We’re venturing anew into the kitchen. I can now cook Yorkshire puddings from scratch and they always rise – this is possibly because I’m cheating and using self-raising flour. It’s still a novelty to me to live somewhere with an oven that has both a heat seal and a thermostat – most of my receipes have been adjusted over the years to allow just a vague warming through.

Yesterday there was a household discussion as to what a milkshake is. The idea that it could be milk and stuff all blended together was apparently a new one as someone felt that bubbles and thickness were a main ingredient. I vetoed stopping at a fastfood place for one and now the kitchen is covered in dribbles of milky banana. It’s fine, it’ll wipe off.

‘Jaunt’ is updated – the photo is there if anyone wants to see a subtle landscape feature between Dover and Germany.

Reading Science of the Discwork, book 1. When I tried before, more than ten years ago, I just couldn’t get into it. It’s good revisiting books with a little more life experience so that they can be appreciated more. It’s also lovely having a whole new vein of Pratchetts to discover, now that I know there won’t be any more.

Found the Giles archive online. Sadly as it’s random there’s no overall display of all his best known tableau cartoons, ones where there’s subtle things happening in the background, but you can’t have everything. He was particularly known for perspective, such as viewing from the giddying tops of buildings, timing, where the viewer can see what’s about to happen when the people in it can’t, and ‘Grandma’, who in one cartoon is playing cards with Father Christmas and has already won the sack of toys and half his clothes off him.

And in other news, if I see part of the household setting off on a speculative fishing trip, there will be trouble!



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Given today’s world events, I overcame a need to revisit the ‘Motorcycle Diaries’, a film that makes you suddenly sit up and go, “Yes! I want to go and do things!” and “They did what with that tent…?” and instead inflicted the Mark Steel lecture of Che Guevara on to the household. I feel that Guevara’s comment about the key shows that he missed his calling as a comic writer, but then he’d already got an oddly set up calling anyway because of the asthma.

I’m with his Dad on, “And what are you going to do now with your medical career?!” I’m sure his Dad would be suitably impressed at the medical finding that Cuba , despite all the sanctions et al, came up with a vaccine to meningitis B before anyone else in the world.

A bit disturbing that the household hadn’t heard of Che Guevara.

Even more disturbing was that ‘Auntie’ (the BBC, as called by British people) didn’t feel a need to mention Castro’s death on the news. Lots about what Trump thinks of Castro, but not much on why he suddenly felt a need to comment. Took a lot of reading and sifting to work that one out.

Lovely comment by Mark Steel that after Castro routinely did 4 hr monologues, he’d get to 90 and then say, “enough about me, what about you?” He’s just died aged 90.

The Mark Steel lectures were a series of half hour comedy lectures explaining the importance of various people. I only got into them because Radio 4 extra are so bad at cutting the edges times between programmes – a problem when trying to avoid the ends of whodunnits. Here’s Guevara’s:

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And on the jaunt we arrived a tad early, so between Dover and Germany we decided on a little detour and sight seeing.


It’s great having national monuments to yourself at 5am on a Sunday morning. I was last there 15 years ago in circumstances that weren’t as happy – it’s lovely forming new memories with people who actually want to be there with you.

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The household has just (ish) returned from a wonderful jaunt abroad, with wider minds and deep sighing – it is only when able to compare it’s possible to see what is wanting… or to put it another way, if I worked as a petrol station attendant, I don’t think I could explain and constructively discuss my views on brexit with a random stranger in my third language at 2am. I like that there are places where this is perfectly normal.

While away I recommended some thing to watch, or read, which some poeple already have but I thought I’d put them here as I keep on emailing the links.

Here’s the first:

Monty Don’s Mastercrafts, in particular the episode on weaving. This episode not only shows different people learning a new craft, but also has a polarised example of today’s society. ‘Snowflake generation’ was reported to have entered the Collins Dictionary as a term used to describe millenials who value 450 likes over 2 friends who’ll be there for them and how are probably portrayed by the I-made-it-so-of-course-it’s-special person shown here. The other two show graphically the difference a tweak in approach caused by unforeseen life events can make, a reminder to everyone to reflect on all practice.

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We have reached equilibrium! Of a sort. After lots of sifting, the available shelf space now equals the amount of new stuff to go in it. Well, sort of. But you can’t have everything.

The charity shops have done quite well out of us but I hope soon to be introduced to the wonder of ebay for remaining items. The household already has an account.

In other news, been in discussion with banks and noting that if you ask them a simple question, if they take more than three sentences to answer then the first and the third will contradict themselves.

I have a Godson who is now free-range even if not answering back yet. I’d like to set up a savings account for him, because, what with one thng and another, he doesn’t have one yet. He was also born after most of his relatives died so there’s no provision for him in anyone’s will (his sibling already existed, so got a mention). The account would be locked until he is 18. But government rules say that if I want to do this, I must have his birth certificate (got!) AND a parent present. Christening certificate or signed consent of the parent isn’t good enough.

We all work bouncing shifts. Banks aren’t open at 3am. HOW are we meant to do that one!?

I think I know why no one does savings any more!

You’ll note that at no point do I need the child present.


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Digital catch-up

It had to happen. Our beloved Windows XP computer got a new anti-virus software on it yesterday. Now it’s unusable as the software says that every site we try to connect to, including their own, doesn’t have a proper certificate. Except for BBC news. Dunno why.

So I’m writing this on a Windows 10 laptop.

Still clearing through boxes. At some point the amount of space free will equal the amount of new stuff to go in it. Any time, any time now… Some of the boxes were gleaned from a department of osteology so they’re extremely sturdy but a fixed size and shape that doesn’t quite coincide with domestic shelving. But they stack and are designed to last 25 years so a stand of them in the corner isn’t so bad.


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Mystery meat

In the spirit of going through things I’m in the midst of defrosting mystery meat for a roast. ‘Mystery’ as although it all came from a reputable source and I knew what it was when it went into the freezer, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what it is now.

Also in the midst of reading newly unearthed books that have been sat there a while. Latest is a collected works of Edgar Allan Poe, so I have now read ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’, the ‘first’ ‘modern’ detective story. And I worked out how it was done before the end so I’m feeling happier about that – really modern ones it’s anyone’s guess. I don’t agree with all his reasoning and some ideas have moved on (apparently the more contraversial and unpalatable ideas didn’t make it into this edition so I don’t have to read them).

During breaks at work I’m still reading ‘The King’s Revenge’, the story of the biggest manhunt in history, where ‘fun-loving Charles II’ hunted down the regicides, broke the amnesty he’d given them and then tortured them to death. Funnily enough, the history written by his own historians forgets to mention the vindictive side of him – even his father declared that he’d forgiven them. Unsurprisingly, it’s slow reading.

Last week I had to explain to the household who Samuel Pepys was. It’s always good to have these reminders to ground me back into reality, even if that includes a flat full of boxes. (Still full ish – charity shops are only open when I’m asleep).



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