Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Malice or Stupidity ?

The greatest obstacle to settling our affairs with the European Union seems to be the special provision for Ireland. To complicate further a tricky problem by entangling it with the affairs of Ireland was always likely to magnify the difficulty

 Were EU negotiators deliberately making things difficult to punish Britain for the perceived impertinence of trying to leave, or were they too stupid to anticipate the problems they were creating?

Thursday, 3 January 2019

A Perverse Choice of Units

Recent warnings about sugar consumption have told us how many lumps of sugar we may safely eat in a day. Yet we very rarely use lumps of sugar these days.

Occasionally, at elegant tea parties, people may use the sugar tongs to help themselves to a lump of sugar. I suspect I have a pair of sugar tongs somewhere, but I haven't used them for many years. I've never heard of anyone putting lumps of sugar on their breakfast cereal.

When people add sugar to drinks or to food they are about to consume, they usually use spoons. When cooking we often weigh ingredients. Spoon fulls of various sizes or grams would convey more to most of us than lumps..

Tuesday, 1 January 2019


Reviewing my postings here I notice a sharp fall in their number in 2014, the year I bought the present house and started to renovate it. In every subsequent year the number of postings has increased as work on the house has progressed. I wonder how energetic I shall be online this year, now that work on the house is almost complete.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Unequal Provision

Shops seem to offer a much wider choice of clothes to women than to men. Also there are more shops catering exclusively for women than there are for men. There's also far more jewellery for women, and cosmetics are almost entirely for women.

Does that all indicate unfair treatment of men, or does it arise from a difference between male and female attitudes that might also explain other apparent inequalities?

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Usually, around Christmas, I send people a long letter reporting on my recent activities. When I tried to send this year's letter the attempt provoked one of those unintelligible error messages that are so annoying.

That gave me time for reflection, and I realised that this year's effort was a very long winded way of saying that I'd done much the same things as the year before, but a little less energetically, and that I'm quite happy being lazy., so I haven't tried to re-send the original.

Anyone desperate for information about my doings may ask.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Runny Honey

I use honey only rarely, just occasionally spreading a little on my bread at breakfast time. Only thickened honey is suitable  Runny honey runs off the bread to make inconvenient sticky puddles, so when someone gives me some I struggle to use it. Some people use it as a very expensive sweetener in tea or in cakes, but I don't sweeten my tea and haven't baked for several years. I did recently use honey to sweeten some stewed fruit, and am wondering if it would work in jam. If  I'm bold enough to experiment I'll report the results here.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Beware of Pretty Food

I was feeling lazy when I pottered round the supermarket, and the 'melon medley' offered at a reduced price looked very pretty, so I bought some. Alas one of the constituent melons was evidently unripe with little flavour and a texture between  cardboard and plywood.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Timing the Seasons

In the media people refer to today as the first day of Winter.

We used to treat the twenty first of March, June, September and December as the first days of the four seasons.

As 21 June was often referred to as Midsummer, it seemed odd to treat it as also the first day of that season, but much of June is often quite chilly and more Spring like than summery and much of September is still as summery as it gets in our cool climate, and seriously wintery weather rarely starts before late December.

If seasons are all to start on the first of some month, it will be hard to date the start of Spring.  The first of March is much too early as most of that month is decidedly wintry. Yet if we start Spring on 1 April and Summer on 1 June, there'll be only two  months for Spring. Perhaps that would be justified since Spring is a transitional state.

What abut four months each for Summer and Winter, with two  months for both Spring and Autumn ?

Friday, 30 November 2018

A Creature of Darkness

I'm reconciled to dark mornings. It no longer distresses me to rise and breakfast in darkness, provided it's at least getting light by the time I clear up and go into the garden for my medicinal feverfew leaf.

At one time I found dark breakfasts very depressing, but no longer. Perhaps I'm becoming a creature of darkness.

However I doubt if I'd adjust so easily to the adoption of British Summer Time throughout the year. I hated it when we did that in the 1970's, and I had to start teaching before dawn.

I'd like to end the twice yearly change of clocks, but only by retaining Greenwich Mean Time throughout the year.

The End of the Tomato Crop

I ate the last of my home grown tomatoes today. The plants stopped producing several weeks ago but unripe fruit I gathered then have ripened indoors and today I ate the last of them, apart from a few tiny unripe fruit that seem unlikely to ripen.

I'm quite pleased to have home grown produce so late in the year. Early in September I collected seeds, so I hope to grow more next year


Thursday, 15 November 2018

Very Bad Value

If baffled by the need to choose Christmas presents likely to delight some fastidious acquaintance, one might be tempted to send them a 'hamper'.

Don't !!!!

The ones I've seen advertised seem to be extremely bad value for money. I've just checked through one I saw advertised on line at a price of £110, and estimate that the ordinary retail price of the contents would be in the region of at most £40.

Fearing liability for a libel action I don't give a link to the site, but I suspect that almost any hamper being offered would be as bad a buy.

Just check if you doubt my word.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

An Extravagent Gift

As we celebrate the end of a war that hardly anyone is old enough to remember, we hear of people 'giving their lives'.

I picture people queuing with little boxes, waiting to give them to some official, and dropping dead when the box is accepted.

Actually many of those who died were compelled to fight by governments, so often the architects of great wrongs.. Their lives were not given, but were stolen from them.