Archive for the ‘early one morning’ Category

Five forty six

Friday, May 17th, 2024

Five forty six. Early morning mist but doesn’t look as if it has been raining. I awoke before five wondering why it was so light but of course that’s what it is at this time of year. I heard the milkman at eleven minutes past four. It was still dark at that time.

As I lay there listening to him open the porch door and deposit his bottles of milk a thought entered my mind. He comes in all weathers. Rain or shine. Not sure about snow but I don’t ever recall noting the non arrival of milk due to the weather.

As if the light just changed to green, at six ey em the traffic has started outside. The noise has already died down. It is intermittent and governed by the lights down the road near Tesco. Although it is a main road out front it is always easy to get in and out of the drive as the traffic only comes by in short bursts. 

Except that is when the treadmill trudgers are released from the shackles attached to their desks and allowed home. At that point the various sets of lights on Wragby Road result in long queues of frustrated commuters desperate to get home, into a pair of shorts and crack open a tinnie. Depending on the weather obvs.

Quite excited with the progress of my flower meadow, now quickly growing. I’m sure I could spot the progress during the day yesterday even though it was chucking it down for most of the day. 

Fortunately by the time Will arrived to borrow the trailer the rain had stopped. Took a while to get it operational. Looking at the numberpate it hadn’t been used for at least eight years. When he has finished with it we are going to sell it. Daxara 158 with an Erde hard top and roof bars if anyone is interested. Perfectly good trailer and served us well. They go for around £1,250 new without the spare wheel but we would be willing to listen to offers.

Back in the conservatory

Monday, May 13th, 2024

Back in the conservatory for my pre tea making diary session for the first time this season. Another day ahead with a southerly wind so the warm weather continues.

It is a monday morning. Unusually I am quite busy this morning with three conference calls. This afternoon I am going to put more peas in the ground. I added compost to the raised bed yesterday afternoon and today will put it to work. Shouldn’t take long to plant a few rows peas. It’s the putting up the anti pigeon netting that takes time. Will also put down some beer traps for the slug population to fill its boots. I’ve got one or two cans of some weird beer that will never get drunk so it will be a good use for it.

This afternoon I am going to empty the trailer in readiness to take most of the content to the tip sometime this week. We are going to sell the trailer. It served its purpose when our family holidays involved four offspring and campsites and there was no room left for anything in the car. 

Now that those holidays are distant memories it makes sense to free up some space in the front drive. Not that we lack space in the drive considering we only have THG’s little Peugeot. We could probably fit eight of them in the drive as it is. 

This is a continuation of the urge to purge. The garage is still in desperate need of purging. It’ll appen 🙂

Planted about 60 peas just after lunch. Suspect there are too many for the space but sod it I like peas and I’m going to risk it. Next job is to put down the beer traps. Wouldn’t normally consider using good beer for such a purpose but there are a couple of bots/cans I have where I don’t like the contents so feels reasonable to use for them.

Lunch btw was a very excellent roasted tomato soup prepared by that very excellent chef THG. Now listening to  an electro house EP with influences from the Berlin and London underground scenes. As one does.

What’s your fave cocktail. I know it is a long way away but I’m looking at how to make the last trefbash an even more special one than usual. Bearing in mind the theme is tropical trefbash we need to think of some tropical cocktails. Ideas? Remember it is on the 12th December, trefbash 15. Probs needs to be not too hard to make in large batches.

was awake when the milkman came

Wednesday, May 8th, 2024

I was awake when the milkman came at four twenty seven. Soon dropped off again but was roused by the dawn chorus half an hour later. Opened a front window to identify the choir: blackbird, wood pigeon, wren, sparrow, crow and robin. Am thinking I might nip into the allotments behind our house this morning to record the diversity of birdlife that must frequent the place (later I did and added goldfinch to the record).

Will need to cancel Friday’s milk delivery as we have loads in the fridge. We go from famine to feast when it comes to milk. Depends if there is bacon or sausage involved for breakfast. I like a glass of milk with my bacon sarnie. This uses up a pint quite quickly otherwise it’s just consumed in tea.

There is news. I’ve been after planting a wildflower meadow at the shed end of the garden and a pond. Well THG has permitted a 1m wide strip of flowers and I’ve dug in a dustbin lid to serve as a pond. Twill be enough. Not sure it will attract frogs but it might be a place for hedgehogs to come and have a refreshing drink. Mind you the water is currently very muddy brown. I’m sure it will settle. Probs.

Bought the floral mix from the National Trust last year: yarrow, pheasant’s eye, red army, shrubby hare’s ear, pot marigold, china aster, safflower, cornflower, chrysanthemum, cosmos, dragon’s head, california poppy, gypsophila, basil, candy tuft, heavenly blue, stocks, 4 o’clock lily, common poppy, soapwort, catchflies, dill, borage, coriander & buckwheat. If that lot all come up it will be a real result. 

How about that eh? The bees and butterflies will think they’ve gone to heaven.

Also dug up the raised beds in preparation for pea planting but figured I’d leave the planting itself until tomorrow afternoon as I’ll need to put some netting up and can’t be arsed at the mo.

