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early one morning

the kettle

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…

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early one morning

false alarm, clock

That moment when you realise that you need a new alarm clock radio: when you wake up in the night and glance at the clock to see it saying 7.10 and think to yourself what a great nights kip. Then when glancing at your phone it says 1.10am and you realise an LED is starting to go on the radio!

Like many of you I’m sure we listen to the news in bed. I mostly switch off my hearing at this point as it is mostly bad news or tedious stuff but this morning I couldn’t help noticing the repetition on multiple bulletins of the news of the Prince Andrew lawsuit and separately of some female silicon valley entrepreneur who had been done for fraud. 

The thing that came to mind regarding Andy was the frequent repetition of the words sex offences on prime time news. Made me wonder how many parents would be explaining to their kids over the breakfast table what this term meant.

The fraudster stuff just got a bit repetitive especially as I’d never heard of her. Probably never will again once the cell keys have been thrown away. She got multiple 20 year sentences. Had she “just” gone and murdered someone she would probably have got off more lightly.

Walked to Waitrose with John for a few bits. It’s around a mile each way. Cold out but warmed up with the brisk walk. Passed a retirement flat with a faded name sign “Ren and Dave, Dunromin” or similar. I got the spellin rite. Was definitely Dave. Dave in fact was just stretching his legs at the door as we walked past. Important years when there are still two of you around.

Got home and stuck a new trellis near the potting shed door. The flimsy old one wasn’t up to supporting the rose which was being held up by bits of string tied to nails. There wasn’t much enthusiasm to stay out in the cold to help so it took me more than one attempt to get it level but the end result is fine. I now know the correct trellis hanging technique. 

Noted also that the garlic I planted in the autumn is poking through in two rows. The first sign of renewal. New life. Enough garden jobs for one day. Don’t want to do them all in one go. Tomorrow I plan on hammering in some new fence posts to hold the plum tree.

Now sat in the shed listening to a spot of Rachnmaninoff whilst charging my fitbit. I note the date on it is Lay sometime. Shows how long it is since I used it. Was on 0% charge. Problem is I don’t wear a watch but I have decided to start using it when exercising which I want to do more of. 

Before Christmas I always had a psychological block against downing tools and going for a walk/to the gym/pool. The problem was, as with many jobs, I had more work I could be doing than time available so I didn’t do the exercise. Now with a vastly curtailed working week the mental blockage has been removed.

Off to the pool at 3pm. Hoping it won’t be as busy as yesterday.

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early one morning

06.09

06:09. There is something arty about that time. It isn’t symmetrical but feels as if it is. 60:90 isn’t quite the same. Personal preference.

Mayne you are a 60:90 kind of person. Doesn’t sound like I am. It would be funny if the whole world was divided into 06:09 and 60:90 types. Maybe it is. Maybe I’ve just stumbled across a hitherto undiscovered law of nature or similar.

Astounding!  Academics will devote entire careers to the exploration of the deep meaning of this. Whole new industries will be formed around the twin concepts. Is it good versus evil? Doesn’t feel as if it is. It isn’t as black and white as that.

I will be selling 06:09 t-shirts to kickstart the whole activity. Not 60:90 t-shirts obvs. I can’t do everything yanow and philosophically it wouldn’t feel right.

Today is a Bank Holiday btw. Feels like another Sunday for some reason. Bank Holidays should feel uplifting. A bonus extra day in your life. Not in January. Went for a swim. I’ve never seen the pool so rammed. After a while I hit the sauna and another occupant pointed out that most people go back to work tomorrow so might keep the 11am booking to see how it goes. 

Lots of people decide they need to shift a bit of timber after Christmas but I reckon a couple of weeks should see it all go back to normal. The new normal? What is the new normal? What was the old normal? I can’t remember that far back.

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early one morning

steady rain

Steady rain. Refilling any water collecting containers left in place for that purpose. Not that any of them will already be less than full to the brim. I need to empty the water buts around the greenhouse as I didn’t clean them out last year and at one stage a blockage stopped my self levelling system from working. The sound of the rain is very relaxing. This is nothing new but significant enough to be restated. 

