Archive for January, 2022

snow use

Sunday, January 30th, 2022

The hour is early and darkness prevails. I slept well and have repaired downstairs in readiness to take up the tea. 

It is Sunday 30th January in the year 2022 of the Common Era. The first winter month of the new year is behind us and we begin to look forward to the coming of the growing season. The first onions are in the raised beds and we will very soon need to plant the chilli peppers in the house.

Although the snows have stayed away there is time yet for nature’s wand to cast an icy blanket over the land. Storm Malik has been wreaking his vengeance in the North of the country and Storm Corrie is on her way. I thought they named storms in alphabetical order but clearly not. 

I am excited at the prospect that 2022 brings. It feels as if we will have a general reawakening from the long covid induced hibernation. Certainly this is everyone’s hope although our approach here in the UK seems to be very different to mainland Europe where they were daft enough to follow scientific advice. Here in the UK they only do this when it suits them politically and find behind such advice a convenient place to hide.

Our February trip to Belgium and the Netherlands hangs in the balance due to the fierce travel entry regulations laid down by both Belgian and Dutch governments. Ironically as it stands I will still be able to go to Brussels for a couple of days as the rules there say that I don’t need to test or quarantine if staying for less than 48 hours which could be the case.

Our extended trip taking in Antwerpen and Amsterdam would mean testing and quarantining in both Belgium and The Netherlands which is too much of a ball ache. The bars and restaurants in Amsterdam are just reopening which is one of the prerequisites for staying the night. If they don’t open then we would be confined to our hotel restaurant which is a Michelin 2 star job which believe it or not is too fancy for my liking. 

Otherwise, and because the Dutch allow you a 12 hour transit without test and quarantine, we would stay an additional night in Antwerp and head directly for Schipol and home. Will find out soon enough. The trip is planned for the week of 14th February and the schedule can be changed at the last minute.

The day in prospect is itself full of constructive promise. The curtain rail in our bedroom needs putting back, nay will be put back and the door furniture on one of the kitchen doors has been removed to allow completion of the paint job. Up goes one thing and off comes another. As the actress said to the bishop.

when windows glaze

Saturday, January 29th, 2022

A leisurely start to the day that was kicked off by giving a saxophonist a lift to the stayshun. Without the sax I should point out. He doesn’t take it everywhere. That would be most inconvenient. For one it would be very easy to accidentally leave said sax in a cafe or other such calling point that fill a Saturday. Presumably.

I have a track record of leaving things places. Typically hats in taxis. In fact mostly hats, in taxis. We were on holiday with friends in 2020 and he left his wallet and passport in the hotel safe. This was only discovered when we were a ninety minute drive away. He might be reading this 🙂

The harmony in our house is at present somewhat discordant as yesterday the men came to start the process of window replacement. Sofas have been pulled away from the windows and have curtains draped across them, pun intended. In consequence there are fewer places to sit. I have managed to find somewhere dinnae fret.

Sitting as I am in the curtainless living room it is only in their naked state that the size of the windows becomes apparent. The existing, solidly built window frames must weigh quite a bit. One of the jobs we had to get done was to insert a lintel above the big living room window. When our house was built in 1939 they didn’t bother with lintels because the window frames were solid enough to take the weight of the bricks above. 

With the new plastic windows this is not the case. The new windows do come with benefits that we took into consideration when deciding to spend the kids’ inheritance. The noise levels are already discernibly down in our bedroom which was the first to be done. Never again will I need to employ a decorator to periodically apply paint to the window frames. No doubt when finished the new windows will also do a better job of keeping the heat in than the (nice) old leaded single glazed 1930s originals.

We wave goodbye with fondness to the old but look forward to the new. Entropy changes and the world moves on.

I’ve  been busy. Sanded down the tray that sits on top of Anne’s sewing box but which struggled to fit after it was painted. Took me ages and in the end had to dig out the orbital sander. Sorted now though which is good. Went through the box of old cables and chucked most of em. 

Finally lifted some beans and leeks for moving elsewhere and spread a bag of Mr Muck’s finest horse manure compost over the raised bed in readiness for the onions to go in tomorrow. Was going to do it this pm but it’s bloomin cold out so delayed until tomorrow but now had second thoughts and the onions are in. Got loads spare and will have a think where I can put them.

