Over the course of the last year, Maisy’s repeated use of a shortcut across the garden has resulted in the erosion of a *Maisy Tunnel*, through which she can dart at phenomenal velocity. I tried taking a photo of her rocketing through, but I think I’m going to need stronger light and a higher shutter speed for this one.
Look! Green things! Coming up out of the ground!
We were given three blueberry bushes for Christmas and we’ve decided that it’s now time to plant them out. We’ve put them in the back garden, rather than down at the plot, as it gets better light (and we’re also not entirely committed to keeping the allotment in the long term).
Not blogging, that’s for sure.
I’ve got a couple of new toys, a Squier Vintage Modified fretless Jazz Bass, and a Zoom H2, which is a nifty little recording device that contains 4 internal microphones and records WAV and MP3 files to SD cards in startlingly good quality. It’s loaded with bells and whistles and is just what I’ve been looking for all these years. I’ve also restrung my acoustic guitar and have purchased a set of strings for my Epiphone SG. This happens quite infrequently. I’ve also got my guitars up on wall hangers these days, which means that I have to spend less time picking them up off of the floor and retuning them.
I have a new Krups coffee machine, the XP4020 ((the Krups website is antler-scratchingly bad, so I refuse to link to it)). I’m getting superb espresso out of it but it’s still taking some time to get used to. The grounds are very wet after use (which is supposedly due to the grounds not being tamped down hard enough, but I’ve tried a range of forces between featherly and elephantine and it’s making no difference) and I can’t get a decent foam on my milk. It will come in time, I’m sure. I’m really appreciating how much more quickly I can make a good cup of coffee these days. With the old machine I’d spend a fair amount of time waiting, but now I can do the whole process with no wasted time.
Haven’t been doing much of this, though on a couple of occasions lately the three of us have cycled round to some nearby brambles and gathered up kilos of blackberries. That’s damn good fun.
Playing Tomb Raider 2
As mentioned recently. Ah, they don’t make them like they used to. I’m playing in little bursts, half an hour or so every other day, and I’m currently a short way into the 40 Fathoms level.
Watching CSI, 3rd Rock From The Sun and Sapphire and Steel
Thanks to Mr Hg for the latter. We’re currently half way through season 5 of CSI, and we’re working our way through them at a rate of approximately one season every month. I think that we’ve seen most of seasons 6 and 7 already but we’ll enjoy re-watching them, and we’re definitely looking forward to season 8 which we haven’t yet seen. And I’m watching 3rd Rock in order too – I’ve just started season 4 and I think that for the most part I haven’t seen any episodes in seasons 4 to 6.
I’ve actually been reading more recently, getting through about a book per week. It’s not the most readious period of my life to date, but it’s definitely well above average.
Wandering around parks and playgrounds, taking photos of things and sharing mischievous smiles with Bernard. His language development is currently at a stage which I would describe as “explosive” with new words being added to his vocabulary daily. I’ve also organised all my photos from the last few weeks, so there will be a photo-based post on this site every evening for the next week.
Gardening and DIY
A little of this, but not too much. The occasional carefully-chosen task, selected for optimal benefit:time ratio. That said, the garden and allotment are both in reasonable condition. So it must be a case of working smarter, not harder.
We’re pretty much decided on this one, actually. We’re intending to go round to the rescue shelter tomorrow to see who is around. All three of us are cat lovers, so we’re unanimous on this one.
Complaining about my wrist
10 days ago I woke up with a very sore wrist. I wore a support bandage quite a lot over the next few days. People would put on concerned faces and ask me what happened, and I had to sheepishly respond that actually I just slept on it a bit funny. Karen thought that it was RSI from all the Tomb Raider I’ve been playing. After 5 days, it was not getting better. As an experiment, I took the bandage off, and kept it off. It’s been getting better ever since. I’ve decided to attribute the persistence of the discomfort to muscle atrophy, and what the injury needed was not rest, but exercise.
Remember my tadpoles?
We’ve downgraded them from “tadpole” to “mosquito larvae”.
As you can imagine, we’re being slightly less hospitable these days.
*Google says that I’m not the first person to use this “I fought the lawn…” pun in a blog post title. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.*
Back in March, we had a lawn installed. As the grass gradually got longer and longer, we realised that we could not delay the purchase of a lawn mower any further.
It’s not a very large area, so I didn’t want to go spending huge amounts of money on a lawnmower. But, conversely, I also had requirements. I wanted something that would collect the grass shavings for me, and I also wanted to avoid the Flymo brand, as they are basically all cheap, shoddy, flimsy pieces of orange plastic tat.
Stood in my local Focus, I contemplated the options. On my left, I had a Bosch electric rotary mower that met my requirements, costed about Â£60, and would take up a significant amount of space in the garage, when the garage is full enough already.
Qualcast Panther 30
I ummed and ahhed for a long time, while Karen ran around the store chasing a toddler who had a surplus of energy. I had mental images of blazing hot afternoons, sweat pouring down my body, red in the face, grunting and heaving and screaming “fucking piece of shit lawnmower!”
But then I suppressed my preconceptions and thought about it rationally. I thought about my hodddd and how much simpler and easier it is to sweep the carpet using the hodddd than the vacuum cleaner. I thought about dynamo-powered bicycle lights, and how modern ones are far less intrusive than their old-fashioned counterparts. I thought about how much easier the hand-powered lawn mower would be to store and transport. The reduced risk of accidents. The additional exercise. The lower purchase price. Bernard screamed past at a few hundred miles per hour, with Karen in hot pursuit. She suggested that if I wanted to make a decision any time soon, that was okay with her.
A few hours later I was in the back garden, sweat pouring down my body, red in the face, grunting and heaving. But I wasn’t screaming “fucking piece of shit lawnmower”. Because I knew that it wasn’t the lawnmower’s fault. It was the fact that this lawnmower is totally unsuitable for cutting long grass, and this came as no surprise.
Once the grass is down to a reasonable length, this thing actually whizzes over the lawn with impressive speed and agility. I’m the kind of guy who is willing to go out and mow the lawn once a week, and so I have a good feeling about this. Stay tuned.
In the churchyard near our house.
*Thanks to Graybo for correcting my earlier misidentification of this plant as an azalea.*
My Strelitzia seems to have bifurcated this year. I dunno, maybe this is actually a really common occurence, but it took me by surprise.