I hear some noises from the kitchen and the occasional sound upstairs. A radio programme comes in and out of hearshot as the listener moves around.

The beech hedge, not copper beech, is very rusty brown. I didn’t notice the change. Not much will be moving in the garden in this weather. No avian activity. I’ve certainly not been sent any flight plans. They don’t normally bother anyway 🙂

A red and a blue balloon lie motionless on the conservatory floor. Leftovers from a Boxing Day birthday.

This morning at 6.30 when I took up the tea the gleaming wet path stood out as the only visible thing in the back garden. Next door’s fir tree stood silhouetted against the pre dawn sky.

The new tarpaulin, carefully tied around the patio furniture, has already come adrift. Sigh. Gotta go. Just William on four.

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early one morning

milkman delivers

Nudged gently awake by the milkman at 5am this morning. The bastard. Not really. I was already awake and heard the gentle opening of the front porch door and a barely discernible clunk as four full bottles of semi skimmed were deposited carefully in the half empty crate in the corner. Not a chink chink to be heard.

When I said “not really” I was addressing two potential sources of misinformation. Firstly the milkman did not physically nudge me. That would have been a bit odd. You can picture the note on the front door: 

“Dear milkman, I need to get up early today. The front door is open. Would you mind popping upstairs and giving me a nudge. Please be as quiet as you can as I don’t want to wake the wife. She would be cross. Cheers, Tref”

Secondly, and in all fairness to the milkman, I have no idea whether he is a bastard or not. It is irrelevant. As far as I am concerned he provides our household with a valued service that we are keen to continue supporting. Of course I’d rather he wasn’t a complete tosser but I suspect that he is not otherwise he wouldn’t get up as early as he does to deliver his goods.

The morning has flown by. It is a well known fact that time does this when you get older and crossing the threshold of sixty presumably nudges it into an extra gear. The biggest surprise is that Einstein did not incorporate this into his General Theory of Relativity. It must form a part of it somehow. You heard it first from me (possibly).

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early one morning

6:00

The bedside clock showed 6:00. Six am. It entered my head that this was a fairly pure number. It seemed whole, had beauty. It was nothing to do with the time of day. Just the numbers 6:00 in green right there next to my head on the pillow.

As these thoughts assembled the clock changed to 6:01. I felt robbed, mildly. I didn’t get the whole minute. Must have caught it some way through the sixty seconds. The incident was strong enough to stick in my mind for me to record it downstairs a short time later. 

The 6:01 prompted me to get up. Things to do. Busy day ahead with our Annual Christmas Market Party. We gather around the fire in our front room and sing carols. It’s a fantastic evening. I don’t do the religious thing but I do  do the carol singing. I love singing carols. 

The ingredients for the beef stew for tomorrow’s lunch have now been assembled on the chopping block in the middle of the kitchen. These include some of my home grown onions and garlic. Deeply satisfying. The beef isn’t home grown. That wouldn’t be practical but the other ingredients could be. Even the Timothy Taylors Landlord could be a home brew although the taste would not be the same. 

The streaky bacon would have been doable. Our old house in Greetwell Gate used to have a pigsty out the back. The deeds had a clause allowing us to keep a pig. Never did. My grandmother used to keep a pig but they changed the law saying it had to be slaughtered in an abattoir and that killed off the home grown pig industry, so to speak.

Our front room is in dire need of a tidy. It has been a dumping ground for things that need to be packed away somewhere. Some of my dad’s stuff. Four boxes of glasses we bought for general purpose party use. The supermarkets have stopped lending out glasses. I bought 96 wine glasses and 96 tumblers. They will need a home after tonight.

Anyway the tea is made. I’m off back upstairs.

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early one morning

Arise…

I lay in bed this morning debating whether to just stay there or get up and go downstairs. Bed was warm and cosy and last night there had been frost on the ground so downstairs, before the heating had kicked in, didn’t necessarily feel quite as attractive. 

It’s one of those situations where your mind feels somehow trapped in its surroundings. It was dark except for the clock radio and the little light filtering in around the edges of our heavy bedroom curtains and my eyes were closed anyway.