Also stuck some maps up in the shed including a reproduction 1st edition OS map of Lincoln and its surroundings for £2.50 inc p&p purchaysed from a kind soul on Facebook. There is also a map of Ireland picked up with a car hire sometime wayback when and the Scottish half of the map of Caravan and Motorhome Club sites. Finally a poster of Hornby model engines and a piece of correx from last year’s cancelled Beyond The Woods fest. All made possible having shifted a load of plastic storage containers to the store room in the house.

I have got an interesting Domesday map of Lincolnshire but it comes with the limited edition three volume set of the Lincolnshire bit of the Domesday book and I’ve decided to keep that in its box with the books.

There are a number of framed pictures and cigarette card collections that need to go up in the shed but the issue is weight. I don’t want to drill holes into the plasterboard and command hooks aren’t strong enough.

lie in or what?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Feeling very refreshed this morning. Woke up at 07.30ish. Not totes sure as our clock gains a minute a month and I not only have to make the mental adjustment every time I look at it but also have to occasionally recalibrate the discrepancy. We often take the faster time as read. No harm in it.

Anyway I lay in bed thinking was it really 07.30 or was it 01.30 – another issue with this clock is a fault with the LEDs that make the 1 sometimes look like a 7. I’ve mentioned all this before. Just not got around to sorting it. It felt like 07.30. There was traffic noise outside.

I went to the bathroom and checked the clock on the central heating controller. Blow me down. 07.30 it was! Dawn had crept in to the back garden and was waving her magic wand with diffused light accessory over our world.

I went back to bed only to be told it was my turn to make the tea. Sorted in the boil of an unwatched kettle.

Now I’m in the shed, invigorated by half an avocado on sourdough toast with walnuts, chopped red chilli, cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of Belazu aged balsamic vinegar. If you’ve never tried the Belazu you don’t know what you are missing. Expensive but worth every penny.

That spelling of the word invigorated doesn’t look right btw. Looks Americun. Feels as if it should read invigourated but it is clearly right.

Started sorting some Anne’s Vans stuff yesterday. Bookings are coming along nicely. This year I will have time to put some order into the business, not that it was hugely disordered previously especially since we put the new booking system in. Used to do it via spreadsheet. I still use the spreadsheet but it is more an at a glance management tool as opposed to critical ecommerce infrastructure, if you get my drift.

As we take on more vans, we will have four for the 2022 season, it is important to have order. We have even curtailed the number of holidays we are taking over the summer although there is vacation creep involved here. 

In June we have the TT Week campervan trip to the IoM that has been delayed two years running. This Is likely to be followed by a few days in Finland. Not in a campervan. It would be impractical plus we need to be hiring them out at that time of year not using them ourselves.

Also this is a big year for birthdays with many of our peers hitting the oh no six oh. Mine was last year as you may recall. The point is that people organise parties when hitting sixty and we already have some hotel bookings in the diary. The temptation is to add a few days here and there. I think we will let the situation on the campervan ground drive this nearer the time.

under control ish

Monday, January 24th, 2022

Everything seems to be under control ish. I do tend to wake up at around 2am but the sleep after that is usually deep and refreshing. 

Had a very busy weekend shifting and tidying. Our old converted garage which was built in 1939 and was only wide enough to take a car from that era has long since been turned into a store room. For historical reasons we call it the play room but it was rarely used as such other than perhaps for playing darts and is now a dumping ground. It is only single brick and not really usable for habitable purposes anyway.

So now it has been cleared out, tidied and has all the Beyond The Woods festival plastic boxes from the shed. When I built the shed the idea was that it would serve as a multipurpose facility that included being an office for the festival. It still is this but the storage boxes are better off in the play room leaving me with a large space to do something with andan expanse of wall that is screaming out for pictures, maps and other interesting things I deem suitable for hanging in the shed.

I still need to sort the garage out but the attic has mostly been done. I rarely go into the attic. It is used as a recording studio. A trip to the Lincoln recycling centre (ie tip) is in the offing.