And mowed the lawn! This is more gardening than I’ve ever done! Almost.

Up and at it early

Tuesday, May 7th, 2024

Up and at it early. It isn’t even my turn to make the tea! I have a busyish week ahead so no harm in getting a head start. We are very much  in to the best time of year in the UK and the weather for the week ahead looks great. It must be coming up to exam season 🙂

Feels like a Monday morning. My eyes are still full of sleep. They need a good rub. Despite an early rise an injection of enthusiasm is also required to start the day. Energy. I guess it was a busy weekend. Long. 

We had a good time, THG and I. Probably done East Anglia now, for a while. Our next adventures will be further to the west. Apart from Antwerp which is across the North Sea. Big port, Antwerp but not served by any ferry company useful to my cause. Instead I am sailing  to Rotterdam further to the north. I like the idea of catching a boat to the continent. Feels as if there is more romance to the journey going by sea. Going by boat to the Paris Olympics. Just like they did in nineteen twenty four. In the movie. Whatever it was called. I can hear the music.

Eight o’clock and in the shed. THG’s home made granola at my desk. She makes a fab granola and I have to say when combined with yo’ gurt and berries it is probs my fave breakfast. Never thought you’d hear me saying that. I also like crusty white toast with butter and marmalade. Trouble is you never know when to stop when it comes to toast and marmalade and it doesn’t fit into a keto diet.

At some stage THG will swing by for a visit on her round of the estate. This is no different to a shepherd keeping an eye on the sheep. Plants need encouragement to grow 🙂

Last night we watched the snooker until the close. If Wilson hadn’t won when he did we were going to call it a day and hit the hay. Nerves all round on the green baize. Might see if I can get tickets for next year as we haven’t been to the Crucible for a while and it looks as if the venue might lose the tourney when the current contract is up.

Found a mouse in the greenhouse yesterday when we got back. It seemed pretty lethargic so must have been something wrong with it. Soon shifted it outside. Better out than in. Usually the problem is slugs and snails in there. I keep an eye out for them on the cctv. 

So I have a couple of hours before my first scheduled meeting.

dawn chorus began circa ten to five

Wednesday, May 1st, 2024

The dawn chorus began circa ten to five this morning. The milkman came much earlier at oh three twenty two. I wonder if milkie is tucked up in bed by the time the birds get going. They will certainly wait until he has gone before pecking the milk bottle tops although you don’t get that with semi skimmed and ours is left in the porch anyway.

It being a lovely day I have discarded my jeans and am in a very fetching pair of blue shorts. Polished off the usual healthy breakfast and now at it in da shed. A few adminny bits to do before starting the day.

For some reason I’ve closed the shed doors but the morning is so nice this is not necessary. THG will stop by soon on her morning inspection so she can leave the doors open when she is finished 🙂 I’m told the cukes aren’t doing very well. Only one out of six plants flourishing. We have two batches of peas. The first, quite small, lot can go out when the runner beans go in, if you get my drift. The second batch is just starting to emerge.

Today’s birdsong was brought to you by the Eurasian Wren, the Common Chiffchaff, Common Chaffinch and the Eurasian Blackbird.

In other news, my order of  “Droppings, Dung & Scats of Southern African Wildlife (Paperback)” which I placed on the 15th February still hasn’t rocked up. I’ve just nudged Waterstones. There is a glaring hole on the shed bookshelf where the book is destined to sit.

In even more news my Roku stick has given up the ghost. It started playing up when trying to cope with live sport. Then it had issues with Spotify and finally stopped playing audio when streaming movies. I was running the most recent software and a factory reset has just well and truly jiggered it.

The issue is should I bother with a replacement? The telly has most of the apps and I can stream Spotify onto the Chromecast. Ditto NowTV.

Out in the garden a butterfly flutters by. Fluttersbye. The apple trees are still resplendent with blossom. This week is their chance to get pollinated.

Decided I’d take a stroll to Tesco to buy some ham, bean salad and a cauliflower. Now my fave ham, apart from the ones I cook myself, is the Waitrose orange and marmalade ham but Tescos is nearer and on this occasion opted to go there. However they don’t have a deli counter at Tesco so everything is prepackaged and therefore not as good as Waitrose.

Now it turns out that my third fave ham is tinned ham. This I think is a childhood hangover. I could easily eat a whole tin of ham in one sitting. This would not impress the THG so I tend not to. Anyway I checked out the options online before going and apart from a variety of SPAM derivatives Tesco offer a choice of two brands of tinned ham.

Their own Tesco Danish Ham was £2.75 for 340g and weighs in with 83% pork. The alternative Princes Pear Ham comes in more expensive at £3.00 for 325g and only contains 62% pork! Truly a no brainer. 62% pork!!! They both come with a load of preservative crap but I’m a grown up and I go into these things with my eyes open.

So I got to Tesco and purchased said tin of Tesco Danish Ham. The only very mild eyebrow raiser was that the label on the shelf said the price was £3.20. I flagged down a “colleague” who having had the discrepancy pointed out to him, was able by using his handy app to confirm that  the more attractive £2.75 applied.