I put my specs on. This brings the darkness into focus, strangely, even if I close my eyes. Putting my specs on is a precursor to getting up. I took them off again and laid them quietly back on the bedside table. Sod it, I put them back on and up I got.

Had a quick look around the media. Doesn’t take long. Some chubby jowled fat cat won the Bexley by election for the Tories. Man U scraped a win against Arsenal. Nothing of any consequence. No knighthood for Trefor Davies “Boy will he be surprised when he finds out,” says Queen. No surprise there then 🙂

A Lordship would be more useful. It would get my expenses paid on trips to London. Just have to pop my head round the door of the House of Lords, wave at some of my peers, sign the register and head out for some Christmas shopping and a spot of lunch. Sorted.

Would probs do without the Christmas shopping bit. That’s not my department. I did buy my own birthday present (might have been the Christmas present) last time I was in London. Some shaving kit from Sweyn Forkbeard’s in Camden Market. Badger hair shaving brush, soap and stand. This was donated by me to Anne to give to me as a present yesterday when she declared she had no idea what to get me.

All I really want for Christmas is a couple of pairs of nice warm cotton pyjamas. My stock request from the kids is for them to write me a letter. I don’t need anything bought, but everyone likes to give something tangible don’t they? Except when it’s a feelgood “goat for African villager” type of present.

I think we may have given a goat one year. Not sure. I did plant 500 trees last week. Check it out here. I have to go and make the tea.

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early one morning

scanstuff

Relatively late stroll to the shed at 08.45 this morning. Slept well last night, presumably due to the longer than usual 40 minutes swim. I was pleasantly and gently brought into a waking state by the arrival of the tea tray.

Now listening to a relaxing Classic FM playlist. The official start to the day this morning  is 09.30. In my mind I had it down at 10.30 but now I remember that it was CET. Sokay.

My new Macbook Pro delivery has moved back to Thursday having been brought forward from Monday next week to yesterday. This is not normal Apple operation. One has to assume this is down to a combination of demand at launch, semiconductor supply, global availability of transport and pandemic induced absence from work of drivers. When I ordered it they were saying week commencing 6th December so I suppose it is an improvement.

Made some headway with my new scansnap yesterday. Wasn’t a totes intuitive UI but we got there. However I did begin to understand the deficiencies. For example when scanning photos it is meant to reorientate them if upside down and store them in a photo folder at high (ish – 1.7MB) res. It does this when scanning to the local PC drive but not to the cloud. OK as long as I know.

This means that I’ll have to scan when the mac is switched on, which it always is although it is asleep overnight. It’s not the end of the world but adds a stage to the process of storing it in its ultimate destination, GDrive and Google Photos. 

I have thousands of photos to scan. These are divided into those not in albums, largely mam and dad’s and those nicely presented for the reader with accompanying labels describing what you are looking at. Ours. These are a bit more faff as I have to take them out of the album before scanning and then replace.

The scanning process itself is like lightning. Around 40 photos a minute so the “loose’ pics will be quick to do. I also need to decide on what to do in respect of uploading to Google Photos. GDrive is easy as I just put them in folders. Google Photos stores photos by date (ok and albums if I chose to do so) but the date on a scanned photo is that of scanning. It all means a bit of curation but once it’s done it’s done. The hard copies can go back into a cupboard to be looked at once every thirty years (never).

In other news I have 3 LED units on the blink in the shed. Going down like flies. I bought a replacement and spare ages ago that I have yet to fit but now I’ll need some more!

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early one morning

the darkest hour

The darkest hour is just before dawn, it is said. I googled it for confirmation and it is so. You can’t always rely on Google mind you, try as they might. There are companies who specialise in keeping specific bits of information low in the Google rankings. For example for celebrities who want to keep their heads down after doing something naughty. This is not the case here. Notice the use there of a capital G for Google the proper noun versus lowercase g for google the verb. Sgood.

That opening phrase is ripe for exploration but tempting as it is I am merely going to say that in the heart of the city, where we live, it is not so. This is because the urban dwellers amongst us have elected to install artificial lighting to preserve the safe passage of said dwellers when walking home from the pub. There could be other places they want to walk home from at night but pub adequately covers it.

