whether it’s the time walking the dogs or stopping to cook dinner the rest of my day is built around those things. Or is it? Evening meetings can mean that dinner has to be earlier or later depending on the timings, but they’re still keystones in my day, even if the rest of it feels a bit like a treadmill.

I had to pick some pills up from the vets on Saturday afternoon. At the weekends only the main practice is open and not the satellite one that we normally visit. On the way back I took the opportunity to stop somewhere I’ve not been since I was a kid.

As a kid this was a popular spot that I used to go with my friends. Taken there by one of our parents we used to spend ages (or at least it felt like it to our young brains), messing about in boats – you could hire canoes or rowing boats – wandering around the pond or on the adjacent heathland, playing in the playground or eating ice cream.

I was pleased to see that not a lot has changed, you could still do all of the above things there to this day if you wanted to. After 40+ years there have been some improvements – there’s a proper cafe now instead of a window from a room between the toilets, and the range of watercraft has increased.

I didn’t indulge my inner child by going out in a boat, as I had one of the dogs with me, but we did enjoy a good walk around the pond. I was pleased to see it was quite busy, although I’m not sure with covid numbers on the rise again that this is necessarily a good thing.

My Mum used to take me here a lot during school holidays, I doubt she would remember that now. When I visited her this week, she wasn’t convinced that I was who I said I was. Partly due to having to wear a mask, but also I think due to her Alzheimer’s progressing a bit.


Reading

I read another Brother Cadfael this week – “The Heretic’s Apprentice” by Ellis Peters and then moved on to a Len Deighton – “Horse Under Water”. I enjoyed the former, although it felt like it was dragging a bit. After last weeks experience with reading Brothers In Arms by James Holland where I had no trouble reading late into the night, I’m not sure it’s all a function of how busy or tired I am. I was just as busy / tired last week as this but I struggled to stay awake reading Brother Cadfael’s adventures. I think it’s a function more of how engaging the material is rather than a physiological state in me.


Work

As mentioned above it’s been a busy week. I’ve been plugging away on some client work and starting to write up their final report. For another client I’ve been involved in preparing for and delivering some online workshops. One on Friday evening and the second on Saturday morning. Not my ideal choice, but also something that I’m used to doing as my allotment talks are often evening events. Work for this second client will probably drop off a bit for the time being while other things that I’m not involved in happen in the background.


Allotment

Because I had to work on Saturday morning I went to the allotment this morning (Sunday). I was there early, before it was properly light. I managed to get my garlic, onions and some broad beans in. I seem to have slightly underestimated the number of broad beans in the packet I bought (our allotment shop has stopped selling seeds, and they were my benchmark), so I think I’ll sow some more in the spring rather than get some more to plant now. There’s still time to do so, but I’ll be hedging my bets against a hard winter by splitting the sowing like this.


Links

The Daily Rituals and Routines of a Working Adventurer

Would you rather eat at the local kebab house or blow a small fortune with Salt Bae?

How to grow happy garlic


Well that’s all I have for this week. Next week is looking slightly quieter on the work front, but I still have a report to write and some information for it to chase.

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


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.


No Time To? TWTW # 146

The house has been noticeably chillier in the mornings this week, not to the point of needing to turn on the heating but just making a statement that the Summer nights are no longer with us and temperatures are dropping. It’s also been pretty wet and windy this week, more that once I’ve been caught in a sudden rain shower that has necessitated changing out of wet clothes upon arriving home.

It’s also been a little surreal to see this country descending into panic buying once again, when there really is no need. Last year it was toilet rolls, this year it’s road fuel. What’s next I wonder? It’s obvious how we ended up here, and it’s all self-inflicted. It’s scary how a few individuals can do so much damage in such a short space of time and somehow still manage to be in positions of authority.


Reading

I’ve read The Cook of the Halcyon by Andrea Camilleri this week. It’s the penultimate Inspector Montalbano novel. The last in the series – the author died in 2019 – is out (in English) later this month, although early reviews are not so good. This one however was good, very funny in places and with a very timely quote quite close to the beginning which I’ll share:

It is said that man, in a democracy, is free. Really? But what if the car won’t start, the phone doesn’t work, the power is out, there’s no water or gas, and the computer, television, and fridge refuse to function? It is probably better still to say that, yes, man is free, but it is a conditional freedom, dependent upon the whims of objects he can no longer live without.

Andrea Camilleri – The Cook of the Halcyon

Not sure what’s up next, as in previous weeks Derek Jarman’s garden is still drawing me in and by coincidence I came across this article online about the very same this week.