In other news I’ve unplugged the landline. I rarely use it anyway. It’s purpose is solely for calling the bank or companies known to have a long wait. BA for example. Also the display is a source of light pollution overnight. It’s one of the few things visible in the shed from the house after dark. I’ve taken to switching off my monitors. I can’t see the switch and Raspberry Pi from the house so they are ok.

I pay £3 a month for the line. It’s for sentimental reasons really just to keep the number. It isn’t a landline as such. It’s a voip line and the yealink phone sits on the shed LAN powered by Ethernet.

eternal silence

Saturday, January 22nd, 2022

the kettle

Friday, January 21st, 2022

It is not yet time to boil the kettle. Funny to think that this ritual goes on all around the world in a certain time window, in my case around 6.30am but anything between this time and 8am ish. You can imagine plotting the rise in energy consumption moving around the globe as the world wakes up and sticks the kettle on.

I was careful to use the word energy there instead of electricity as some people may use gas and potentially even wood fire. Those of a wood fire bent will likely take a lot longer. Having the embers hot from last night will help, obvs.

That’s something I quite like doing, lighting the fire from the previous day’s embers without resorting to the use of a match. Doesn’t happen very often as we rarely have a fire going. It is the weekend. I might treat us. I have to nip out today to deposit a cheque in the bank as it is too large to do using the app and could use the opportunity to buy some fuel. 

We have got a massive pile of wood at the bottom of the garden but it needs cutting up. Old bits of fence, chairs, stuff like that. Really best suited to kindling and the intermediate sized wood stage rather than the main log burning activity of the fire. When I say throw another chair leg on the fire I really do mean it 🙂

Might get the chainsaw out later, if I can get anywhere near it past all the gardening bits – bamboo canes, piled up plant pots etc. Don’t worry I’ve got all the gear although it is a bit of a rigmarole putting it all on. Needs must. No steel toe cap boots though.

In other news I was just checking the rules for entering Belgium. We are notionally off there on February 14th. They still need you to do a PCR test and quarantine until you get the result. As far as I can see. You need a degree in covid travel to work it out. All I want is for someone to say “do this Tref”. There is a scenario where we don’t bother going but there are three weeks yet. Hotels are all cancellable and return flights from Schipol. Not sure about the Eurostar. I’m not particularly impressed with Eurostar as an entity.

Gotta go. The watched kettle never boils but it has absolutely no hope of doing so if you don’t fill it up and switch it on…

early thoughts

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

Thought for the Day came on 4 mins early today on Radio 4 and completely threw our schedule. In consequence everything is 4 mins ahead of plan this morning. How am I going to cope with the opportunity to increase productivity? The thought itself did not register. The purpose of the thought for the day slot is I assume to prompt those who are still in bed to remove themselves from its comfortable attractions, swing out the legs and get on with the order of the day.

As you might therefore imagine I have  made it to the shed earlier than normal, not that there is a normal. For the record it is a fine frosty morning. Crisp enough for the proclamation of joyous existence.

There is not an order of the day per se. I have one 30 minute meeting at 10am and am otherwise progressing activities across a wide front. This includes a walk to the Arboretum with John writing some Anne’s Vans copy and converting a pile of paperwork overflowing from my “filing” tray for electronic storage using the marvellous ScanSnap machine.

I also need to plan the attack on my waistline. Part of throttling back from full time employment is to exercise more and lose weight. This is relatively straightforward when at home in Lincoln but a lot harder when travelling. It isn’t the travelling bit that makes it difficult it’s the what I’m doing when I get there.

I have two experiences to relate. The first is that I once did the Atkins diet whilst away for two weeks on business. The diet worked. I lost a stone and a half but was constantly thirsty and it didn’t feel right.

Then one year I did sober October with Steve Wildman and Rob Vashak. I had no problem with laying off the booze for the month. The issue was the boredom experienced when in Amsterdam at the RIPE conference for a week and then a separate week in Brussels. They were long days and in the evening everyone would go out on the lash whilst I consumed gallons of mineral water.

It was v boring and I determined afterwards that a wholly sober October was not for me unless I was spending the whole month at home.

Now I have a fairly active few weeks ahead. Somehow the word is back in travel mode and I have a number of trips planned. These include dinner in London on 27th Jan and 9th Feb, Brussels on 14th and 15th Feb, Antwerp on 16th Feb and Amsterdam on 17th. This is closely followed by London again on 8th and 9th March.

