Wednesday 23 May 2018
I’m still very happy with the Vaude pannier I picked up earlier this year. It did live up to the promise of keeping things dry but, now we’re enjoying a season of quite warm weather, I’ve been reflecting on another strength: size. My previous pannier was well protected but quite small. This one is capacious and that means I could easily fit my coat in it when cycling to a meeting this lunchtime. I had a coat in the first place because it had been chilly this morning but, being able to fit it easily in the pannier, meant I wasn’t too hot and sticky by the time I arrived.
Rain and shine, this has been a good investment.
Tuesday 22 May 2018
I eat most of the kefir I produce with breakfast cereal, either unadulterated or with a small splash of milk. From time to time though, I strain it through muslin, producing a soft cheese from the curds. That leaves the whey left over – a thin but acidic liquid. Throw it away? Not a chance – it produces fantastic bread.
Today I did a loaf with pure whey in place of the water and it is amazing. Complex, well-textured, a little sour but a fantastic loaf. Right now, I’m convinced (pun-warning) that has to be the whey to go!
Monday 21 May 2018
Not me! However, I had my first petrol fill up costing over £50 today. I remember almost reaching that threshold a few years ago and then prices dropped substantially so I never quite got there. However, recent rises, couple with the rare occurrence of getting to the point of the ‘you really ought to think about filling up’ icon on the dashboard gave me that experience tonight.
Mind you, I was fascinated to look back on my blog and spot an entry from 2012 when I commented that prices had fallen from about £1.40 a litre. I think it was 128.9p a litre today (Oxford, Tesco); I won’t be surprised if it is much higher in another six years and £50 fill-ups in a car with a smallish tank are nothing unusual.
Sunday 20 May 2018
They say that gaffa tape is like The Force; there’s a light side, a dark side and it holds the universe together. They say a lot of things but I have to say that gaffa tape is presently holding the handle of my lawnmower together. I thought I’d give the grass a quick trim this afternoon – even if your beds are quite wild, a trimmed lawn gives the illusion that everything is just as you intended – but had to take a break partway when I spotted a piece of plastic on the ground. It turned out to be part of the fastening for one side of the handle!
Jane and I both searched hard and I did recover a metal washer but there was no sign of the accompanying bolt. How odd! I should have heard if it had been gone over by the lawnmower and it surely can’t have fallen too far. There was no sign though, so gaffa tape it was. That may prove to be an enduring repair; if not, perhaps it is time to renew my search for a small push mower – we’ve got such a small amount of lawn that I don’t think a manual, rotary mower would be too much hassle at all but most of the market is driven by electric or petrol powered machines.
As for the bolt… perhaps there is a relative of the sock monster lurking out in the garden!
Saturday 19 May 2018
It was a quiet afternoon at the St Clement’s Artweeks exhibition today. Being in competition with a royal wedding, the FA cup final and the kind of glorious May weather that makes an escape to the seaside sound enticing (until you think about the thousands of others likely to be travelling down the same roads to the same places!) was obviously tough competition.
Quiet isn’t bad though. Much as I would love hundreds of people to come down to the church and spend some time in contemplation – to be honest, even tens for a single session would be an improvement – it has been a good time to be quiet and contemplative myself. I’ve produced a couple of bits of fresh artwork, enjoyed a chance to chat with fellow stewards and, perhaps above all, the luxury of a stretch of time where the primary thing I need to do is just be in one place and where I’ve not been able to get distracted by a hundred and one other things I could be getting on with.
Quiet is also good.
Friday 18 May 2018
St Clement’s is now over halfway through its Artweeks 2018 exhibition but we’re still adding new material. Today, for our debut attempt at a Friday evening opening, Clare brought down some photos to pin up her display. Tomorrow, having got Colin’s photos display on the main screens, I have increased the size of the captions and added a set of my own images too.
So, even if you have visited already, do feel welcome to come back either to see the new additions or just to rest in the space provided by the church (12 – 4pm on Saturday and 1-3pm on Sunday).
Thursday 17 May 2018
After uploading the back garden shot for May 2018, I realised I had May shots going back a number of years to compare:
It is fascinating to look back through photography and see how things have changed – and also a few things that stay constant. For example, the John Downie crab apple (Malus sylvestris) in the centre has grown a lot but the Malus trilobatus on the opposite side of the path has thickened up a bit but hasn’t put on much upward growth at all.