I wonder how much of the cost of the Danish ham is down to post Brexshit red tape.

PS At lunch whilst consuming ham with salad I dropped a bit of tomato on my white shirt front, complete with dressing. Worramilike!

Lawn mowed. Takes ten minutes to start the mower these days. Needs a service but it ain’t getting one. Next up is scarifying, now that the weather is nice. Then planting my wild flower lawn.

Dawn arrived before five in Lincoln

Thursday, April 25th, 2024

Dawn arrived before five in Lincoln. Or at least the process of enlightenment began. By five thirty it is pretty light. The unattractive whooping of a pesky woodpigeon is drowning out most other avian vocals. A crow now chips in.

When I got up this morning I sat in the front room as opposed to the snug. In here the doors to the conservatory are open letting in noise from the back garden as well as from the front. My usual winter early morning perch in the snug only has a bay window onto the front drive. As the mornings warm up a little I move into the conservatory itself. Usually for an hour or so before making the tea.

Just heard a noise coming from the chimney. Am hoping it isn’t a trapped bird but it might be which will be a nuisance. We’ve had a pigeon up/down there in the past. Managed to get it out but this time I can’t actually see anything and we are going away for the weekend so it might well be a dead pigeon by the time we get back.

I’m the only person who uses the front room, unless we have a full house like over Christmas. It has a large walnut bookcase which we had made to fit a space, a smaller bookcase that holds my collection of poetry books and plays and three very comfortable sofas.

The walls are adorned with portraits of my grandparents and great grandparents. One of them is an original and dates back to the early twentieth century. Took some restoring as it was on board which had curved quite a bit. Didn’t do it myself.

Over the fireplace there is a painting of Maesdulais, the wool factory, complete with water wheel, where my dad was born. My mother was born in a two room cottage near Mohil in County Leitrim in Ireland. She was one of seven children. Older kids would be shipped off to live with relatives as new ones arrived. They had an acre of land at the back where they kept a cow. They met in London in the nineteen fifties. He was a teacher and she a nurse.

Many kids still migrate to London for their first employment. All ours did/have. It is a trap although nowadays in the post covid world it is a lot easier to live elsewhere and work from home.

It is looking like another cold day ahead. Yesterday was bloody freezing. Fortunately my daytime living space, the shed, is nice and warm. The view from where I am sat in the front room is of the shed at the bottom of the garden plus a bit of the greenhouse. The French doors to the conservatory represent quite a narrow aperture onto the garden from my seated perspective.

Definitely a bird in the chimney. Hmm. I’ve moved into the kitchen to avoid the distraction. The kitchen is surprisingly warm. We had the roof insulated when it was retiled last year and that has made a huge difference. Used to be quite cold in here.

Sort of busyish day ahead potentially culminating in a game of golf with the boys. We will see nearer the time. Cold and wet! When I was a kid I’d play golf with my dad in all weathers. The only thing that would stop us would be if the course was closed. Nowadays we are all far more fair weather golfers.

Anyway, time to make the tea. It is almost six thirty. Ciao amigos.

Woken by the dawn chorus

Saturday, April 20th, 2024

Woken by the dawn chorus at quarter past five this morning. Well I must have already been awake and just heard it. Strange to think it was quarter past four GMT. v early.

Some time later I was forced out of bed by “thought for the day” on Radio 4. Who listens to this rubbish? I can almost picture the horror of people who are invited to present that slot. “Omg am I that boring that they’ve invited me on?” Up now and at it. Sort of. Sitting in the kitch’ awaiting my third cup of tea.

Looks nice out. Still cawd I imagine. I contacted the Meteorological office and they told me it was currently six degrees centigrade in Lincoln at the mo. I didn’t actually ring them per se. They publish this info online. It is very handy. Think of the number of people they would need to employ to answer the phone if they relied on telephony to distribute the information. “Where are you? OK let me have a look”.

When I was a kid there was such a thing as “the speaking clock”. In fact I just checked and it is still there. Can’t believe many people dial it. Your mobile phone has an accurate time. 

Our bedside alarm clock doesn’t. It gains a couple of minutes every six months and I periodically have to adjust the time in my mind when looking at it. Usually I reset it when the clocks change back or forwards but didn’t this spring. I’ll get it done sometime, probs, otherwise before we know it I’ll be having to subtract five or ten mins from the time displayed.

I’d have got rid of it years ago were it not a relic from THG’s past. My own alarm clock went very early on in our relationship as hierarchies were established. It was an old fashioned clockwork job with two bells on top. It was probably just as poor at timekeeping as the one we still have but it was very easy to manually adjust when required. You just moved the big hand. The problem with it was that it ticked. I found the ticking quite soothing. It helped you (me) nod off at night. The ticking very definitely didn’t tick THG’s box and it disappeared from our lives.

