Tag Archives: freedom

Ten Things I Learnt This Week

One, ten point lists are handy things to prompt a blog post. Last week I wrote about ten point lists, but they were already in my mind when I sat down at the keyboard. This week I sat down with a completely empty head and thought ‘What shall I write?’ I then thought ‘What did I learn this week?’ and then ‘Did I learn ten things?’ I’m hoping I did, or I’ll have to change the title.

Two, five hundred words are easy if you start with enough in your head. If you don’t have much to say, they can be a real struggle. I knocked out five 500 word posts on my Wednesday marathon and actually had to cut some to keep it to an average of 500 per post.

Three,sometimes less is better. I couldn’t get a good run at the blog last night and petered out after 250 words. I came close to 500 words twice, but the post was better when it was shortened, so I cut the extras out.

Four, freedom is not always good. The USA, with a tradition of freedom, individualism and pioneering spirit is not finding the Covid situation easy. The Germans and Swiss, who are more regimented and organised, seem to have come through the virus in much better shape. The Brits, as usual, fall between the two extremes and are totally disorganised.

Five, the Americans prefer ‘learned’ to ‘learnt’ and, according to the internet article I read, are irritated by what they see as the mis-spelling ‘learnt’. Users of British English, on the other hand, favour ‘learnt’ and see learned as an acceptable alternative. This is probably not accurate as (a) it’s on the internet and (b) I’m sure there are relaxed Americans an picky Brits about.

Six, it’s fun just relaxing and reading WordPress. There is so much to learn.

Seven, the average person eats 20-30 plant foods in a year. I got that from Helen at Growing out of Chaos. For years now I’ve been trying to keep our diet varied, and if that is the benchmark I seem to be succeeding. Like Helen, we are hovering around 60. That’s without foraging, as I’ve let that slip badly.

Eight, I now know a lot more about Edward VIII, anti-semitism, fascism and royalty medallions of the 1930s than I did at the beginning of the week. You might have guessed this from the photographs. Now isn’t the time to go into all that, as I haven’t yet written it all.

 

Nine, on-line grocery shopping is more difficult than you think. I thought I’d got it all organised but this week I still managed to order frozen spinach instead of fresh and the packs of six cobs instead of four. The big ones that come in the packs of four are good for lunch, but the small one, which come in the packs of six) are only a few bites before they are all gone. That means you have to take four for lunch, and that looks like  you are being greedy.

Ten, saag is not, as I had thought, an Indian word for spinach, but for greens of many sorts. The word for spinach is palak. I got this from Helen too. At this point, I would like to apologise to readers from the Indian sub-continent. I know there is no such language as ‘Indian’ but I am not well up on the differences and nuances of the various languages and decided to keep things simple.

So, that’s it, ten things I learnt this week. I have an uneasy feeling that I learnt more than that but haven’t retained it. That, I’m afraid, is what happens as you get older.

 

Pictures of Happier Times

I couldn’t find the photos I was looking for, so I hope these make a suitable substitute.

This group is from the Whitby area, in the days when we used to get into the car and drive where we liked. With hindsight, we should probably have done less driving, both from the viewpoint of pollution and cost. We will be making some changes once the lockdown finishes.

Spring flowers are always good – I am missing them at the moment as we live in an urban area and the local front gardens are a bit of a wasteland. We will be looking at the front garden with a view to making it more of a spring garden – at the moment it is great for butterflies and pollinators but it is only just about to start. We should look at starting the flowering earlier. We have said this before but always put it off on the grounds we have plenty of time. As current events show, this isn’t actually true.

Apart from driving where we liked, we could also have as much food as we liked. The fragility of our supply chain has been an eye-opener over the last month, as has the behaviour of panic-buyers. It has been very dispiriting to see pictures of bins of discarded food at a time when some people are struggling to get any at all.

After holding back and buying only what we needed, we spent a nervy couple of weeks worrying about supplies. If it ever happens again I’m not sure what I’d do, because our political masters and supermarket CEOs were wide of the mark when they talked of “plenty” of food being available and “robust” supply chains. I haven’t been able to buy flour or even a bread kit for the last month. We even had two weeks when we couldn’t buy courgettes or potatoes.

Finally, a few Robins and a sheep – something to look forward to as things return to something that resembles normality. I’m not sure they will ever be quite as they were because I sense we are all a little more afraid of what the future may hold for us.

It’s tempting to get philosophical and political here, but instead I’ll end with a feelgood story.