The Lawn


leaf surrounds shed

Sat in a leaf surrounded shed. You will rightly be thinking that surrounding a shed with a leaf sounds implausible and you would of course be right. We are talking more than one leaf here. Leaves. Thousands of the buggers. The cedar shed blends nicely with the leaves. It was meant to be.



A time of change. Turning over an old leaf.


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There is something mischievous about downing tools to go and play golf. A sense of rebellion. When you should be hard at work you are not. In fact I’m played out with work today. Music streams in the shed. There is a clarinet there somewhere.

A chainsaw disturbs the peace.  I thought next door had finished sorting out the trees. Now it has stopped. The silence without it sounds loud.


Westminster Abbey and the Anglo Boer Wars

Went to bed early to read my latest acquisition: Westminster Abbey and the Anglo Boer Wars by Hannah’s boyf George. It’s a good read. Not to everyone’s taste but I like this sort of thing. The upshot of the early night is of course early up. This is not a bad thing although nicer in summer than at this time of year where it is dark.

This morning I am sat in the library, the erstwhile TV room. It still has a TV but it typically only gets used to watch University Challenge on a Monday night. The room has more books than TVs so calling it the library makes sense to me.

The conservatory became the orangery over the summer because it contained a miniature orange tree. This is now outside and I’m not sure it will survive due to a distinct lack of watering whilst indoors but we shall see. The oranges, which were mini ones and very bitter, have all dropped off. The orangery does still have a lemon tree in it with one emerging fruit. I doubt it will reach it’s natural life goal of being the garnish for a gin and tonic. Only time will tell.


The calm before the jobslist storm.

It is 11am. I’ve had breakfast, spoken to me dad, read a bit, chopped back some bamboo and mended the drain pipe going into one of the waterbuts by chopping a new bit of pipe to replace the old one that has dropped into the but. 

It is now time to take stock of the day ahead. My primary objective today, one that I have chosen to accept, is to make another planter to accompany the other one I made a couple of weeks ago that is now painted and in place under the kitchen window. Before I can start this activity I need to await instructions as to the required dimensions. This is a convenient halt in proceedings as she who determines such things is out at the moment. An unilateral decision regarding this would be too high risk.

I may at the same time as building the planter get out the chainsaw as the bamboo needs some additional aggressive trimming. There are also more apples to pick. One final job could be to build an enclosure for my outside temperature sensor. Otherwise known as a Stevenson screen I have decided it is going to be a lot easier to make this out of some cedar remnants than to do a full blown job with slats. It will be good enough. I can just drill lots of holes in it and it will blend in nicely with the cedar wood sides of the shed. 

I’m also thinking maybe a bit of a run later this pm. Not been for ages. This isn’t to say I have not been exercising. I’m getting 5 or so swims in a week. The pool is looking relatively busy this pm so figured would be ok to pass. The weekends tend naturally to attract more people but also people who don’t have the same intent as me. In other words they quite often stop and clog up an end whilst resting between lengths. This can break my rhythm. During the week it is not unknown to end up with only me and one other person in a lane which is clearly preferable to a crowd.

Dinner tonight is already sorted. We have defrosted a beef casserole wot I made earlier and which will be completely satisfactory. Might even stretch to a bit of smoked salmon as a starter innit.

Finally this is my first post since February I’ve posted a lot of stuff on Facebook and some on and figured I’d move on from philosopherontap. I’ve changed my mind innit.

I have also changed the theme to the basic “classic” wordpress theme. Will leave like this for a while pending deciding what to do themewise. I really liked the old theme but it’s been there for some years now and it doesn’t do any harm to move on. Featured image is a screenshot of the last moments of the old theme.


PS I need to get rid of that RSS subscribe feed text somehow. It is not immediately obvious which plugin is generating it

PPS need to work on how to get images sharper!


5th Feb 2020

This morning I have a clear head and am feeling relaxed. Woke up naturally at around 06.30, had a cup of tea and then a shower and we ambled over to the terminal to check in. This was easy although came with the news that I was going to be subjected to an additional (SSSS) search at the gate. Ah well.

We are travelling in first class today so were quickly through security – there are more security people than passengers. At the Concorde Lounge we dropped off our coats and carry on luggage and went for a very pleasant breakfast. I had California Eggs Benedict with a side of bacon and Anne had porridge. The coffee was good. The champagne has been resisted as we have a long flight ahead of us with lots of champagne and other goodies. 

This easy start to the day is the cause of my relaxed state and if you can do it is really the only way to fly. We have another 30 mins until we need to head to the gate – slightly earlier than normal to allow for the SSSS (Strip Search and other Such Stuff?).


blurred vision

I can see but not clearly. Outlines are not sharp. The low sun shines through the window as steam from a pan rises. A form in the shape of Anne moves around the kitchen in front of me, tidying up after breakfast. Classic FM relaxes in the corner. On the table is a fresh cup of tea, a green vase like object holding some cutlery, and a jug of water. The writing on the page is unreadable unless I screw my eyes up or move nearer. The butchers block in the middle of the kitchen has a metallic bowl on it. I am ignorant of its contents.