I’m just going to have to try and strike a balance innit. I am looking at the keto diet for a short time as some pals are doing it. It is the Atkins diet really although I guess it will have moved on in that some green veg is included. See how it goes. I might keep you posted, might not. See how I feel 🙂

In the shed I am insulated from the world. Inside is at a comfortable working temperature but I can see the frost on the lawn clearly suggesting otherwise out there. More than half the lawn facing side of the shed is north facing window and door. In that respect it would be a good artist’s studio. I view it as a multipurpose space and the fact that I have not yet produced any painting is neither here nor there. No sculptures either.

Walked into town with the lad for a few games of pool at the Cube & Cue this morning. It used to be called Riley’s. I am a member. I was also a member at Rileys. I joined in between lockdowns to play snooker. I played once then it closed and phoenixed under the new name. I joined again. Only cost a fiver. So I am a member of a snooker club. We had a good time. Played 7 games in an hour. It went to the last second before the light automatically went off. 

It isn’t always about winning when you play with your kids but that doesn’t apply when they are twenty one years old. Whilst you are happy for the younger generation to take over you still wan to put off the day and show them who is boss. I’m crap at snooker so I can’t do it when playing that.

Took a while to get used to the table. Hit the ball too hard and it bounces out off the rubber at the back of the hole. Don’t hit it hard enough and it would roll true. Remembering some of the fantastic snooker recoveries at the Masters where someone would roll the cue ball off three cushions and leave it resting against a red at the end of the table. I tried it. Didn’t work.

Walked back up Lindum Hill. Not done that for some time and you could tell. I need to do more of it. Golf on Thursday.

no pressure

Monday, January 17th, 2022

I like it when there is no pressure to do anything. I have one job to finish off which is to fit spacers behind the “new” sewing desk to ensure solidity against the wall in the “new” sewing room. This is a dividend of the kids growing up and leaving home. There will still be a bed in there but sewing will be the room’s main purpose.

I am quite prepared to accept the concept that one day the shed might have to be used as temporary sleeping quarters, at Christmas perhaps but we are not there yet. It would need multiple offspring back with their own offspring to make that happen. There is no rush for this.

Quite a number of my pals now have grandchildren, including one or two people I was at school with. I am ok with this although for someone in my class at school to be a grandparent does bring it very close to home. With these people my memories are of us being in our teens. Parties and nights out with even the notion of being settled and having our own families being a distant concept.

You notice quite a change in someone who has become a grandparent. They get all dewy eyed when thinking about it. There is even a cohort amongst my pals, mostly “tough ex rugby playing types”,  who happily chat with each other about the joys of grandparenthood. I can understand it with the girls but not the blokes. I daresay my time will come. Like I said, no pressure kids.

The sewing room is moving down from the attic which is already a recording studio but will now be more so. Fortunately someone invented headphones so our reverie is only occasionally interrupted by loud music.

Another observation this morning is that there are some radio programs that won’t let me play them on Sonos. The Sunday Service on BBC Radio 4 is such a programme. Yesterday it was another BBC job though I can’t quite remember what it was. Feels a bit odd but maybe the Beeb has stopped Sonos playing anything. Digging into it it’s TuneIn Radio that can’t broadcast it. The Beeb must be forcing everyone onto BBC Sounds. That’s all well and good but no use if they don’t let me stream over Sonos. Spotify does. Rewind. Sorted. Ignore this paragraph 🙂

Sitting here in the TV room I have just noticed a bag of knitting.

Sewing room desk complete and also shower door adjusted to close gap that opened up after a while.

We have a good size family house. When all four kids are home it is big enough to give everyone their own space. You don’t feel on top of each other. One downside is that I’m the only person who sits in the sitting room (living room/front room/lounge/call it what you will) and this is where the open fire resides. This means that we rarely light the fire although when in full flow it does provide a good glow to the whole house.

The conservatory hardly ever gets used. I might take a cuppa in there after breakfast on a sunny day and it very occasionally plays host to a lunch or dinner. We rarely have people round for dinner. Before kids it was commonplace but became too much effort, and cost. Now we are out of the habit and our pals are all such raving party animals that we would need to psych ourselves up for the undoubted session ahead. When the kids are home the conservatory is more of a conservatoire as the piano is there and it does get played.