She wasn’t known as THG in those days. We didn’t have a garden and it took many years for her to attain that status. Once there though you become a Titan in the gardening world. People (me) ask you when is the best time to plant peas n stuff like that. Peas fresh from the garden are probably the finest vegetable side dish known to man.

Out with THG in her voiture this morning running a few errands. Included returning a keyboard we borrowed for last weekend and picking up my new “office” specs. She also needed to purchayse some yo’ gurt and I needed something for tea tonight so we stopped off at Waitrose. No way I would walk around the shop with her as our shopping habits are totally incompatible but we did meet for a cawfee in the caff which was nice. Some Tref & THG time 🙂

Finally figured out how to get the cast button back on Chrome. Was easy enough once I’d googled it but until it’s fixed it’s not fixed yanow.

Got the imps on the wireless in the shed. Winning two one away at Cheltenham. A must win game. Currently we are in a playoff position care of a better goal difference than Oxford. The last game of the season next week will be crucial and difficult as we are at home to top of the table Portsmouth. Cheltenham also need a win to stand a chance of staying up. All good stuff.

Also have the snooker on screen three. Start of the “Worlds”. THG will be incommunicado for the next fortnight 🙂Judd Trump currently beating Hossein Vafaei in the first round but a long way to go in this match. As you know the momentum in snooker can easily swing the other way. A very mental game.

Afterwards THG wants to watch the FA Cup semi final so a sport filled afternoon ahead.

We hired a Hoseasons boat

Tuesday, March 26th, 2024

I lay in bed awake last night. All quiet except I was sure I could hear a humming sound. No idea where it came from and it isn’t there now. Hmm (geddit). The street lights lit up the window. Were it not for the fact that he doesn’t come on a Tuesday I could imagine the milkman swinging by the drive with a couple of bottles.

Now up and at it. Bacon and egg for breakfast. With brown sauce.

The wireless set brings news of a container ship hitting a bridge in Baltimore in the United States. Obvs this is a serious event as there are people unaccounted for in the water and it is going to cause huge disruption to local transportation. 

I am in no way attempting to make light of this sitch but it did make me think back to a family holiday on the Thames when we were kids. We hired a Hoseasons boat and as we approached Oxford hit the big stone central column of a bridge. There was plenty of room so it was purely down to driver error. I don’t recall who was driving at the time and I am not here to pass judgement. The bridge in our case is still there.

There were a couple of other incidents I recall on that trip. Firstly when we moored at a grassy bank somewhere I was hammering a big iron peg in order to tie up to. It was raining and the mallet slipped out of my hands and into the water. Oops. Had to strip off and dive in for it.

Then there was the other occasion where Ann, Sue and I went for a walk through a park. It was raining again! I remember saying to the others that you didn’t very often see grass tennis courts these days when suddenly someone shouted angrily for us to get off their land. We had inadvertently walked into someone’s garden! Hey…

Zen and the art of the milk round

Saturday, March 9th, 2024

Zen and the art of the milk round

It came to me at about five thirty ey em this morning. I was lying awake in bed pondering whether to get up. The birds had started singing and clearly morning was well into its stride. However I was trying to decide whether nodding off again might be a prospect.

In the interim seconds or minutes before I did indeed drop off my thoughts turned to the art of delivering milk. I played with how this might be described, at least in a title:

Zen and the art of milk floats, Zen and the philosophy of milk floats, the philosophy of the milk round etc etc etc I decided that Zen and the art of the milk round would suffice as a working title. These things tend to stick

I don’t know anything about the milkman. His job entails very antisocial hours as far as regular social norms go. Presumably he is used to this. You do from time to time hear about people in such jobs who do it because it frees them up during the rest of the day to write their play or book or similar. Might this be the case here?

He turns up three times a week at ours, usually with two pints of milk but doubled up if the next delivery is due on a bank holiday. I was going to say he turns up like clockwork but his delivery times do vary significantly, any time between three and five ey em. Why is this? No pattern has emerged as yet. Is there back story here?

The job may be seen as very philosophical. A milkman can very much get in a zone when on his round. The same houses, the same order, apart, as I said from the bank holiday example, the same route. Other than the fact that people do vary their orders, family comes to visit etc, there is no need to think.

In one sense it is almost like being a long distance runner. You set off and get in the groove. Your mind is focussed on one thing, or indeed nothing, in order to get you around those twenty six miles without constantly wondering how much further is there to go or thinking what a waste of three hours fifteen minutes this is. Insert your own time.

Each house visited is different but at the same time similar in that it only takes a few second to drop off the milk before jumping back on the float and moving on to the next.

There are other factors of note. A milk round is a historic entity, at least in recent modern history. It brings with it the stability of familiarity. A comfort level in knowing there will be milk on the table at breakfast to feed the kids their porridge, or chocolate covered sugar bombs.

Part of me would like to know more about the man himself but this would probably destroy the enigma, the mystique around the function he performs. I don’t like to think of him as being part of a well oiled machine but there is an element of that. The customer facing element of a system that begins with cows grazing in lush green fields on a hillside in deepest Britain.

