Whilst waiting for the medical profession to provide me with a new hip in the New Year, I have been a lot less active than usual, which has unsurprisingly led to my putting on a bit of weight.
There seem to be two major drawbacks to going on a diet. The first is that diets are unpleasant, leaving one hungry and/or having to eat ghastly food. The second is that they rarely work in the long term.
I am trying a fasting diet, of sorts. No dinner. The idea is that I can have what I like for breakfast and lunch, but then at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the shutter comes down: nothing to eat or drink except water until the next morning.
Obviously, this is good, in that I’m not required to eat raw carrots, lettuce or fish sticks. Surprisingly, after several days on this regime, it is not nearly as annoying as one might think. Ordinarily Continue reading
Dipping into Byron is a mixed pleasure. There is a lot of pointless guff that is barely better than doggerel, and then there are some jewels. The other day I came upon this bitter-sweet poem (well, it is like a song lyric, really), which I had not read for many years, and had forgotten. I could set it to music. Except that the last time I did that – to We’ll No More Go A-Roving – Leonard Cohen promptly copied me with his own version. Well, it is too late for him to do the same with this one:
When we two parted
In silence and tears,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this. Continue reading
For various reasons, I have not posted so much recently. But I have a couple of moments now, and here are some recent thoughts:
We at the beginning g of September now, towards the end of the rainier winter on the Fleurieu Peninsula, but neither my rainwater tanks nor my dam (“Loch Phenelry”) are yet full.
If my croquet lawn is to flourish over the summer, I need some more rain.
Ever since the British government handed back (unnecessarily, in my view) Hong Kong to the Chinese, Hong Kong was doomed. Without any pleasure in saying so at all, I fear the protesters have no real prospect of succeeding. Hong Kong used to be a colony of the British, but was free, in that the government did pretty much what the people wished for, even though there were no elections. Now and for the foreseeable future, it is a colony of the Chinese, and not free: now the government does what the Chinese want.
For many people, that which is forbidden is all the more delicious.
For me, as for many other people, the best fruit is knowledge. There is a delight in Continue reading
You would need to be seriously, seriously rich to want to spend $49,157 for a bath.
It does not even come with taps. They are Continue reading
Bushfire is a real risk in Australia, and one of the rules is that when you are cutting the grass in a paddock, you’re supposed to have water on hand. So that if the blades hit a stone and create a spark, and if that spark starts igniting the dry grass, you can put it out straight away. Before it grows into a proper bushfire.
Until this week, this was a challenge because, although I have a perfectly adequate 12 litre sprayer, there is nowhere to carry it on my Toro zero turn Timecutter.
However, my friend Jeff, who knows how to do lots of things, including welding, has for a modest price knocked up a lovely cage which slots onto the back of my machine.
So now I can Continue reading
Some cats are escape artists, but Antigone Victoria Powderpaws (Tiggy) appears to be the exact opposite.
So far, she has got herself stuck
- in the Girls’ Dorm
- in the larder (twice)
- in the pan cupboard
- inside the grandfather clock.
This last one was the most remarkable. She had to open the door before being able to climb in.
It is not entirely obvious what goes on inside Continue reading
I sometimes attempt The Times crossword puzzle. Sometimes I finish it; more often I do not. So I was quite pleased to finish each of the last three days’ puzzles.
Some people think they are a waste of time. On one analysis, of course, they are. But there are so many divergent problems in the world: it does seem to be soothing to solve a convergent problem from time to time.
27181 was moderate. I had to look in the dictionary to see that HERDWICK is a sort of sheep. 27182 was not too bad. 27183 was really quite hard, I thought. If I ever knew, I had forgotten that BASEBAND is a technical term for a radio frequency. I had to check an atlas to see that ORAN is a North African city. And I needed the dictionary again to see that to TORREFY something is to dry it.
It is possible to do these puzzles on line. But I print them out, partly because Continue reading
The animals have been playing a new game: “What Shall We Do with a Champagne Cork?”
I throw the cork. If Perdita gets it, she dances around the lawn, throwing the cork up in the air in delight like a killer whale does with a seal. Only rather less dramatic. Obviously. After a while, she gives it back, so that we can do it again.
If Merlin gets it (he is remarkably nimble on his feet), he lies on it, and pretends to have nothing to do with the game at all. “Cork? What cork? I haven’t seen it”.
It is a much better game than “Eat the Spoon”. For that, they operate as a tag team. Merlin jumps up onto the kitchen benchtop, finds a wooden spoon and pushes it off down onto the floor. Perdita then eats it.
There is good news and bad news on the subject of pine cones.
I am not a huge fan of Christmas festivities generally, but when the children are around at Christmas, they like a Christmas tree, and hence there is usually a trip to one of the local Christmas tree farms. When the farm sells you of these trees, it does not kill the tree. Instead, it lops off the top bit of the tree, leaving the roots and the base, and that part of the tree then regrows. It has occurred to me that if I had, say, half a dozen of these trees growing in my upper paddock, I could do the same thing. Not that I particularly mind the trip to the Christmas tree farm. But unlike my old Jeep, my new Jeep does not have a roof rack, and so getting a decent sized Christmas tree home starts to be a problem.
So, earlier this week, I was taking Perdita for a run in one of the local forests and noticed freshly fallen pine cones. I stuffed my pockets with half a dozen of these, thinking that I could plant them, and hopefully end up with half a dozen pine trees.
It turns out that it doesn’t work like this. It is no good planting entire pine cones. Instead, if you want to grow pine trees from pine cones there is a routine, which works something like Continue reading
Dammit, I really LIKE Christmas pudding. Nothing much to do with Christmas, of course, although something to do with Christianity – it is a Crusader thing, brought back from the Levant. According to Elizabeth David anyway. She would have known about this stuff.
I have a Christmas pudding. It says “best before” March 2017. I have dropped hints to my family when they have been around. I have said, “Do you fancy some Christmas pudding?”. No bites. Nothing. Not a flicker of the needle. Niete. It is now June 2018.
You can microwave these boys, apparently, but that does not seem quite right, somehow. And so I have decided to stick it on my combustion Continue reading