Although in one sense by not wearing my specs I am removing myself from reality I think I prefer clarity. I have put them back on. Anne is squeezing oranges.


The bliss of waking up in your own home.

I got up and made the tea this morning. We weren’t sure whose turn it was as I’ve been away all week so I did it. When I’m away we both suffer from not having a cup of tea in bed in the morning. Really part of the ritual is the fact that you are making the tea for your partner rather than for your own consumption. So we both go without.

Breakfast was a simple toasted bacon sandwich with a glass of milk and a cup of black coffee to finish off. I didn’t actually eat much breakfast whilst I was away. Where I stay in Brussels the breakfast isn’t worth the effort and in London a bowl of cereal sufficed as it had been a late (and great) dinner at the Ritz the previous evening so the body resisted much in the way of food intake.

There are jobs to be done today but a gentle start is called for.


Eurostar boredom

My Bose phones are nestled snugly over my ears and I’m flying with Frank to somewhere exotic. I hear the murmur of other passengers but no detail. I don’t want to know what they are saying. I am in a single seat as opposed to my preferred table. I am also at the opposite end of the train to what I requested. This is what happens when you let a travel agent book you a ticket. Actually it’s what it is like when you let the office manager book you a ticket via a travel agent. I gave specific instructions as to where I wanted to sit (ie at the front of the train) and I am not there (ie at the back of the train).I don’t really mind but little things like this are learnt from many years of travelling for business. Sitting at the front of the train means it is quicker to get out of the station at the other end. Not a biggie. Just a little tip learnt. I don’t normally let someone else book my travel and won’t bother again. If someone doesn’t travel much (eg a travel agent!) or isn’t a native English speaker (French) and misinterprets my written instructions, didn’t read them or they weren’t forwarded they probably don’t understand the significance. It is like knowing which end of the platform to stand on the London Underground system because when you get off the train you will be near the exit. Ah well.Thus far I have managed to negotiate my first business trip of the year without consuming any of the free alcohol in the lounge. So far so good then. I did have some nibbles but that is of secondary relevance. The fact that I was able to use the lounge was a bit of a surprise. I’m travelling Premium Economy not Business Class and I was expecting my Carte Blanch status with Club Eurostar to have expired. Maybe they are giving me until the end of the month or lulling me into a false sense of security. Or something else. Anyway I’m glad I still have that status for now. It saves a lot of time at check in (fast track) and gets me into the lounge (comfort/phone charging/free drinks). The nibbles are rubbish and they don’t have diet mixers but ah well.The Eurostar trip to Brussels is quite boring. There is next to no connectivity. It’s worse than that. The connectivity that exists is so slow that whilst you still try to connect it hearkens back to the old dial up days where you would have to go away and make a cup of tea or simlar whilst your 5MB file was downloading.So on this train I have buried myself in my offline laptop and am listening to music also offline. Hooray for Spotify Premium. I do have some TV programmes downloaded to iPlayer. Problem is I probably wouldn’t normally watch them so it is something akin to desperate stakes if I opt to watch them whilst travelling. My next, difficult, decision will come when they start serving the meal. The meal on Eurostar isn’t worth having but it is something that alleviates the boredom. I might have a glass of red wine with something. Don’t want top spoil my appetite for later. Am thinking maybe steak frites around the corner from the hotel. Maybs. See how it goes.Brussels itself i quite a cool spot. Plenty of places to go out in the evening. You do have to get used to the fact that the weakest beer is 5% (Stella) so you have to adjust your drinking patterns (ish).I succumbed btw to the meal. It isn’t particularly substantial so shouldn’t spoil dinner later. Still listening to Frank. Had to forward through some of the tracks. Frank’s big hits are fantastic but he recorded a lot of stuff and some of them are a bit bland.In castigating the boring nature of the Eurostar ride to Brussels I am reminded that it is no different in journey length to theLincoln to London train. The journey from home ot Brussels takes around 6 hours. This is because I leave the house 30 mins before the train goes, just to be on the safe side, and I usually have a 90 minute layover in London. Any shorter is risking it – the East Coast main line is not the most reliable.The staff are very god on this train. Extra wine being delivered without question. My attempts to live a quiet life are hampered by this travel lark. I will pretty much be away for all of February. That is a challenge. The problem is (problem?!) we are off to San Francisco on 5th Feb, travelling 1st Class BA (thanks BA AMEX Avios). There is no way I am going to fly BA 1st Class drinking mineral water and eating salad. Knowworramean? The champagne is £120 a bottle for a start. Retail.We arrive some time before the main party (NANOG). We are therefore staying in a different hotel on our own dollar (Fairmont Nob Hill versus a generic Hilton somewhere in the Financial District) for a couple of nights. I am not going to drink mineral water and eat salad at the Tonga Room in the Fairmont. Innit, etc. Thats life, somehow, Jim, as we know it.Weare through the Channel Tunnel. It looks cold out there. This I was expecting and have planned for. I have layers. I like the cold provided I am suitably attired. Today I am wearing a cotton tshirt, Fatface cotton top (it has a name but can’t remember what – something rugged), a Harris tweed jacket and my Irish tweek pea jacket. Unsurprisingly wearing this combination of natural fibres. I m very fond of my Harris Tweed sports jacket and my tweed pea jacket. V cool as far as I am concerned. Outside the train the mist is settling over the first world war battlefields. I think that’s our general location. Different times. As I race by on the tain it seems surreal to think that within my grandmother’s lifetime men were in trenches up to their knees in mud in atrocious conditions with someone trying to bomb the hell out of them. I am not born, am I?I’ve moved on to my spotify fave playlist, known as tref’s faves. Not much, if anything after the 1980s. That’s my era.Being a Brussels bound train this carriage is very much filled with suits I can’t understand the genre myself. The desire to fit in and not stand out. Total opposite to my own philosophy. I guess its is a need thing. People need jobs and don’t want to rock the boat, or the casbah! Rock that casbah I say.The only people I have spoken to on this train are the staff. I guess that’s normal.