I wonder how long on average a milkman stays in the job? Is it something they can only do for a few years and then burn out or is it normally a job for life, a vocation. I’m not sure the work prepares you for anything other than delivering milk although employment opportunities could, I suppose, be available in the modern post covid logistics market.

Then you have to ask yourself what does a milkman do when he retires. How does he cope with the fact that he no longer needs to get up at two ey em to feed the horse before setting off on his round. Not that they use horses to pull milk carts these days. At least I never hear the clippety clop of hooves and the milkman arrives and departs. Also the dairy is fifteen miles away in Newark a horse would not be practical.

I daresay there is more to think about when it comes to the art of the milk round which will no doubt reveal itself in due course. 

Ciao amigos.

the great question of life

Wednesday, March 6th, 2024

I was aware of being awake at around five twenty five this morning. Shortly after this I opened one eye and noted the time had moved on ten minutes, then a further twenty. 

You lie there in bed pondering the great question of life, ie whether to get up or not. The issue is that your current sitch is v cosy and the act of rising brings uncertainty. Will it be cold downstairs. Certainly colder than the bed.

Sometimes I drift off again but on this occasion I didnt appear to do so. I don’t like lying there gratuitously wasting time just being awake. Eventually I said sod it and got up. 

So I’m downstairs with the birds. They had already decided it was time to wake up and are nattering away to each other. Already dawn, although I wasn’t sure whether the lightening of the sky through the back window was just light pollution here in the middle of town.

Down in the snug it also happens to be cosy. I’m tucked under a nice quilt made by THG some time ago that now adorns the back of one of the sofas. On the footstool in front of me lie a few balls of wool. Warm colours, blue, light green and grey. We have a nice place to live. Thanks to THG.

Being a Wednesday it is already half way through the working week, depending on which day you consider to be the start, obvs. In Israel they are already considering going in to the office because tomorrow is the last day of the week. Timeshift.

This week has so far gone quite quickly. It’s been pretty productive. Productivity isn’t always measured by work output although that depends on what you call work. Stuff that I get paid to do has been productive but also important stuff that we fill the rest of our lives with is also looking good. You have to look positively on life anyway but sometimes it is easier to do this. 

I’ve not thought much about what lies ahead with the day. Plenty of time for that. Sometimes it is nice to just drift for a bit. Time surf. Go where life takes you, even if it is just for an hour or two.

It is very much time I got my hair cut. I can grab hold of it at the back which means it is too long. Been thinking of trying the barber in the Carlton Centre. Will see if I have time this afternoon. Valuable stuff, time.

It is also time I made the tea. Gosh that went quickly dinnit. The milkman came at three seventeen this morning. That’s almost as early as it gets although he did a three oh two one Wednesday in January.


Interestingly I haven’t been anywhere since I sold the car. The one exception is when THG and I went to Wickes to buy some wood glue. She drove me and stayed in the car whilst I nipped in. Oh, also Coops and I went to pick up one of our camper vans from storage last night. He drove.

This is partly because I’ve been busy at home and partly because I haven’t really needed to go anywhere. THG does most of the shopping, largely because I always spend too much on stuff we don’t really need. Also I’m not insured on her current wheels. Picking up some new ones for her this pm which alters that.

I take it everyone is looking forward to this year’s Academy Awards. It’s this coming Sunday so not long to wait now. Truth be told I’m not sure I know anyone who is interested, except perhaps for my cousin Ken. it is quite unlikely I would even recognise those participating and being given an award.

Spring seems very much in the air. Still quite nippy mind you. My question is when do we officially recognise that spring has arrived? Is there a particular plant that blossoms? I don’t want dates. I want real life nature telling us that change is afoot. What’s the answer? I am looking forward to the day when the shed doors are flung open to the garden and I become at one with nature, as they say. This will be spring.

the time is right

Sunday, March 3rd, 2024

No milkman today. Sunday. We do need some though so someone will have to pop out this morning to buy a pint or two. Might not be me. THG reminded me that I was only insured on her car by virtue of the fully comp insurance on my own. This morning the place where I normally park my car is empty. The car, as you know, has gone.

I feel no regret about selling the Defender. Somehow it feels liberating, almost like being a student again. As a student I went everywhere by public transport, or walked. No responsibilities. No thoughts to the future. It’s almost as if the direction of travel is back to that era.

It was great to have driven the Defender for the four years or so that I had it. People would ask me cynically why I needed 4×4 gas guzzler and I would reply “because it can drive through rivers, up mountains and across deserts and glaciers”. “When would I ever use it for that” they would reply. They didn’t understand. I could do it if I needed to.

There was only really once where I did need the off road capabilities of the car. Last autumn before catching the ferry home from France I filled in some time visiting the Normandy beaches. On one occasion I set the sat nav for one of the beaches, Gold maybe, or Omaha, and found myself driving down a farm track into a field full of sunflowers. I should have been suspicious but every farm track seemed to have a name which gave it some sense of being a real road so I figured Waze must know what it was doing.

