The M1 was quite busy today, so I suspect that we weren’t the only ones out on a Christmas Mission. It was also grey, wet and miserable, but as we were heading into Yorkshire this was not a surprise. Northern weather is famous for its greyness, moisture content and humourless qualities and this was a prizewinning example of its type. When I say that when I win the lottery I’m going to buy a house in a desert, I’m not joking. Well, the “win the lottery” may have an ironic ring, but the “desert” part is heartfelt.
There were still quite a few lorries on the road, despite 5,000 of them being parked in Kent. The Great Kent Car Parking Scheme is, I think, giving us an insight into how the first days of Brexit will go. The only good thing I heard is that due to lorries being unable to come from the Continent there will be a lettuce shortage. This, as far as I’m concerned, is not a problem, and almost makes Brexit worthwhile. IT certainly underlines the unpatriotic nature of salad eating, and the carbon footprint generated by winter vegetarians. Eat carrots in winter, lettuce in Spring, when we can grow our own.
Any way, back to the desperadoes breaking lockdown regulations…
We travelled up, we travelled down. We moved a Covid-tested family member from one Level 3 area to another, where he will spend four days indoors (we will not be socialising with open windows, no matter what the government says) and we will do the journey in reverse.
I can’t say I have any feeling about being a criminal and I don’t think I’ve actually ceded much in the way of moral high ground to Boris Johnson.
I see on TV that they have been vaccinating Chelsea Pensioners, including a D-Day Veteran.
Only one day left at work then I get a week off. It’ll be alot like lockdown but without the satisfaction of being paid by the Government…
If you are of a certain age you will already be running a set of Ian Dury lyrics through your head. If you aren’t, you’ll be wondering what I’m talking about. It’s amazing what a few words can bring back to you. They have just taken me on a 400 word digression, which I have removed and repackaged. They will appear in my next post where I will pretend that I always meant to write a post on nostalgia and British cars.
Blame Charliecountryboyfor this, he mentioned the smell of vinyl seats in a recent post and that came together with thoughts on Ian Dury to form a post that took me back to the age of 19 and the late 70s. As the two thoughts came together the words flowed like automatic writing. Unfortunately they wren’t words about reasons to be cheerful, which was what the post is supposed to be about.
Anyway, back to the subject. I rose from my bed a little before eight, feeling relaxed, reinvigorated and ready for a day of hard work and creativity.
This is not usual.
After catching up on my blog reading (which is still weak and sporadic, I’m afraid) I made breakfast as I heard Julia stirring. Monday is currently a day off for me under the new shop rota, so we take a relaxed view of mornings). After bacon cobs and tea I decided what to do. I decided to watch TV for a while. Then I fell asleep. I have no ideas why, because I wasn’t tired, but I think TV might have switched my brain off.
The I read, made Welsh Rarebit for lunch and wrote and edited. The reason for the editing was that I managed to write 400 words of digression, as mentioned above.
Welsh Rarebit on sourdough toast
Welsh Rarebit on sourdough toast – the bits are from the Dijon mustard – I use one spoonful to add texture then a couple of spoonfuls of English to add a bit of flavour.
Reason to be cheerful number one is a blog post from Laurie Graves. Actually it could be one of several, but I selected this one because it cheered me up. It has pictures of raindrops on leaves and an iris. If you don’t cheer up when you see them you probably don’t like pictures of kittens, and there is no hope for you.
Reason to be cheerful, number two. I am breathing and “dum spiro, spero”, as the Romans used to say. They were very big on mottoes. This one, for those of you who weren’t condemned to do Latin at school, means “while I breathe, I hope”. It is an appropriate motto for a man who is approaching a stage in his life where he has to beat his trousers into submission and take a breather between socks when dressing in the morning.
I had been considering writing one of those lightweight humour books you see in charity shops, taking old age as my subject. Unfortunately, the more I looked at old age, the less funny I found it. Probably the worst bit is that I think I’m getting old, but the literature on age thinks I have years to go before I reach that state. I have turned into one of those crabby old gits who is old long before his time. I probably ought to dislike myself, as I have always said I will never become one of those people.
Summer’s Day – looking over rooftops
Reason number three. It’s sunny. I like it when it’s sunny at this time of year as it’s generally quite pleasant. Though I often say I’d like to live in Arizona when I’m having trouble with arthritis, the reality is that I’m English and in times of great heat I am genetically programmed to turn pink, sweat and complain. Actually, the English are genetically programmed to moan about any weather, only the degree of sweating and the colour of the visible flesh varies. The Scots (I don’t want Tootlepedal to feel left out) are genetically programmed to complain about the weather, and to blame it on the English. He has some first class irises on his blog too.