The TV room is the warmest room. It’s a v cosy family den. The TV itself, being thicker than a matchstick feels a little outdated and doesn’t have all the connectivity we (I assume we do) all expect these days aka the shed telly. It only has one HDMI port and I do occasionally plonk myself down in front of it to watch something on the Chromecast only to find that someone has unhooked it and plugged in a playstation instead. Annoying eh? The shed telly has something like 12 HDMI ports (well at least 8, I haven’t really counted) as it is connected via an external amp.

The kitchen is the best room in our house. It’s a bigun and the room that is used the most. There is a pew running along the end farthest from the window. We bought it when the church was selling them off to make a more flexible pace. Their loss, our gain. It’s by far the most popular place to sit at the kitchen table. We are lucky that the kitchen is big enough to take it. 

The last job, for the moment, has been finished. I straightened the wonky fencepost put in only a few weeks ago and affixed some horizontal wires for the purpose of espaliering the plum tree. I am now sitting down to a well earned cuppa and will soon get going on my new book “Spies of the Airways” by Hugh Skillen. It’s part of a trilogy that includes “Knowledge Strengthens the Arm” and one on the Enigma whose name escapes me. I’ve separately ordered all three. 

Ciao amigos

The short lived 5am debate

Saturday, January 15th, 2022

I daresay most of you will only devote a contemptuous millisecond to my anguish at 5am this morning when I glanced at my bedside alarm clock and noted the time. Anguish doesn’t really properly reflect today’s early morning emotions. All I did was clock the time and conduct a very short lived debate with myself regarding whether I should get up and head downstairs to do something useful or sit it out (lie it out) and assume that I would get back to sleep until the display showed a more sensible time for a Saturday morning.

The debate didn’t really involve me presenting two arguments and weighing one up against the other. I was simply thinking that it was early, it was bloody cold out and the heating wasn’t due to come on for ages yet and I was very cosy in bed. Although each incident in the debate was very short lived I know it went on, and off, for a good thirty minutes because the last time I remember seeing was five thirty.

The next time I looked the clock said six thirty and I knew that staying in bed had been the right decision. At six forty five I got up, went downstairs to make the tea and was safely back in bed by five to seven.

Now up I have breakfasted well on ham, eggs, tomaytoes and mushrooms washed down with a couple of mugs of char. Mixing my vernacular there but this is allowed. Good phrase that: to mix the vernacular. Truth is to call bacon ham is only borderline vernacular and entirely dependent on your viewpoint. Also tomaytoes is merely adding an accent to tomahtoes that suggests the author is either well travelled or watches too much junk TV. I’ll leave that to you to decide. Both could apply.

I woke up this morning

Friday, January 14th, 2022

I woke up this morning and knocked my specs off the bedside table, oh yea. It made me consider my situation. Had I lived in the stone age would I even be alive. I am not only half blind without my specs but have an appalling sense of smell and my hearing ain’t what it used to be. If my name were Ugg, address The Cave, I could well have been eaten by a sabre tooth tiger by now. Hiding up that tree probs, or behind a rock.

If my name were Ugg I probably wouldn’t be thinking about buying a new alarm clock radio. Ours gains approximately a second a month and one of the LEDs is on the blink, pun intended. 

I Googled “bluetooth alarm clock radio”. This was a mistake at this time of the morning. I was bombarded with options, none of which seemed particularly cheap. Doesn’t feel to me as if a clock radio needs to be expensive. I retreated and ditched the word bluetooth from the search. 

This uncovered some what might be termed traditional clock radios at the lower end of the price spectrum but also gave me the classic dilemma of buyers everywhere and that is spec creep. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a clock radio, TV or a car it’s the temptation to add bells and whistles. Shouldn’t it have bluetooth anyway?

Let’s face it all I need a clock radio for is to tell the time and play BBC Radio 4. I rarely use it as an alarm. I use the dog and bone for that. I quite like the idea of being able to charge my phone wirelessly but then that would mean having the phone about 18 inches from my head at night. 