It didn’t. I could see the beach a few hundred metres away on the screen but between me and it was nothing. My choice was reversing half a mile along a narrow, high sided Normandy farm track or going into the field and turning around. Fortunately there was around five metres around the edge of the field with no crops which was just enough for me to do a three point turn. For the Land Rover this presented no problem. 

It was good while it lasted and I have now moved on. The next step is to sell the campervans. We decided that after eight years of being in the vintage campervan rental business it had run its course. The vans are going to be sold and the business closed. 

Running a VW campervan business has been a very cool thing to do. There have been highs and lows, but mostly highs. It felt great when people would bring back a campervan and rave about the experience. Some would not want to hand the keys back and some customers return year after year. 

The lows have been the occasional breakdown but that is all about how you handle it. We would give people a full refund and fortunately our hirers were fairly phlegmatic about those situations. After all these are fifty year old vans and things could go wrong.

Overall the experience was very positive but we now feel comfortable about getting our freedom back during the summer months. The time is right.

Selling my car and deciding to sell the vans has provided a remarkable sense of release, of moving on. I’m quite excited about what the future might bring. I have some ideas about things to do and I still have project Netxis project which although it has its ups and downs as businesses do it is mostly good fun. I think I have the balance right.

In the meantime it is nearly six thirty in the morning, dawn has arrived, the birds are singing and it is time to make THG a cup of tea.

pommes de terre sarladaises

Sunday, February 18th, 2024

Woke up early this morning at around five fifteen. My first thoughts were that instead of steak, I would have pork escalopes with blue cheese sauce and pommes de terre sarladaises for tonight’s tea. Note my natural writing style would have said pommes sarladaises but that would have been misleading so I changed it. Only realised when I checked on the sbelin of sarladaises. Obvious really!

I know those were my first thoughts because I made a point of remembering them in order to write them down. I hardly ever remember dreams themselves, as opposed to first thoughts which I also hardly ever remember 🙂

I picked up my liking for pommes de terre sarladaises when on holiday in Montaigu de Quercy last autumn where they regularly featured on local menus. V tasty I thought to meself. The first time I had them was at a cafe in some small hilltop town or village whose name escapes me but where I also bought a case of malbec. 

My other recollection from that occasion was the observation that most of the other diners at lunch were British expats. Probs mentioned this before but turned out that 60% of the homes thereabouts were owned by such people. I did wonder what the attraction was. OK it was a beautiful area with relatively cheap housing, compared with the UK anyway, and cheapish wine, but there was bugger all to do and most of the inhabitants were old. You go there to die and the process is probably accelerated by boredom. And loneliness.

Anyway let’s move on. Today, according to my macbook, is a Saturday. Le laitier ne vient pas aujourd’hui as they would say in Montaigu de Quercy although I doubt they have such an individual there. We have a day of log moving and football watching ahead of us. THG will also start the day with her usual Park Run and I will not. 

Feels as if I’ve already fast forwarded to night time. Liverpool will have comfortably beaten Brentford and Man City held to a stale one all draw at home to Chelski who finally start to find some form. Well you never know. Lincoln City will also have beaten Exeter at home in a mid table clash. Could even pop down to see them though probs won’t. As I think of it, I have a few jobs to do.

As you might know I have been away, in the Southern Hemisphere, and am now home. The trip is still fresh in the memory, partly because I’m not sure the body is totally recovered from it, yet.

I have a few observations. Firstly the weather here is not the same as in South Africa. Ok this is stating the bleedin obvious but it is what it is. Although we often complain about the weather here in the disunited kingdom I couldn’t live somewhere where it was nice and sunny all or most of the time. One can always pop over for a sunshine fix if that is your bag.

I like the fact that on some days we “have” to light a fire and sit in front of it reading, or knitting, whatever does it for you. Not sure I’d buy a house without an open fire, not that we have any plans to move.

The second observation is that our very excellent safari guide was called Jeremy and the tracker, Hendry. Today the team will be out in their truck with a new set of punters who will gaze in astonishment at the rich diversity of wildlife to be seen in the Kruger low veldt. The point is life goes on wherever you are in the world. I find this to be quite surreal. It is somehow like the light inside the fridge. Only on when you open the door. The safari in South Africa is only on when I am there otherwise it doesn’t exist. Same for everywhere else in the world.

As a person my whole life revolves around me and those close to me. This is something I came to realise a long time ago. We are all so insignificant and our time on this planet is so fleetingly short that you have to stay focused on what matters. Yes we can worry about global warming, do our bit even and some may have observations about conflicts around the world, famine and strife. I pay politicians to handle this sort of thing. It’s what floats their boat, regardless of what you might personally think about that/them.

My final observation, for now, is that I hear movement upstairs. It is time to make a brew 🙂

“Thought for the day” is on the wireless. Time to get up.

I quite like putting pen to paper, metaphorically speaking. If I used a real pen and paper I’d need my hand amputating within days. I am painfully slow and pretty illegible with it. If I have a hobby, writing stuff is it.

I also like travelling but I feel as if I could throttle back on that a bit. Even doing it in comfort and style, travel takes it out of you. Also I’ve seen a lot of the world already. Doesn’t feel as exciting as it might have done at one time. The recent trip to the Kruger is an exception.