Reason number four. I’m not losing my dress sense. I’ve noticed that as people get older some of them find it tricky to strike the right balance between fashion, age-suitability and taste. So far, I have not had that problem. The fact that I have always looked like I selected my clothes by a random rummage in a crepuscular charity shop means that it’s unlikely that declining sartorial standards will be noticed.
Reason number five. The Magic Rabbit. I only discovered this creature existed due to a quiz question answer this afternoon. It is a cheery thing just to see, and the name just makes it better. It really is adorable, and that is a word I hardly ever use.
They are already dying out, even though they were only discovered in 1983. Scientists blame climate change, though I think the fact that (a) they live on barren rocky mountains and (b) the Chinese will eat anything that breathes might have something to do with it. In terms of China and rare animals, the likelihood of extinction merely puts the price up. See the stories of the Passenger Pigeon and the Great Auk for proof of that in Europe and America. See my post Hitler and the Avocets for links to the stories of those fine, but extinct, birds.
Julia took this photograph last week, using her phone.
It is the best Long-Tailed Tit photograph either of us has ever taken and has made me wonder why I even bother trying with my camera. I rarely get one in the frame, and when I do they are normally blurred.
She not only has them in the frame and in focus but she has them in an amusing “I’m not speaking to you” pose. We had kids, we had cats, we recognise the pose.
This is what happens when you marry a talented woman. I’m sure I’m not the only blogger to experience this. My breeding days are over and my photography has been surpassed. If she ever starts using public transport I will have nothing to offer.
Meanwhile, the wind has been roaring outside for most of the day. The tail end of Storm Ciara is still with us, despite the promise of it stopping by 3pm.
We dropped Number One Son at the railway station just after 3.00 pm, and it did seem to clear. The wind dropped, the sky turned bright blue and it looked like things were definitely on the up. This lasted until we did the shopping. By the time we finished the shopping the sky was grey again and the rain was starting again.
We didn’t need more rain, as we already have patches of flooding, but weather is like that.
We didn’t need more wind either, as we already had a number of trees down.
Number One Son arrived home over three hours later due to various disruptions – about double the normal time. It was not a good weekend to travel.
Still, he did get home in one piece, our roof is still in place (apart from one tile) and tomorrow is looking better. Our weather may not be good, but it’s rarely very bad either, just bad enough to have a good old grumble.
I will finish with an Owl picture. I’m still able to do decent Owl pictures, even if my Long-Tailed Tits aren’t up to the mark.
The “in” thing in weather forecasting seems to be “polar vortex”. We were given warning of one last night, issued with a yellow snow warning and threatened with the “Beast from the West”. Even if you ignore the sniggering around yellow snow it’s hard to see “Beast from the West” as a frightening headline. It’s the last gasp of a second-rate sensationalist who is struggling to come up with a headline to rival the eternal Brexit stories.
“Pest from the West” could be controversial, so that is out. “Best from the West” sounds like the tag line from a hotel advert and zest, jest and test all lack menace…
I may have settled with “Cold night – might be snow in Scotland”. You can see why I have never been headhunted by a newspaper.
I would also go with Yellow Warning for Snow, or even Amber, as amber is the traditional colour between red and green.
Down round Nottingham we are enjoying breezy but reasonably pleasant weather.
It’s a good thing I took the frost photos yesterday because there was no frost today. We had a few drops of frozen rain, but so far no snow. I’m happy with that. Winter is dragging a bit, even if the weather has been unusually good this time.
There’s still time for snow – it’s not unusual in March and April – but I don’t mind it when things are warmer.
Nothing else of any importance occurred in my life. I’ve been lucky, other people haven’t been as fortunate.
In other news, the M3 motorway is closed by snow and Basingstoke is cut off. I hope all my blogging friends are safe and warm.
At the roundabout at the bottom of our road a car missed the curve and went through the fence, ending up in the High School Playing Fields. It could have been a lot worse.
Jeremy Hardy, a well-known comedian, died from cancer today. He was three years younger than me. Clive Swift also died. He was famous for playing a hen-pecked husband – you can see why I identify with him. He was the father of Joe Swift, the garden designer on Gardeners’ World. I didn’t know that, but it’s easy to see the resemblance once you know.