TV & Film

We finished watching the BBC series Vigil this week and would probably have binged-watched it, if it hadn’t been restricted to one new episode a week. I wonder what makes the decision as to whether something is going to be released all in one go or spaced out over a period of time? Another one is the Apple TV adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, we’ve been watching this too because I still have some time remaining on a complimentary subscription to this service. I’m not sure that I would pay for it though.

The new Bond Movie is out now. No Time To Die is the last Daniel Craig Bond and the first Bond film that I won’t be watching in the cinema since Moonraker. With Covid still very much around I really don’t feel safe. I suspect the risk is relatively low if I follow my normal pattern of going when it’s been out for a few weeks and picking a time when not many people will also be going but even so I don’t think I’d enjoy the film because I’d be worrying about other people in the auditorium. I read this article in the Guardian and that analysis backs up my thinking on the risk but I want to enjoy the film so I’ll wait for the DVD release I think.

I also like the look of the premise behind the new Ghostbusters movie, I hope they can pull it off.


Allotment

I’ve been rained off of the allotment today, there might be an opportunity to make it down there tomorrow. Like the seasons, work here shifts to those tasks that are now really about making the plot ready for the next set of crops and for warmer weather to come.


Work

Busy, busy, busy, this week. I’ve been asked to do some new work for a client, which is going to pretty much fill up the next couple of weeks, and hopefully there will be some follow-up to that which will go into the New Year.


Well that’s about all I have for this week. There’s not much to report from me for the week ahead, I’ll mostly be doing work stuff.
Whatever you’re planning on doing, stay safe and take care.


Grindstone Cowboy TWTW # 145

As I sit down to write this post I see that my notebook is a little empty of things to talk about this week. I curate a list during the week, of things I should include in these posts. When something happens I’ll add it to the list. This week that list is blank. Not because nothing has happened, on the contrary I’ve had quite a busy week, but because a symptom of that busyness is not having the time to add things to it.


Work

This is what has kept me busiest this week, I’ve been making progress with client work. Doing quite a bit of research and creating models and calculations to look at a variety of different scenarios for that client to help them with their planning for reaching net-zero.

Out of the blue I also had a separate approach from another client for some further work. We’re talking this coming week to discuss but it’s an another old project coming back around again, partly due to the pandemic pushing it into the long grass for a while.


Reading

I finished London Match by Len Deighton and am still visiting Derek Jarman’s Dungeness garden via the pages of his diary each day. I don’t read much of this each time but I do enjoy reading other peoples journals and diaries. I have several in my ‘to be read’ pile and it’s interesting that each one is a slightly different style or approach to what they recorded, or felt was worth recording about themselves and what happened to them.

I also dipped into The Collected Adventures of David Cranmer’s “Drifter Detective”, there’s a review here, and I’m looking forward to reading some more in the coming days.


Allotment

A lot of weeding this week. I’ve cleared enough space for over-wintering things and most of those have now arrived from various seed suppliers. It’s still a little early to be planting and sowing, but time passes so quickly that it won’t be long. I’ve harvested about half of my apples. The variety is a hybrid and the earlier you harvest e.g. in September the closer they are to a cooking apple, the longer they stay on the tree e.g. October / November the closer they are to an eating apple. So I’ve left about half, mostly the smaller ones on the tree in the hope that it doesn’t get too windy or cold and that I can have some eating apples in another month or so.


I visited my Mum this week for her birthday. Covid restrictions mean that there are still some limitations, and we had about an hour together, but with her Alzheimer’s the way it is that is probably about the right length of time. She was in good spirits, although the fact it was her birthday had passed her by until I showed up. We both have milestone birthdays next year and she was talking about having a party. Who knows if that will be possible but it was a nice thought. Not sure I’m up for a milestone birthday or a party to be honest but who knows.


I recorded some audio on one of my dog walks this week, it’s about half an hour of me rambling on about all sorts of things. I posted it earlier in the week, but if you’d like to listen and haven’t already I’ll embed it again here:


There are no links this week – mostly because all of the things I’ve been looking at have been work related and probably not all that interesting unless you’re into carbon reduction. The week ahead is looking similar to the one just gone, with a catch-up visit to the vet but otherwise it’s going to be head down.

Whatever you’re up to take care and stay safe!


A Work Production TWTW # 144

It’s been a busy week, but busy is good. Mostly I’ve been at home in front of the computer, with trips out to walk the dogs or to go to the allotment and I’ve been pretty productive and got a lot done. I like weeks like this but they can be quite exhausting by the time the weekend arrives.