We do have biggish trip lined up this year, to the Paris Olympics and then Normandy. Me and THG, plus a few pals for the Paris bit. We also have a littleish trip to the Isle of Man for Easter. All good stuff.

What I’d really like to do is stop working completely and focus on writing a few books I have in mind. Trouble is I like doing what I do and don’t want to completely stop, at least not for the moment and so I can’t dedicate time to the books.

T minus four

Friday, January 26th, 2024

Five ten. That is a time, of day. That is the time right now. Ey em. Was awake so got up. Heard the wind and presumably rain bashing the house. Figured we had definitely moved on from the freezing cold, for the moment at least. 

I like both the rain and the freezing cold and, indeed, the combination of the two which is snow obvs. Unless it is hailstones which are nowhere near as nice as snow although they are interesting. I think on the very rare occasion we get hailstones I always exclaim, ‘hey it’s hailing’. It’s an automatic reaction. I must do the same thing when it snows. It’s a fairly rare occurrence hereabouts. In these parts. Lincoln.

Don’t know about you but I definitely talk to the sat nav. When she tells me to turn left I say ‘thank you’. If she repeats herself too often I say ‘okay, okay I got you the first time’. When my car was at the menders THG and I were off on a trip somewhere in her car and using Waze on her phone. Boy did the woman have an irritating voice. I had to give her the boot and hire someone else. Would have driven me crazy to have had to listen to her the whole way.

Five ten is quite early for me to get up and go downstairs. I typically wait until half past, if I am awake, but I’ve taken to turning the face of the clock radio away from me as I read something about light disturbing your sleep patterns. The downside of this is that I can’t easily see the time but we shouldn’t always live our lives by the clock. Let nature take over.

I’m not always awake that early. Sometimes I look at the clock and say ‘gosh it’s a quarter to seven’ or similar. Then whoever is on tea duty will jump out of bed and rush downstairs to get it done. Ish.

The milkman came, fag in hand, at three twelve ey em today. Brought a couple of pints. I thought we had cancelled this delivery but clearly I know noothing. I was immediately able to pinpoint the exact time of delivery as last night I very sensibly cleared the cobwebs from around the camera out front. No false positives due to moving cobwebs. They were getting to be v noisy. It’s ok, it’s sorted.

Today I have a clear diary. Just a bit of banking to do. Invoices to pay. That kind of thing. Doesn’t mean I won’t be doing anything nosiree Bob. Means I can get on with things. Might also squeeze in a swim but meeting @Guy in the Star at four ish so see how that goes.

It’s a bit of a treat going to the pub, albeit for just an hour or two. It’s not a frequent occasion nowadays believe it or not. This is largely because I’m trying to stick to a keto diet which means no beer and the whole point of going to a pub is to drink beer. Gin is ok but they only dish it out by the thimbleful in pubs so not really worth the effort.

THG is off out to see a pal tonight so when I get home I have a Charlie Bigham’s CTM for my tea. Got it reduced in Waitrose on Wednesday. I had planned on getting a Madras using the money off voucher that was on my Waitrose App but they didn’t have any in stock. The CTM is nice anyway. Got some onion bhajis to go with it, yum.

One of the things I always look forward to after a trip overseas is a proper British curry. They just don’t do them properly anywhere else. You have to be careful with your choice of curry house, even in the UK. Some are much better than others. I’m sure we all have a favourite. The problem in Lincoln is that my fave, the Castle View, doesn’t deliver and after a few Guinnesses in the Star I won’t be able to go and collect, hence the Charlie Bigham.

Note the use of TLAs here. I wonder if CTM will still be a thing five hundred years hence. Will someone reading my stuff at that time know what on earth I am on about. Probs not. You could probably say the same thing today 🙂

A road cleaner noisily  makes its way down the road outside our house. I guess it is a good time of day to clean the roads. I’ll inspect the work later. See if I can tell the difference.

T-4 and time to make the tea.

wireless set

Wednesday, January 17th, 2024

Awake from around five thirty ish, I think, and switched on the wireless. Dozed a bit. Listened to the news. It’s quite refreshing to hear of problems with flooding otherwise it’s all war and politics stuff. Why are there so many knobheads in the world? I realise those affected by flooding won’t be looking at it with the same perspective. 

I think I only have the news on as a soporific background noise. THG will normally make a comment about a news item and I have to ask for clarification as I won’t have been listening even though the set is only eighteen inches away. Forty five centimetres.

Quite like the idea of the wireless set. I only use that term here. When using the spoken word I call it a radio. I’m probably being nostalgic. Dunno when it changed from being a wireless set to a radio. It is never a radio set. 

We held the regular scout group committee meeting last night. Much of the conversation was around the shortfall in fundraising since the cancellation of the Lincoln Christmas Market. A few activities in the pipeline to try and replace the revenues. I daresay many local organisations and businesses will have been affected. Westgate School used to make something like ten grand renting out the hall to stallholders and didn’t need to do any fundraising during the rest of the year.