random shopping list

Idea – random shopping list button. You have your usual list stored with the relevant shop but also a random button that selects something you don’t find out about until the shopping is delivered.


bright and cold Sunday

Hello to a bright and cold Sunday. The phone tells me it is minus one outside. This I approve. The lawn is speckled with frost. The sun is low in the January early morning sky and has yet to make an impact.

It isn’t really early morning. 08.45 is middle of the morning for some but it is the Sabbath and therefore an allowable late start. Unless you are up early to set out the challices and prayer books or whatever they do in establishments where the Sabbath has relevance other than a lazy start to the day.

An imposing kettle shouts for attention. The sound of slippered footsteps across the kitchen floor. Rustling of packaging heralds a hot drink. I see books, in wall wires, gadgets and some papers that have been put in a pile for sorting.

Breakfast is over and a steaming espresso sits on the table in front of me. Good taste. 

Elsewhere sneezing and a hairdryer.

The clock ticks.


That relaxed Friday feeling

Feeling quite relaxed. Pink Floyd playing in the shed. Productive enough morning, ish. Have moved some things on anyway.

It is Friday. There is no real significance to this other than it is a man made point in time that some favour as the last day of their working week. It would be quite interesting to remove the relevance of Friday. Every day would be much of a muchness. You might decide to do some work but there again you might not. Bit of golf maybe or mow that lawn? I am working, although clearly I have taken five minutes to share this thought. 

I have some important decisions of the age bouncing around inside my head. Do I Briwax the shelving or leave them untreated. I  like the idea of Briwax although it would involve some disruption and effort on my part. There is no hurry to make this decision. The shelves can’t be unwaxed once done so lets get it right. I also need to get my desk and the corner table built.

I sense these will be springtime activities as I am away for much of the next six weeks. I do need to consider when I will need to plant my vegetables for the growing season ahead. I suspect March will be ok for it but better safe than sorry. Also need to nail what goes into the ground (so to speak) although it is mostly known. This year I have the excitement of the raised beds to consider as well as the greenhouse, which will be televised. There can be nothing more stimulating than watching tomatoes grow and noting the machine generated interval of the automatic solar powered irrigation system.

My weekend jobs will include cleaning the greenhouse glass and emptying and cleaning the water butts as well as completing the wiring and CCTV camera installation of the greenhouse inside and out.

Before then there is much to do and for now I must leave you 😉


Weatherwise it’s not a lovely day

Weatherwise it’s not a lovely day. It is in fact a non day for weather. There is  a breeze and I think rain might be forecast although I haven’t looked at the official forecast and didn’t take any notice of it at the end of the news. There is a storm a blowing in some parts of the country. Batten down dem hatches, people of the West.

I’m off the the metropolis today for a couple. Lonap AGM followed by UKNOF. Always good and interesting days fair play. Currently sat in the shed charging my laptop. I used to have two chargers so I could keep one in the house and one in the shed but one was purloined by an offspring without asking as he had mislaid his.

It is quiet in the shed. A wonderful place to exist. I am thinking of creating bookbinding corner. There is an ideal space to the left of the TV between the sliding doors and the window that looks out on the greenhouse. Bookbinding is something I’ve been thinking of taking up for a few years. I quite fancy writing the book and then binding it myself. Not a mass market obvs. 

Stay tuned on that one. It’s a long term project. I will need to go on a course as my knowledge level of bookbinding is based on seeing a historical programme once on TV a few years ago. I want to bind historic books, or the books that I bind will be historic. Something like that.

All packed for London anyway. Ish. Nothing has actually been packed but it is all ready to shove in my laptop bag once I retrieve it from the shed. Also being retrieved is a hessian bag for life which is being used to transport various items left in the house from time to time by London based offspring. Parental postal service. Delivery also includes breakfast. Sokay. Sgood.

My train, one of the few direct ones from Lincoln to London, departs at 11.27 and I will be leaving the house at 11am or so in order to be there in plenty of time. Cutting it fine for trains and plains (as opposed to tranes and planes) is not good for the heart and you never know what traffic issues might arise en route. Even though it’s only about a mile and a half and easily walkable.