Tag Archives: Twitter

The ethics of biscuits, and other modern dilemmas

I have an unopened packet of biscuits on my desk. This isn’t a normal event, as people don’t generally trust me with biscuits, but so far I have not weakened. The problem with Hobnobs, apart from them tasting nice, is that they have loads of oats in them. That, as far as I’m concerned, elevates them to the level of health food, and it’s difficult to see what the downside of eating them. It’s like eating porridge, but they aren’t grey and nobody tries to make you eat them without sugar.

There’s just a small voice at the back of my mind stopping me (the one saying “No more biscuits, fatso!”), but it’s getting weaker…

My next ethical dilemma is Twitter. It really is the ultimate displacement activity, it takes far too much time and it’s the natural home of idiots. The problem is that it does contain a lot of interesting stuff (including tweets from people I follow on WordPress). I’ve just been looking at a tweet from @CarefarmingUK . It’s a timely reminder that we’re part of a larger movement (it’s very easy to get too wrapped up in yourself when you work out here) and it has a link to a great article.

I wouldn’t like to do without it, but I do feel guilty when wasting time reading it. Yes, I know it’s a question of self-discipline, but it’s nice to have a vice that isn’t fattening. I’m @quercuscommy, if anyone wants to waste time.

The next problem is photography. I waited about twenty minutes to get the photo at the top of the page, managing just a selection of tails and empty frames as the parents went back and forth to the box. It’s not a great shot, but I was happy to get it. I also got another go at the woodpecker and a starling. Was it worth it? I think so. Should I have been doing something more productive? Er…well…

Anyway, I’d better go now as I need to do some work.

I’ll just leave you with one last shot.




A good day for numbers

The first number is 200 – this being my 200th post on this blog. It’s nothing compared to some people, and even I’m not that impressed, but it does give me a pause to count.

I’ve been writing this for 305 days according to my rough mental arithmetic. In that time I have posted twice a day on several occasions. And yet I’ve only managed to average two days in three. Now, I did treat my wife to four days away for our 25th Wedding Anniversary last autumn, but that doesn’t really make much of a dent in the hundred missed days. I’ll just have to hold my hands up to being lazy. But you probably know that by now.

I did think about challenging myself to write 100 posts in 100 consecutive days, but that’s not difficult. It’s easier, for instance, than thinking up 100 titles.  Then there’s the question of quality…

However, moving on to another number – I have now reached 1,000 followers on Twitter. I’ve been looking forward to it for some time, watching the numbers surge forward and drop back and eventually I made it. Now I’m wondering why. There’s some great stuff to read on Twitter, even though it’s hidden under heaps of absolute dross, but half of me wonders if I’m just taking part in a massive exercise in vanity.

It’s ironic that the day I reach a milestone I have hardly tweeted, due to forgetting my card reader. It doesn’t seem right tweeting without pictures (this one won’t be posted until I get home and put the pictures up).

A card reader, for those of you who are accustomed to the finer aspects of technology, is a device you used to plug into a USB port that allows your computer (which still uses Windows XP) to read the card out of your camera. This, by the way, is my level of technology both at home and at work, though I do at least have a working printer at home and I don’t have to lock my stapler away.

I went to look at a new computer a few weeks ago but left because I didn’t like the way the salesman spoke to me. He appeared to think I was prehistoric, and an idiot.. I thought I’d keep my money. As things stand, I have a slow but functioning computer and he has no commission from the missed sale.

One – nil to me, I think.


According to the stats provided by WordPress, Wednesday at 6 am was my best posting time. This has altered to Tuesday, but 6 am remains the same. It’s 17.55 now, so I’m just about on time. Whether it will make a jot of difference I don’t know, but I just can’t help myself. I blame it on Twitter an the endless quest for more followers (672 @QuercusCommy if anyone is interested).

I made the willow water today, with help from two of the group. It’s now standing next to the comfrey feed (which is now looking distinctly murky). A word to anyone thinking of making willow water – I’m going to try a big knife and cutting board next time as neither scissors nor secateurs seem to work well on soft twiggy material. I’m also going to use a wide necked jar. It’s good to re-use plastic bottles but the effort of loading a bottle with inch long bits of twig into an empty Coke bottle isn’t really worth it.