On Friday we have the annual scout leaders Christmas party, held every year in January. Something we always look forward to. I’ve ordered prawn cocktail starter, bangers and mash main and apple crumble pud. What’s not to like? Simple fare. It isn’t always about foie gras, beef wellington and sherry trifle yanow. Hopefully there will be cheese and biscuits 🙂.

Outside it is freezing again, as it should be. Thankfully by Saturday the temperature is set to rise to a heady six degrees by mid afternoon. This is good as Tom and I are off to watch Leicester Tigers in a European cup game against Leinster. Last thing we want is for the match to be abandoned because of a frozen pitch. 

It will still be cold. I remember many years ago rocking up at Lincoln Rugby Club on the off chance of getting a game. Ended up playing on the wing somewhere up north. It was so cold I had to wear a jumper underneath my rugby jersey and being on the wing I hardly saw the ball. Bloody forwards! I forgot to take a towel so had to use the same jumper to dry myself off after the shower. Happy days.

We cancelled today’s milk delivery as there is plenty in the fridge.



Tuesday, December 12th, 2023

Unsubscribe. This was the text of an email I sent/replied to a bloke I’ve never ‘eard of. This isn’t quite true. I got an email off him last Christmas and I suspect one the year before. It began ‘I know you’ve all been waiting for my latest Seasonal message!’ I hadn’t.  His was a cheery end of year missive full of bonhomie with links to videos he’d created illustrating his knowledge of subjects unknown, because I didn’t read the text or watch the movie. Artificial Intelligence. That was it.

I must have picked him up on LinkedIn or simlar. Not aware that I’ve ever met him. He works for ‘a pre-eminent Global law firm providing its clients with exceptional quality and value’. Just looked em up.

I remember getting last year’s Christmas email and pondering whether I should take action. It didn’t address me by name. His wasn’t an offensive message. Quite the opposite, packed with seasonal cheer and absolutely nothing to dislike. I let it go. Last year.

This year’s email tipped me over the edge. I looked for an unsubscribe button. There wasn’t one. The email was a personal albeit bcc job as opposed to being from a mailer. So I just replied simply saying ‘unsubscribe’.

Within seconds I got a personal reply mentioning  my name (Trefor – nobody calls me Trefor, I’m Tref) and saying I would be removed from his list. I felt bad. He had put a lot of thought into his Christmas message and it is Christmas for goodness sake. Still spam though.

I have tens of thousands of unread emails. Every now and again I delete the ones from my account as it approaches capacity. I don’t need more. I have a Hotmail account for registering with sites I think might spam me. The only time I ever look at it is when I need to click on a link to validate the address.

This bloke should stick to LinkedIn for his Christmas messages. Somewhere where if you know him you can choose to read his message because he is a good old boy and his stuff is always interesting and witty. Or not. 

Anyway, now is the time to move on.

Last night I watched some seventies rock classics on YouTube. Sweet Child In Time was one. They all had very flat stomachs and beautifully kept long hair. The beautifully kept hair bit doesn’t feel right for rockers. Wild and unmanageable sounds more appropriate.  They must have all been softies underneath that alcohol and drug fuelled hotel room trashing image. ‘Anyone got any conditioner?’

I quite like the notion of being able to earn a living at something like being a rock star. I don’t want to be a rock star per se and I am not in the right demographic really (obvs). Needs to be something different. Something cool where people would think omg I wish I could do that. Problem is I don’t want the publicity that might go with it. I wouldn’t want w@$%^rs attacking me on social media because I was successful. 

I dunno. Something will turn up 😀 I’m sure we all sometimes think about what we would like to do when we grow up. Somewhere over the rainbow there is a land where happiness reigns. Many people dream of it. Nothing wrong with yearning for utopia. Keep looking. You will get there. Probs. Mañana.

In other news it is good to hear that poetry book sales are on the rise, apaz. Not sold any of mine for years. Lemme know if you want one. I still have copies. Tenner.

The milkman doesn’t come on a Tuesday.

It is btw v yukky out there again. I’ve breakfasted well on avocado toast with a side of smoked bacon and am now sipping tea before getting on with the day. There is much to be getting on with today and we have also decided to at least start thinking about the Christmas food shopping.

This is relatively easy as we reuse the same spreadsheet every year. I will need to preorder a turkey crown. We usually have beef which will be on the menu again in 2023 but the reintroduction of turkey into the diet has been requested on a supplementary basis. 

The great thing this year is that we have no plans to go away after Boxing Day, or even on Boxing Day so we will be able to spend a few days eating leftovers. It will also encourage me to buy a bigger beef joint. Nothing quite like very pink in the middle beef sandwiches and the bigger the joint the juicer the meat. 

Not going away will also save a lot of dosh on hotel rooms. Fwiw. There are a lot of us.

Dark now. I have Christmas lights up in the shed. They need properly arranging really but I stuck em up quickly last night. It’s the first time I’ve had lights. These normally go on the tree in the front room but this year THG has decided white lights are in so I’ve repurposed the multicoloured ones that I really like 🙂