In our house there seem to be light emitting diodes everywhere that also invade the sanctity of darkness. It does feel like an invasion. I could happily do without but the act of switching everything off at the wall before going to bed doesn’t seem to be worth the effort. I do switch things off in the shed, monitors for example, and cover up LEDs to minimise the light pollution emanating from the bottom of the garden which totes doesn’t seem right. 

The 16 port Ethernet switch remains on but I can’t see that from the house so all good. It is somewhat bemusing to observe that most of the ports are in use. In the shed! Hey…

On this occasion, ie now, the darkest hour also represents the time at which I get up and make the tea. Let there be light…

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early one morning

Rand Armitage

Up and not particularly at it at 08.20. There is no rush although I do need to repair the clothes airer before Anne gets back from Liverpeul so the clock is ticking somewhat. She has supplied a new cord for the purpose and it will be done. It is not particularly convenient banging into it every time anyone goes into the utility room, hanging, forlorn, as it does.

I sense I might also mow the lawn this morning. It is once more covered in leaves and mowing is an easy way to remove them to the compost heap, shredding the little blighters in the process. It ‘s not really fair to call them blighters as they have, in their short season on the planet, done the job asked of them.

My other job is to properly fix the handle on John’s bedroom door. The spindle keeps slipping out of the housing on the inside door handle rendering it inoperable from inside the room, if you get my drift. Why it just started to do that after only being installed in 1939 I will never know. The application of a bit of gorilla glue should sort it.

Rand Armitage was on Classic FM as I was preparing breakfast. What sort of name is that I said to Hannah. Actually it was Alan Titchmarch. I was only half listening. No name should come as a surprise nowadays. I then envisaged the young Alan in school whilst his teacher read out the register. Titchmarsh, Alan, “here”. Or even Titchmarsh, Al! I can call you Eddie and Eddie when you call me you can call me Titchmarsh, Al. Works for me.

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early one morning

Remembrance

Up at 05.30. Again. I don’t have a problem with this. In the summer it is great. I sit in the conservatory enjoying the light, and the birdsong. In winter I sit in complete darkness apart from the light of the laptop.

Today is November 11th. Armistice Day. I looked in the media but the headlines are all about Covid 19 and Cop26.The wars of our day?  I’ve seen poppies being worn but not noticed much else in respect of commemorating the event. Maybe I’ve had my head down a bit, doing stuff.

My grandmother was born in 1907 in a miner’s cottage opposite the Blaenhirwaun pit in Cefneithin, on the western edge of the South Wales coalfield. So she would have been seven years old at the start of the first world war, eleven at its conclusion. My grandfather, who I never knew as he was a miner and miners did not live to old age, was born in 1899 I think. Just missing the war but he would have been exempt from military duty.

I was looking for the right word there but exempt was all I could come up with. He wouldn’t have been allowed to join the army but mining was not a particularly pleasant alternative. Anyway that’s not really the line I’m trying to pursue here.

We no longer really have a collective memory of the first world war. We rely on what is provided to us by the media. I’d have occasional conversations with my dad about the second conflict of which he had clear memories.

I don’t think I ever discussed the war with my grandmother. Our family, on my grandfather’s side had a woolen factory in Maesdulais near Tumble and I believe that at the time we made products for the military.  I know no more than that really.

It isn’t difficult to picture those times when I close my eyes. My grandmother’s house had signs from that era. Around her fireplace you could see the outline of the old range that used to be there and on which all the cooking was done. She also had a scales that were used to weigh the pig when it was slaughtered each autumn. We kept a pig at the bottom of the garden.

Although opposite a coal mine, one of a few in the area which must have made up the majority of local employment, it was very much a rural area. A cousin had a farm, Y Garn or Garnedd Fach. He was called Owain Y Garn. I remember visiting once and got my wellie stuck in the muck heap in the farmyard.

Neither factory nor farm are any longer in the family and one of my sisters has the scales. When I finish full time employment one of my projects will be to better document the family history. I started about ten years ago but got to the point where it needed a lot time on the ground putting into it and the project was parked. It is, to me at least, quite fascinating encompassing very recognisable historical periods and events such as the religious revival, the industrial revolution and the move away from a farming led economy and then the disappearance of the mining industry.