It would be quite useful to integrate the clock radio with my sonos speakers. It seems simple enough to use a Sonos as an alarm but we want to be able to see the time and also set a snooze time on the radio when going to bed at night. I guess the answer is a simple alarm clock radio and if we really want a Sonos in the bedroom to have a separate speaker.

No rush. This one will run and run. I still haven’t bought a new toaster after pontificating about it a couple or three years ago. Meanwhile there is snooker on the box. It’s nil nil with no points on the board and the best of 11.

shred that sheet

Thursday, January 13th, 2022

I woke up this morning and said to myself “made it through another night”. I sometimes think this. The whole pandemic sitch together with the ageing process makes you look at life differently. At 60 I am an orphan. Fortunately I have a great support structure around me. A very patient wife and 4 kids who still talk to me.

Yesterday we had a nice day out in Louth. Well not a whole day out. Louth ain’t that big but we had a nice stroll and had nice lunch in a nice caff. I also bought some books off a market stall.

Upon arriving in Louth the first thing we did after parking was have a coffee in a different caff to the nice one we ended in for the nice lunch. It too was nice. A couple plonked down at the table next to us and once settled she asked him what day it was. He responded that it was Wednesday and that she had asked him that yesterday. I pointed out that yesterday it was Tuesday not Wednesday. 

This caused general mirth in the cafe – it was a small cafe. There also followed a debate about how nobody could ever remember what it was, including the waitress who had apparently turned up for work the previous day thinking it was a Wednesday.

Today, as the astute amongst you will have gleaned, is a Thursday. There was evidence of an early frost as I walked to the shed although it felt almost springlike. Working day today! No rush though. I do feel that a fourth cup of tea might be appropriate but I’d have to go back to the house to source and it won’t do me any harm to delay a little.

The news is I have deferred my jury service to August. It suddenly clashed with a dinner I want to go to in London. The process was simple enough although I had to listen to 3 ½ minute of messages and options beforeI made it through to a person. I remember this from the last time I called as this time like then the voicemail message we one person but it was someone different telling me that my phone call would be recorded. Why couldn’t the same bloke have recorded both bits.

When I eventually got through the person didn’t want to waste time chatting. She had a job to do. She didn’t say that in so many words but you could tell 🙂 I could choose anytime in the next twelve months for the deferral so I went for a quiet time when I knew we wouldn’t be away. I say quiet time but actually August is busy for those of us in the campervan rental game but because of that I knew we would defo be in Lincoln.

Funny how people are different innit. A person who didn’t want to waste time chatting is fine to answer the phone for someone trying to defer jury service but would be no use working in a shop where staff might reasonably be expected to be friendly and chatty. Oh go on then yes I will buy that jumper. Or paper shredder.

My paper shredder is out on a van for delivery and arrives sometime today. Fwiw. Bought online not in a shop so no chatty sales assistant. It’s the solution to piles of papers building up in carrier bags in da shed. A fun time to be had. I bought one with a largeish capacity so that I didn’t have to keep emptying it. It will still sit compactly in the corner next to my desk though. Shred that sheet!

cauld old morning

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

Tis a cauld old morning of it and the sun is low in a seemingly cloudless sky. Still very much deep midwinter without the snow effects. No creaking of trees either as the frosty wind blesses them with its presence. Perhaps that sound effect is reserved for night time.

The lack of snow in winter hereabouts makes it harder to produce evocative descriptions. I can’t really hark back to my childhood as I’m fairly sure that snowbound winters were few and far between then, even when living in North Wales. Certainly not in the Isle of Man which is centrally heated by the gulf stream.

Had a trip out to Louth today. I bought a few second hand books from a stall in the market and a 2kg bag of bird seed and then nipped over to see the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway. We last visited the railway perhaps fifteen years ago or more and it doesn’t appear to have changed at all. Still the same fund raiser appeal to extend the line nearly to Louth.

On the way back from the railway we picked up a couple of free bags of horse manure compost left at the side of the road. The things you do!

Louth itself is of another era. As the car moves through the winter countryside the nearer Louth you get the further back in time it feels you are. Should be twinned with nearby Woodhall Spa which stopped in the 1940s.

