Tag Archives: positive thinking

The Brown Sauce Solution

Sorry if the header photo startled you, but I’m struggling for something suitable and thought I’d carry on the pink theme. I know it will be a controversial choice, particularly with Julia, but what is life without a little controversy to spice it up?

It’s the early hours of the morning, Storm Jorge is howling outside, though there is, as yet, no rain, and the internet is full of dire predictions of a “weather bomb”. This is good (in a way), as it means people have stopped talking about coronavirus. I suppose when you are faced with floods and gales the less immediate stuff, like the possibility of picking up an exotic illness, becomes even less important.

Fortunately, being on top of a hill, flooding is unlikely, though I am always a little wary of the wind. Being on top of a hill may be great as a preventative against flooding, but it does tend to be a bit breezy.

I keep thinking of that mystery researcher who will be using my blog in 100 years to do a PhD on Stupidity in the Early 21st Century. Or however an academic would dress it up.

The monarchy is crumbling. We have withdrawn from meaningful politics. Coronavirus is going to kill us all. Boris Johnson has started breeding again. And the weather is getting steadily worse.

But, they will say, despite this the subject seemed more upset at having to eat a bacon sandwich without brown sauce (a popular working class condiment of the time) than he was about the breakdown of society, world recession and global warming. And, dear reader, my future academic researcher would be correct.

You see, I can correct my bacon sandwich problem. I am not able to mend the Royal Family, reboot British politics, cure coronavirus, castrate Boris Johnson or put an end to the excess wind (see previous comment about politics). But I can go to the shop and buy a bottle of brown sauce.

I have decided that as from today I’m going to worry as little as possible and that when I do worry I’m going to worry only about the things I can change.

Global warming – recycle more, use less plastic, eat less meat.

Fossil Fuels – drive less, save up for an electric car.

Bacon Sandwich – buy some sauce.

Politics, the Royal Family and Boris Johnson’s wedding tackle are all problems for someone else.



New Year, new struggle…

It’s a New Year, and I’m having a struggle with finding a suitable title. So far, then, there is little difference between 2016 and 2017.

You can tell the holiday is over because we took the boys back today, one to Victorian splendour in Leeds (where he has a flat in a listed building) and the other to student squalor in Sheffield. Julia is currently sitting and looking lost – she says it’s too quiet.

That’s not actually our normal measure of the ending of the holidays. The official start of our Christmas is the day we buy the cheese footballs, and the official end is when we finish them. We finished the last few tonight, on our return from Leeds.

I’m not really sure how we came to develop this “tradition” – Julia asked me to get them for our first christmas together and it grew from there. Does anyone else have family Christmas traditions? We can’t be the only ones.

The start of a new year is always a tempting time for resolutions but I have a poor record with resolutions so all I’m saying this year is that I’m going to take a positive attitude to things.

I was going to try posting every day but I’m already an hour and a quarter late for that.

As for the weight loss/health resolution – see my previous comments on cheese footballs.

The beauty of looking on the bright side is that I enjoyed the cheese footballs.


A Man Without a Smiling Face Must Never Write a Blog

Or, as the Chinese proverb says: A Man Without a Smiling Face Must Never Open a Shop. I’m dubious about many of these so-called Chinese proverbs, but the content is accurate, even if the attribution is not.

I’ve been unloading the stress of the day by complaining about roadworks, emails and various other things when I thought I’d look up the ten worst days in history. Compared to them I’m doing well. I have not been killed, tortured or rendered extinct today. Nor am I hungry, thirsty or in fear of my life.

In fact I’ve had a more than adequate day. It would have been better for the absence of roadworks, emails and the variety of other things that happened, but we did make jam and  biscuits, we did start to get the Technicolour Dreamcoat song right and we did have a visit from a representative of the Woodland Trust, who thanked us for our efforts in tree recording, gave us gifts and delivered copies of the latest report. It’s nice to be appreciated by someone. Sound people, the Woodland Trust, and I’m not just saying that because I’ll be needing a job in a month’s time.


Our Woodland Trust Reports

Quite apart from the work they do with the farm, they have supported Quercus in various ways over the years and always treated the group with respect. Working with them is one of the main things we are going to miss when we leave because it’s a proper project with the possibility of important results. It’s a bit more serious than looking after a few hens or making biscuits, though I do like chickens and biscuits. Mainly biscuits, if I’m honest.




Anyway, back to smiling – it makes everything seem better. I could have made myself quite miserable by moaning about my day, but instead I’ve made myself happy. (Though that may be because of the biscuits).




Singing the Blues

Yesterday, I had a quick walk round with the camera around 4pm. It was overcast, but reasonably warm and the wind had dropped. It wasn’t ideal but having added a few species to the list in recent weeks I’m always happy to have a look round. It would be nice, I thought, to add some decent shots of a Common Blue, or to see the Brimstone come back and rest for a while.

That’s the basis of positive thinking. Because it makes you believe that doing things brings a greater chance of success you do things. And because you do things you get greater success. It’s not the thoughts that work the miracle, it’s the activity.

I’m not knocking it, just pointing out to everyone who exhorts me to cheer up and be positive that you can be negative and still successful as long as you keep active. I may write a book about my philosophy “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success without Smiling” (Apologies to Frank Bettger).

Anyway, it paid off, though not in the way I anticipated. I didn’t get a better shot of a Brimstone and I didn’t get a better shot of a Common Blue. What I got was a mediocre shot of a Holly Blue. I thought I may have seen one by the ivy in the hedge on the day I saw the Common Blue, but I hadn’t been sure. However, it’s definitely a Holly Blue and the proof is now shown below and on the Butterflies and Moths page.

I used to see a lot of them when I was a gardener, particularly in the old-fashioned overgrown gardens attached to Victorian houses, so when I saw the flash of blue today I recognised it as being slightly different from the Common Blue and was pleased to be able to prove myself correct. I’m starting to like the butterfly garden!