I will be stood on the platform at Lincoln railway station at 11am and will spend a moment thinking about the first world war and the men who gave their lives for us. We wouldn’t have conflicts such as these were it not for leaders and politicians who in their wisdom decide to get us involved in them. They are the same type of person at COP26 discussing the world’s approach to climate change. God help us.

Categories
early one morning fusion

golf

Big end of season golf tournament today. I sat “big” but there are only seven of us. It is a big day out. These midweek days out are the best, when you would normally be chained to your desk, or tools. We are a mixed bunch: a plumber, water consultant (who knows?), NHS manager, mechanic, educational sector business development, a gentleman of leisure and me.

Our common denominator is that we are mostly ex rugby players. I say “ex” rugby players but reality is you can never be an ex rugby player. A rugby player never hangs up his boots. It’s just that the gap between games gets longer. I’m currently at 12 years, a mere pause.

The weather today is going to be dry but cold. 9 degrees celsius with a North North Westerly. A good wind if your destination is the Azores but a cold one if you are playing golf. I’m sure it won’t be as bad as I make out but it is the first cold snap of the season and a reminder of the winter ahead.

You know when winter is a coming when you have started making arrangements for the festive season. The parties that were put on hold are being restarted and there has even been talk of Christmas presents in the Davies household. Still plenty of time but all I can say is don’t leave it until Christmas Eve like I did one year with disastrous consequences. Also when you both agree that you won’t buy each other a present this year just ignore it and go ahead and buy her one anyway because she will definitely be buying you one.

It is ridiculous that deciding what we want for Christmas should ever be a problem which it always is because we don’t really need anything. In fact we are not wanting for anything either which I accept is a very lucky situation to be in. The electric bike I’ve just splashed out on is in theory a joint 60th birthday and Christmas present to myself but in reality I’ll want something to open on Christmas Day and it ain’t going to be a bicycle pump.

I will be content with everyone having a relaxed and happy time. Last year we all got together against government guidelines and had our usual family Christmas albeit without the traditional carols at the Morning Star and our Christmas Market Party which had hitherto gone uninterrupted for over thirty years. I’m sorry Boris but there was no way the kids were staying in their pokey flats in London for Christmas and you had anyway by then lost all vestiges of credibility when it came to covid rules and example setting.

Last year was important because it was our last Christmas with Dad who passed away during the summer. I kind of sensed it at the time as he was getting increasingly frail with lots of needs. We had a good time with him and had lots of cuddles and I’m sure he enjoyed being with us. This will be our first Christmas without both sets of parents which I am sure Anne and I will dwell on for a while. 

It reminds me that we have a fairly huge task ahead of us in the need to sort out some of mam and dad’s effects. I’m talking photos, letters and other important family mementoes such as mam’s nursing qualification certificate. My idea is to scan all these in and keep them online in a family archive. The nice surprise was in the number of letters we have to work through. People don’t write letters like they used to and fortunately mam kept them all. 

I have a plan to write letters myself but it hasn’t got very far yet, entirely due to the speed at which I can put pen to paper compared with the “lightning” flow of my fingers across a keyboard.

This Christmas should represent a watershed in that I have determined to stop full time work and to focus on doing things that I like. This will still involve some work but only doing stuff that I enjoy. Anne’s Vans is also going to take up more of my time which is really cool. It’s such a lovely business to have. When returning customers thank you for the fantastic time they have had that is really uplifting. Lots happening in the Anne’s Vans world which I’m sure you will find out about soon enough.

One of the side effects of the growing success of the business is the need to move our holidays from the summer to either side of the season. This isn’t a hard and fast rule as we fortunately have Coops our mechanic and business partner to fill in any gaps when we aren’t around but it does mean we are less likely to spend long times away during the summer period.

That said we are off to the IoM TT Races this year and the Euro-IX get together in Tempere follows on directly after that. I’m really pleased to have been invited to Euro-IX. We will also miss the start of the season because of our big trip across the pond. 3 ½ weeks or so taking in tobago, Miami, the Big Apple and Boston. A great itinerary but one that will test our constitution with all those hotel nights and dining out. I dare say you will see lots of pics from the trip.