Time, I think, for a nice cup of tea, some warmth and some sandwich making. I have pickled shallots for tomorrow – they are likely to be the best bit of the day.
As usual I have so much to say that I’m running out of brain to process it all.
It rained this morning. It was heavy, it was windy and, apart from the temperature looked very much like a gusting tropical storm. And it was dark – more like evening than morning.
I had coffee in the garden with Julia in a cold metal container with no lighting and took several photographs. They have removed the bicycle and put up a Christmas Tree.
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This is Julia’s work. Cold, wet and dark.
After that I went to work, packed some parcels, added some more items to the eBay shop and went home. There was slightly more to it than that, but nothing that I haven’t said before.
This is what my work involves – it’s warmer and drier but I can feel my will to live ebbing away. It’s also what the Queen does for a living. I think she probably comes out of this better than me and Julia.
I’ve just been looking at the early months of 2017 on the blog. I seem to have had a much more interesting life in those days, though I did have more spare time, which probably helped. Annoyingly, I also seem to have been a better writer and proof reader.
That gave me the idea for the title, and sent me off to You Tube for an hour or two of nostalgia interspersed with cooking, picking Julia up and checking eBay.
That’s the trouble with the internet – always so much distraction.
I have put the leftover curry in the fridge (for my lunch tomorrow), made the tomato and vegetable sauce for the pasta bake and am currently roasting chicken and vegetables. I keep meaning to take photos but I always forget.
We were planning on seeing the seals at Donna Nook this week, but the weather forecast for Wednesday is looking bad – high winds and rain. We may leave it another week. I actually wrote a second post about the seals last year.
Loking at last November I’m struck by how little we are now doing, and, at the same time, how much remains the same.
I also need to know how to search my own site, instead of searching entire months for infornation. Does anyone know?
Well, I wrote one post, then I wrote another. At that point I decided I needed a third post to link to the previous two. Really I ought to write a sequel to parts one and two of the burger story, but that can wait until tomorrow. My life is so crammed with trivia that it’s hard to fit it all in.
I notice that the clock is nearing midnight, and if I don’t post soon the title will be incorrect.
We were going to have fish pie and roasted ratatouille tonight but it was so cold I changed that to sausages and roasted root veg with cumin and paprika. We put the heating back on on Friday night, which is something we don’t normally do. I also don’t normally need to use successive “ons” in a sentence. It’s always good to do something new.
Whilst seasoning the veg I made two discoveries.
One, the new pot of smoked Spanish paprika is considerably hotter than the old one.
Two, in a kitchen, in the twilight, with aging eyes, cinnamon and cumin don’t look all that different when you are reading spice jar labels. I will put the light on next time.
For desert we had fig rolls and Battenberg cake. Must do better with planning my menus.
The lack of photos may show you how little progress I am making towards my targets in food photography.
I’ve just dropped Julia at work, returned home and turned the computer on to check the weather.
The current weather is cloudy, 1 degree Centigrade (which feels like -3 due to windchill), humidity of 93%, visibility of 12 miles and pressure of 1010 mb.
The first point that occurs to me is that I could tell most of this from sticking my head out of the door. The second is that I don’t know what 1010 mb represents and the third is that I can’t see 12 miles in most directions on account of houses and trees and other environmental clutter. and I don’t understand humidity.
Specifically, I don’t understand why the humidity is currently higher than it is forecast to be for the rest of the day, when it will be raining. To my simple mind 100% humidity is what you find in a swimming pool, so I don’t know how a damp but rain-free morning can be 93% humid when a rainy afternoon is forecast to be 72%.
It’s a mystery, as Toyah Wilcox used to sing.
I looked Toyah Wilcox up on Wikipedia after mentioning her. I then went on to Robert Fripp, Fripp’s uncle Alfie…
The Birkin article, though mentioning his younger brother Archie, fails to mention his older brother Thomas. I sometimes despair at the standard of some Wikipedia entries, though not so much that I’ve ever contributed anything to any of the articles. It seems fair to include Thomas as he seems to have been equally as intrepid as the others.
I’ve lost my Birkin notes, taken about 20 years ago, but I know there is a family link to Jane Birkin. They are a Nottingham family, in case you are wondering about my sudden interest in a random subject.
It’s time to leave you now, as I’ve frittered enough time making an accidentally symmetrical journey between two multi-talented women. A few musings on weather forecasts seem to have taken me quite a way. I am now equipped with new knowledge (which is good) but it is time for breakfast (which is better).