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