The other big trip already in motion is to do a month following the rugby in the South of France in September of 2023. We are planning to go in one of the vans with occasional breaks in hotels to recover. Already have some match tickets for Nice. Cmon Wales, and Italy for those are the two games I have tickets for and I have already invited an Italian friend. We haven’t figured out what to do about the vans for that month yet but there is a scenario where we only hire to people wanting to take them for the whole month that we are away. We shall see.

Time to make the tea and to upgrade to Monterey 12.0.1…

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early one morning miscellany

the simple life

The milkman came at 05.15 this morning. I know this because I was awake and the bedside alarm  clock read 05.20. I had finally remembered to change it to GMT last night before nodding off and it gains 5 minutes every 6 months. We should get a new one really but it has sentimental value having belonged to Anne’s parents. The switch away from daylight savings was just that, a flick of a switch, or the push of a button in the case of our clock. The resetting to an accurate time is a little more effort and was not done on this occasion hence the 5 minute mental calculation.

This isn’t a biggie apart from the fact that every month or so I have to add a minute to the calculation. Daft really. We should get a new clock. This one is fiddly but yanow what it works, ish. It’s probs not enough of a hassle to merit wasting the planet’s resources on a newer clock.

We waste too much. When the kids were small the amount of packaging that would need to be put out for recycling after Christmas Day was ridiculous. At least nowadays the presents can be transferred between bank accounts online! 

When you have busy lives it is too easy to be wasteful. I quite like the notion of being more sensible with our resources although I do need to apply myself a lot more to the concept. It is far too easy to spend too much on food when going to the shops, for example. We don’t really need those bottles of wine, or maybe not need ones quite as expensive. 

The simple life has its attractions although I have yet to try it out. It is in some respects boring. A few years ago I did sober October with Steve and Rob from around the corner. For most of the month this was no problem. However the week at the RIPE conference in Amsterdam when everyone else was partying on expenses every night and I was on the sparkling mineral water was boring. Ok I managed sober October but concluded that a balance had to be struck.

As a footnote, on the last day of that October we had a big night out in London starting at the Rivoli bar at the Ritz and moving on to a posh night out nearby. Life is too short to do the hermit thing. Like I said it’s about getting the balance right.

When we stay in London as is reasonably often the case nowadays with three out of four offspring in residence there we have long moved on from staying in cheapo hotels. It’s more about comfort and experiencing the good things in life. Travelodge = crap mattress, Trafalgar = cosy mattress. Simples.

When it comes to hotels it is also about the quality of the breakfast. This isn’t a major issue but I do at least want to have a breakfast as good as I can make myself at home. This is mostly not the case in hotels.

This morning I’ll be having porridge oats with yo gurt and perhaps a banana. Never used to see the point of porridge but I do get it now. As long as there is fruit available to liven it up. We don’t always have yoghurt in but do right now. It’s worth making your own. Turns out much better than the regular stuff you get in the shops. 

This is the case for most home made food items although you have to work quite hard to emulate a decent indian restaurant curry. I’m really talking stuff like chutney, pickled onions, bread even though that can be hit and miss. The best home made bread easily beats the best shop bought bread.

Time to make the tea…

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early one morning miscellany

The Petition

“Cognitive behavioural therapy pioneer dies at 100”. This is of course sad but he or she had a good innings, as we say. I cannot elaborate on that opening line. I only read the headline and didn’t drill into the article itself. Having told you I now need to resist the temptation to go back and investigate further. 

It is better thus. One of the many facts I will likely never know more about, unless it is covered on the news on the radio when my brain happens to be tuned in. I say this because we usually have the Today Programme on Radio 4 when we wake up but I don’t typically listen unless Anne specifically refers to an ongoing news item. The wireless epitaph of said pioneer might only merit a sentence fitted in before the headlines or the weather, just before the top of the hour. 

Most of us wouldn’t even get that. “Yesterday in the UK another thousand people died”. That would be about it. Matters not. Enjoy it while you can. Life that is.

