Monday, 13 May 2019

The Varieties of Compost

I usually buy special compost for sowing seeds, but this year absent mindedly helped myself to potting compost instead. I mixed it with some sand and vermiculite to improve drainage and sowed my tomato seeds. They grew much better than usual, so I may not bother with a special medium for seedlings in future.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Slowing Down

This morning I timed myself preparing to go out to vote in the District Council elections.

I arose at 6:45. I bathed, dressed, breakfasted, washed up, said 'hello' to the cat and by the time I'd made myself presentable to the world it was 10:15, so it took me three and a half hours to get ready even though I omitted my usual morning check of emails and CIX messages.

I resist a temptation to generalise about the ways of the ancient, but this ancient at least lives slowly:-)

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

An Annoyingly Tentative Invitation

This morning's post included a poll card for the European Election scheduled for 23 May. Yet there will be no such election in Britain if the Prime Minister can avoid it.

How would we react to an invitation to a wedding between two people who hope to get out of it somehow or other?

Supposing the election doesn't take place, how many people will appear at the polling stations because they don't know about the cancellation, or to protest, or because they want to see how many others turn up for one reason or another?

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Questionable Motives

I'm not sure what to make of  children abandoning school to protest about climate change. School is quite a chore for many children so demonstrating about something may be an attractive alternative for many, regardless of what they are demonstrating about.

I'd be more impressed if great numbers of school children abandoned their usual weekend entertainments to demonstrate on a Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019


The loss of a venerable old building is a sad event, and the threat of such a loss is worrying, but I thought the reaction to the fire in the cathedral of Notre Dame excessive. It seemed reasonable to report the catastrophe while the fire was burning, but there were far too many replays and interviews afterwards.

Mighty ancient buildings make me uneasy. I think how much money would have been levied on people who could hardly afford to feed themselves, and how many builders must have been killed in accidents, just to produce a large building to impress people with the power of whoever had it built.

Money and effort would have been better employed building aqueducts, sewage systems, libraries, or museums, all of which improve the quality of life in one way or another, but a huge church just symbolises the power of priests


Thursday, 4 April 2019

Puzzled by Food Collections

Here and there one sees containers in which people are bidden to place food for the hungry.

That seems strange to me. Do people contribute odd tins that have long lain neglected in dark corners of their pantries? If so some of the food may be too old to be edible.

On the other hand if people buy tins of food specially to donate them, it would be more useful to contribute money. With money those running food banks could buy whatever was most needed, negotiating lower prices by buying in bulk for a good cause, and they would not have to sort a  miscellany of  battered tins.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Laziness Rewarded

After the clocks changed last Autumn I never got round to changing the time on my mobile phone, so now I don't need to change!!!

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Paddling Gently Along the Stream of Time

The loss of an hour's sleep is a shock from which it takes me a while to recover, and if I go to bed an hour early I'll find it hard to get to sleep so I plan to adjust to British Summer Time in installments.

I intend  to be in bed tonight about half an hour earlier than usual by Greenwich Mean Time  and to rise a few minutes later than usual, measured by BST. I hope that by tomorrow evening my internal clock will have reset itself to BST.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Spring has Come - for the Time Being

Today, for the first time this year, I walked into town without an overcoat, rejoicing in the Spring sunshine.

Friday, 22 March 2019

A Fragrant Survivor

My wallflowers are coming into flower very early. I'm especially pleased with a plant that flowered last year, and survived the Winter to flower again. It's about three times the size of the plants I bought last Autumn.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Attached to EU Citizenship

I rather like having a passport in the name of the European Union, and feeling myself a member of an  entity larger than the fading former imperial power that is Britain. I'm upset to think that will soon be taken away from me by an ill considered decision of rather dim individuals living in my vicinity.

I wish it were possible to have dual citizenship, remaining a member of the EU even when Britain is outside it.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Is it Time for a Referendum in Northern Ireland ?

Arrangements for Ireland seem to be the main obstacle to agreement with the EU. How much would the people of Northern Ireland mind partial separation from Britain in exchange for an open border with the Republic? Northern Ireland did vote to remain in the EU, so there might be a majority there in favour of the so called 'Back-Stop', absolving the rest of us from worrying about it.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Thirsty Plants

I have a lot of plants in pots and have had to start watering them rather early lest they wilt in the warm Winter sunshine.

I'm delighted., especially as I use rainwater collected in various water butts.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Basking in the February Sunshine.

Walking to the shops in the sunshine I felt quite hot, shed my scarf and left my overcoat open.

The daffodils are in full bloom and the cats frolic in the driveway.  It may soon be time to put away my Winter overcoat.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Early Spring ?

I have a daffodil!!

For a week or two daffodil buds have been visible in the garden, but today I noticed a flower fully open.

In my youth daffodils usually didn't flower till April, or sometimes late March. Things are changing !!!

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Obsolete ?

A new Telephone directory was delivered today, though for several years it's been called 'The Phone Book' and is much smaller than it used to be. As  I recycled the old one I tried to remember when I last looked up a number in a directory. I couldn't remember but am sure I haven't done so since moving into my present house more than four years ago.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Cumbersome Procedures

Many people are amazed that Mrs. May is still leader of the Conservatives.

One factor is the complicated time consuming process of selecting a new party leader The complication results from the involvement of all party members.

Conservative leaders were at one time elected by MPs, and the process took less than a week. I wish all the  major parties still did things like that. It is in Parliament that government is scrutinised and there that it needs approval for its plans to change laws and levy taxes. Prime Ministers depend of parliamentary approval to survive. Member of parliament observe ministers in action, and they are the ones best placed to assess their suitability for office. With the procedure that made Mrs. Thatcher leader, Mrs. may would have been gone long ago, but to remove her now would leave the country leaderless for months.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Tasty Puddles

Last night there was a fall of moist snow which melted as soon as it reached the ground, leaving little puddles here and there.

Today I noticed the resident cat lapping up a particularly muddy puddle, ignoring the various receptacles of clear water placed here and there for her refreshment.

I've never tasted a puddle. I wonder if I'd enjoy it if I did.

Perhaps gin and tonic may eventually give way to gin and puddle, or even puddle and tonic.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Folding and Cutting: an Intriguing Diversion.

The Economist recently mentioned applications of origami to Mathematics and Engineering.

The inspired a web search that yielded this site that indicates ways of getting interesting shapes by folding paper and then making a single cut. Apparently it is in principle possible to use this method to obtain any shape or set of shapes, provided that the boundaries are made of straight lines. The star is easy, but I had quite a struggle  folding for the swan.

There's also  a course of lectures here.

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.