Back in the shed I’m listening to a webinar on the EU Regulatory Framework for Communications Providers. Yawn. Hadn’t realised it was going to be such a basic “Dummies Guide”. I’m in now so I will sit it out. Fortunately the snooker is on the box. On mute.

sun day

Sunday, January 9th, 2022

Somewhat amazing night last night. I rarely watch game shows but this one was different as it had Will and Kathryn Ward in it. We went to their wedding! Can’t remember the name but it was a new gig with Ant and Dec who are well known TV celebrities. The point is they won half a million quid. Will and Kathryn that is, not Ant and Dec. Fantastic. I’ll not watch any more of the shows. Not my thang and I’ve seen all I need to see.

Kansas City Chiefs also won. Edged it in the fourth quarter. I am newly a Chiefs fan, for reasons you will have to scroll back through my timeline to discover. The game was on past my bedtime but I might see if it available on catchup. Cmon the Chiefs. Innit.

Treated myself to a lie in this morning and a proper wet shave once I’d made it out of bed. Outside the sky is cloudless and the weather looks perfect for a stroll to the Bail.

Just back from dropping a member of the congregation at St Peter in Eastgate Church. As I drove past the Lindum Cricket Club it occurred to me that I didn’t go along to watch a single match last summer which will need sorting this year. The real point though is that I am going to far fewer places than I used to. 

This sitch will hopefully change as the world resumes normal service, if it ever does. For everyone’s sake.

Back from a late morning walk with our John. 5k. Steps that is. Need to up the game on the walking.  The plan is walking, swimming and cycling. Bit of yoga maybs.

I had a dream

Saturday, January 8th, 2022

I had a dream. There I was driving along in a campervan when I saw an old geezer collapse on the pavement and some other a little less old bearded chap had stopped to see if he was ok. I pulled to a halt and asked if they needed any help. The bearded guy told me to call for an ambulance which I did.

After a while on hold whilst the 999 person was trying to sort an ambulance we realised that the old geezer was just inebriated and didn’t really need an ambulance and a good kip would sort him. I killed the call and in the meantime realised that someone had nicked my campervan. Bar steward.

Now I don’t normally remember dreams but this one obviously stuck. I’ll leave it to you to interpret.

Breakfasted well and strolled, hood up, to the shed. It is raining ish but the forecast is for heavier rain. I may get stranded. The shed was unusually cold. Something tripped the power in the house yesterday and I forgot to turn the heater in the shed back on. Good job we don’t live in Alaska. I do quite like the idea of going to Alaska though. Wilderness adventure. I’d need to find someone to come with me.

A bit damp now as walked to Waitrose with John for a few supplies. Steady rain all the way back and my specs steamed up so could hardly see. Good job I knew the way. Jeans were totes soaked by the time I got home. Hey… Good job I had a spare pair innit.

Now sat enjoying a cup of tea in the TV room. No TV on. I’m pondering subscribing to the Disney+ channel later today as we want to watch Get Back, the Beatles series of the making of the album. I suspect that once we have watched it I will cancel the subscription. Worth eight quid though.


Thursday, January 6th, 2022

Good breakfast. Stroll to shed. A time for relaxation. Ease into the day. Easement would have been a good word for this but it has already been bagged and has connotations inconsistent with the sentiment.

Ahead, a day of meditation, spiritual and bodily improvement. By this I mean I’m going to pluck some partridges, fix the loft ladder and then go for a swim 🙂 .

Interesting to consider that like many repetitive exercises swimming has a strong element of meditation. Detached focus on the job in hand. I may occasionally think of things when swimming but mostly I think of nothing. 

I do occasionally look up and check the pool clock. This is not as straightforward as you might think because I’m pretty blind without my specs and although I have prescription swimming goggles they are so scratched to be almost non functional as such. They still keep water out of my eyes.

The shed is a perfect place for mediation. In the deepest days of lockdown, with the circling covid horde baying for victims, the shed was not only a workplace but also somewhere to throw down your yoga mat. In the shed you could be at one with the world around you.

Those days are long gone. The freedoms that came with the summer and shed doors wide open to the garden disappeared when freezing temperatures forced closed those doors.

We should not keep looking over our shoulders. Look ahead. Heads up and eyes on the horizon. Just writing that brought a smile to my face. The power of positive thinking. Wow.