That’s two part of the four part plan in action. The bottle is waiting for a suitable courgette. All I need to do now is form some more plans, and let’s face it, that isn’t difficult. Go to any committee meeting in the world and you will find there are always plenty of people with plans, but not many willing to put any work in.

On the school front, I’m getting more efficient and actually looking forward to the Friday visit as I have, for once, tied all the loose ends up. We’ve also had another enquiry from a school that has never visited before, so our marketing seems to be working. I’m quite excited about both these visits, and I’m also happy about the way the Chive Blossom Vinegar has worked out. Now I just need to find out how to use it.


We just had an email as I was writing this. I suppose it’s a case of pride coming before a fall because I’ve been so happy about new visits and bookings. After spending the best part of four months arranging for a school visit (spread over two days), after spending hours with the teacher and giving her pre-visit materials she has just told us, with two week’s notice, that they aren’t coming. We actually lost a possible three day booking because someone wanted one of the days and we will both be losing two day’s work because we are paid to deliver the sessions. And not paid when we don’t deliver them.

Sound effects of ranting, gnashing, grinding and being told to be quiet by wife…

Such is life. I have better things to do than allow regrets and idiots to rule my life.

Meanwhile, using my 20th Century in a week analogy, we have just reached 1952. The Second World War is receding as a memory, rationing is winding down (though it will still be a factor when my parents marry in this year, my father and father-in-law are both back from Korea (one bringing a Japanese bride and one to marry his childhood sweetheart) and we have a new Queen.

My father-in-law will stay in the Navy to complete his 25 years and my father will leave after completing seven years, apply for a job with Marks & Spencer and be turned down because he is wearing suede shoes.

Suede shoes eh? How times change!

Seeds, salads and soil

Having been seduced by exotic seeds and tempted by Twitter I’m now getting back to the straight and narrow. I’m going to grow salads and help my fellow man. If these salads can include bamboo shoots and the helping can be done via Twitter I will, of course, be a very happy man but if not, it’s back to basics.

This is why we started Quercus Community. It was meant to be about working in the open air, growing good food and making compost. Well, it wasn’t originally about compost but give a man access to garden waste and animal manure and there can only be one result.


When I worked in the antiques trade simply breathing the air of an antique shop was enough to calm me down, in this new life I find that compost works the same magic.

Meanwhile, I have been suffering stress from both Twitter and the computer, one being fixed by the application of a sense of balance, and th eother being fixed by a pen knife. It’s probably best not to ask about that repair.

And yes, I did have to thing long and hard before selecting the three “s” words in the title…



In which I enter the Twittersphere…

I’m on Twitter now in a self-seeking effort to publicise the project. I’ve been on for a while but really concentrated on button pressing this weekend, following people who run care farms, are local or are into the same sort of things that we are. I have moved from 14 followers, which was where it had been for months, to 283 though I am not sure some of them should be allowed access to a keyboard.

The problem is that after I hit 2,000 follows in the selfish hope of being followed back, I found that I couldn’t follow any more. So if anyone out there wants to follow me, feel free, but it may take a while until I can follow you back. The address is @QuercusCommy. They don’t let you have enough letters for a proper name.

The trouble is that they say you get more followers if you put a picture of yourself in the profile. That’s OK for normal people but I have a tendency to look grumpy at the best of times, and downright homicidal from some angles.

One of the kindest things that was said in the discussion was “Can I have a copy of that one, I want something to scare the kids away from the fridge.”

My hair and beard have grown a little since then and it now looks like my stuffing is leaking so I’m going to have a tidy up and get some new photos. In the meantime I’ll see if the followers keep coming when I have the picture up. I currently have 285 so they haven’t stopped yet.


I think the books in the background make me look like an intellectual, My wife points out that both Dr Crippen and Buck Ruxton were well-educated, but you still wouldn’t want either of them as the public face of your business.

That’s @QuercusCommy – read about my boring life as it happens…