Work

I’ve started a new piece of client work this week. This has meant a lot of time researching and tracking down data and then starting to develop a spreadsheet to manage the data. Neither the client or I had a clear idea what the final output was going to look like, but I think now I’ve had a couple of days on this I can see what it might look like. There’s still much to do, but it’s good to be working on something.


Allotment

I’m getting the plot ready for the over-wintering onions and broad beans. It’s going to be a few more weeks before they need to go in. Put them in too early and they get too big and are at potential risk of being damaged even in a mild winter. Too late and they don’t germinate or start to grow in time and become big enough. Normally this window is around the end of October / early November.

The plot is still producing a good amount of French climbing beans, although I am now leaving some so that I can save some seed, and squashes and courgettes. I suspect the latter will not last much longer as overnight temperatures start to drop. It also looks like we’ll have some Brussels sprouts for Christmas.


Reading

I’m still reading about Derek Jarman’s garden but have also started on London Match by Len Deighton. I find engaging with fiction far easier than non-fiction when I have a lot of work on, maybe because it doesn’t require me to think quite as much.


Links

RIP Sir Clive Sinclair

Pharmaceutical companies should pay for raiding nature’s medicine cabinet – The Lancet

The Last Word on Nothing – Homeward Bound

Sean of the South – Thank You


The week ahead is looking like being fairly similar, it’s also my Mum’s birthday, so I’ll be visiting her on the day. I wonder if she’ll remember that it is her birthday. Last year her care home was in lockdown on her birthday and I wasn’t able to visit so I don’t know how she was and when I rang to wish her a Happy Birthday, she seemed a little vague. We’ll see on the day.

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



Twenty Years TWTW # 143

Twenty years ago today I was working an early shift covering a colleague while he was on holiday. It meant I was in the car driving to work just as Radio 4 was taking over from the World Service on the radio. I was still trying to absorb what had happened the day before. Although we used to have a radio on as background in the harbour office where I was working at the time, I’d been out on the patrol boat as news had started to filter in as to what was happening in New York. At first they made it sound like it was a small light plane, a Cessna or similar that had hit the North Tower. When the news arrived of a second plane it became clearer that this was something more sinister.

By the time I reached home after my shift the horror of what had happened was becoming apparent and the world changed forever.


We’re back “home” again after our brief stay elsewhere. It’s interesting that while we were away my sleep patterns were much better, despite a slightly lumpy bed. I’m not sure whether it was because of all of the extra exercise I was getting or the overall quieter and darker place, here it is all streetlights, traffic and people. It’s certainly made us think and reconsider our surroundings and what we need from life.


Reading

I don’t feel like I’ve had much time for reading since we got back either, nor have I been able to keep my eyes open for long enough of an evening to read more than a page or two. How can I be so tired and yet sleep so badly?

Anyway when I have been reading I’ve been picking up Derek Jarman’s diaries of his time living in a little cottage at Dungeness. The cottage is famous for the garden that Jarman created before he died.

I haven’t read very far yet, but it’s clear from the words that Jarman was very much a creative.

Also if you’re looking for something good to read, can I recommend checking out the Drifter Detective series, now available in this collection:


Allotment

I’ve been getting a piece of the plot ready for sowing overwintering broad beans. Our allotment shop under it’s new management has declared that it is not doing seeds this year (or onion sets or seed potatoes), so I will have to buy them elsewhere. I won’t go into how this rather pathetic state of affairs has arisen but one of the strengths that I saw in our little shop was the fact that it sold seeds etc. Now it just seems to sell bags of compost and only on a Sunday.

My apples are now mostly ripe and I’ll be picking them all over the next week. I sampled a few yesterday and along with some of the autumn fruiting raspberries made a rather spectacular apple and raspberry strudel. My god it was good, even if it did look a bit like a Hannibal Lecter recipe.


Work

A purchase order arrived from a client for the piece of work we’ve been discussing, work commences tomorrow. I’ve been doing some prep work this week – timesheet templates and other admin stuff. I’m quite looking forward to it because it’s also quite an interesting piece.


Links

Memorializing Animals Who’ve Been Killed on the Road

Dear Sean – Should I get a dog?

Twelve More White-tailed Eagles released on the Isle of Wight

Oxfordshire celebrates first Crane fledging in 500 years


Well that’s everything for this week. Next week I’ll be doing quite a bit of paid work, interspersed with some gardening and allotment work if the weather holds. I also hope to receive a roll of film back from the processors that I took partly while we were away. The first half I took some time ago and although I think I know what’s on there I’m not 100% sure, so that should be a bit of a surprise.

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