There is a petition doing the rounds at the mo. “Save Bailgate Parking”. I signed it when there were only 12 other names down but now it is at nearly 500 which is good. At least me and nearly 500 others think so. The residents of the Bail who are trying to muscle in on convenient parking places mostly used by shoppers presumably don’t think the same way. 

Sympathise not. They knew the score when they moved in, unless they too are approaching their hundredth birthday and are able to claim that the traffic wasn’t so bad when they first moved there in 1937. I don’t want to appear ageist but I can only say that they probs shouldn’t be driving a car at their age anyway.

It was 05.30 when I woke up and got out of bed this morning. I had had enough kip, thank you very much, and felt able to ease gently into the day downstairs whereI would not disturb anyone else. Last night I did not listen to the news on the radio again even though it was on nobbut eighteen inches from my left ear. Instead I must have slipped gently off into the land of nod, presumably adequately tired from the efforts of the day.

Today I have one thirty minute meeting in my calendar. This doesn’t mean that I will let the rest of the day drift idly by. Nope I’ve got a lot of stuff to do. It’s just that it hasn’t been compartmentalised into time slots and stuck in the diary. 

Depending on the weather I think I might try and squeeze in a walk. This is something I plan on doing more of especially after Christmas when I will have throttled back a bit on the work front, hopefully. It is better to throttle back hopefully than to arrive. No that’s wrong innit. I won’t bother correcting it. You either know the right phrase or you don’t. If the latter, what you been doing all yewer life?

The concept of walking to the shops is a good one. Sensible. Currently I’m more likely to nip there in the car as it is quicker. Waitrose for example is 5 mins by car or 21 by foot, probably a little more for me as I am a slow walker. That’s effectively 45 minutes of walking to what might only be a five minute shop, although I don’t like to rush myself in Waitrose.

If I felt comfortable with using the time in that way it would be good. We shall see. I need the exercise. Let’s get Christmas out of the way first. Of course the weather ain’t going to be great in January…

It makes more sense to walk to the Bail. It has everything I need really including the odd cafe where I could if I so choose and didn’t mind being one of the few blokes in there, meet a friend for a coffee or for a spot of lunch. It does at the moment. Hopefully this sitch will continue if enough people sign the petition. Check it out here.

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diary early one morning

up early again

Up early again. The whoop of the wood pigeons above the back garden seems to be an ever present soundtrack. There is a gentle breeze out there under a cloudy sky but it should be warm enough and we will enjoy a weekend of pottering about after a seemingly manic few weeks.

The garden is about to start giving. We have a broad bean salad planned for tonight using the first harvest from our very first crop. The strawberries need attending to as a bird has already taken its fancy to the first of what look like many fruit. Wimbledon fortnight is about to start.

We have no tickets this year. Overlooked in the confusion of covid. This isn’t to say we have nothing planned for the summer. England v Pakistan in Cardiff is to be followed by a week in London and then later a few days in Caernarfon. Somewhere in between we have a graduation ceremony to attend and another son’s gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

We also need to try out our new campervan, the fourth in the fleet. This one comes in v good condition but needs a refresh to its interior. This will happen over the winter and in the meantime is for “personal, domestic & pleasure” as the insurance policy says.

The new van has not publicly been named yet although I do have a working name in mind. Still mulling it over. We don’t know where to go yet – just a weekend jaunt. We usually go away with our crowd of pals in September but nothing has yet been arranged. Also a trip to the Latitude Festival has been mooted but no decision made as yet and we may not go. My memory of our last attendance at that festival seems to be dominated by the appalling beer on offer. I didn’t even know they still made Tuborg lager.

The plan for this afternoon is to give the shed its annual wood treatment spray. I must make sure that I wear appropriate face protection as my visit to Clearview opticians last year around the same time revealed a film of the spray on my glasses lenses. Some of the stuff must have been inhaled and it killed off some of the lawn when I sprayed the garden furniture so not good. The lawn recovered as did I.

This evening is already planned out. Wales v Denmark. Should, unusually, be an exciting game as both sides played some entertaining football in their last game of the group stages and go into the game expecting to be able to win.