Saturday 28 November 2020

100 Days - 81st : Super Compost Woman

The doorbell rang at 8.30am and confused me, but there was a nice delivery man with my plum tree. It is a Jubilee plum tree on dwarf rootstock (limiting its growth to about 6-8 feet tall) bought from Chris Bowers back in September. They are a fruit specialist and have lots of good advice on how to choose and care for your trees and bushes. I picked it because it self-pollinates, many varieties need to be around other trees for the fruit to set. It arrived well packaged and bare-rooted; many trees are best planted in the late autumn when they go dormant.
So I rushed up to Hulme Community Garden Centre and came back with 50 litres of compost on my shoulders. 
As we walked home Monkey said it reminded her of this:
I emptied the bottom of the worm bin to get some lovely extra nutritious stuff for the tree:
and then planted it in one of the second-hand pots we bought a few months ago. I mean it just looks like a twig in a pot so you have to use your imagination, but I am excited to watch it grow. I added some mascara armeniacum (armenian grape hyacinth) bulbs to the compost so that we have some flowers in the spring. It is unlikely to fruit next year, though maybe we will get blossom. After the first year I will get another half-barrel and pot it up. I am enjoying making long term plans for the garden.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Thursday 26 November 2020

100 Days - 80th day, BUY NOTHING


The older I get the less I want stuff, and the easier I find it to resist capitalism's demands that I spend my hard earned income on useless crap. The TV is jumping up and down at the moment yelling at people to buy things on Black Friday, which has now become Black Friday Week (because one day is not enough for all the spending they want you to do). I saw a review for a BBC programme, The Truth About Amazon, supposedly investigating Amazon and examining their bad practices, but on closer examination it seems to be more about how to beat them at their own game. Amazon is busy fucking over the planet and killing off independent retailers. Visit here and see how Jeff Bezos's wealth really compares to normal people. It's mind boggling. Don't give him your money. Visit here and see how people are standing up to Bezos. The Guardian lifestyle pages offer advice on how to spend your money more ethically. People tell themselves it doesn't make any difference where they shop, but when you look around for presents for your family this year think about finding small and local businesses to patronise. Maybe try out and support your local independent bookshop. Guardian also offers a guide to avoiding Amazon shopping. Traidcraft is focussing on getting people to consider the source of the things they buy, and go to The Story Off Stuff to pledge to change the way you think when you buy stuff. But you know, mainly there is more to life than buying things. Buy nothing on Buy Nothing Day, and then try it again the day after. you'd be surprised how quickly it becomes a habit.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Sunday 22 November 2020

100 Days - 79th that statue


So this statue was put up to honour Mary Wollstonecraft (who's book, Vindication of the Rights of Woman, is waiting somewhere on my shelves). First it was just reported on, then there was much heated debate (I do go places other than The Guardian for news, sometimes). I tended to agree with the argument about how men are not 'honoured' with statues of naked men, and then in swoops Mona Eltahawy (who came to the literature festival last year) and points out why the white middle class feminists are missing the point, as usual:

“As far as I know, she’s more or less the shape we’d all like to be,” Hambling said. 
And that was a “we” too far for me. Who the fuck is “we” and who the fuck is the “every” in that “everywoman” and why the fuck is she young and white?

Saturday 21 November 2020

100 Days - Knock Knock (who's there) (eight and seventy)

I knock on people's doors for a living. Been doing it for nigh on eighteen years now. I received no training for this important skill, just learned my own techniques as I went along. After Mrs Kelly complained at me that her husband was in and did not hear me I upped my game. I have regularly been accused of knocking like the police. Once I was accused of knocking like the debt collectors, but I think that said more about the customer than about my knocking. A couple of times I have been complained at for startling people,  and then the other week a complaint for knocking too loud and disturbing a baby (my ESP was turned off at the time and I didn't notice there was a baby in the house). Yesterday I was complained at for (just potentially mind you) denting someone's new front door with my bionic knuckles. Most people just say thank you when you arrive on their doorstep on a cold and rainy November afternoon but whatever. 

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Thursday 19 November 2020

100 Days - Long term projects (day 77)

 I wrote about pistachios way back at Day 2 and I am pleased to say I found a use for the buckets of shells that we have accumulated over the year.
When we moved to Prestage Street I started making a pouffe out of random left over yarn. Like many projects it was abandoned in favour of more interesting things.
At some point I searched for suggestion for what to do with the pistachio shells and came across the idea to use them like beanbag filling.
They are covered in salt so I washed them in a big tub and then dried them in the yard (this is just one of four batches):
and then sewed some fabric bags to try and keep them in shape (time will tell how this works out):
Last night I finally put the whole thing together. The top and sides were one piece then a separate circle for the base. I bought a thick piece of foam to add on the top after Toby commented that it would be a bit lumpy (from Manchester Foam who will cut any thickness to any size for you). By the bins a month or two ago I found some abandoned kitchen units and removed one of the back pieces of hardboard and cut a circle to make a solid base. Then I crocheted on the circle base with double thickness yarn. It weights a ton but is pretty comfy. It's only taken me two years to finish.
And sometimes we do quick projects. Monkey picked up a set of the cutest cookie cutters when we went to Ikea recently. Using this BBC Mary Berry recipe we rustled up some moose cookies:
Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

100 Days - six and seventy Joan Armatrading


Last week I came across this lovely interview with Joan Armatrading in the Guardian. I do not recall how she became someone who's music I love, she had very few 'hits' and was not someone who attracted attention, but something about the quality of her voice gives me chills. It is good to see that she is well and happy and has new music coming out. Enjoy.
Stay safe, See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 17 November 2020

100 Days - will my post come today part 2 (75th day)


I wrote back in April about the stress that the mail system has been under during the current pandemic. Things have not got any better. This is my payslip that arrived this morning. It was supposed to be delivered last Thursday. Mail and packets are piling up on some walks. A warden from some old people's flats came in yesterday claiming they had not had post for a fortnight. This was not the case but I could only apologise and be honest about the struggles, and tell her that they would probably only get deliveries a couple of times a week. So, people of Britain, please bear with us. I am sorry if your birthday cards don't arrive on time. Know that all the posties are doing their utmost to get the work done. We have both agency staff and a couple of Christmas temps in our office (never had Christmas temps before) but the increased workload of Christmas shopping is only going to make it worse. If you are sending gifts, cards or something important try and allow a couple of extra days to allow for the fact that walks are not going out every day. And don't give your postie a hard time about it. Thanks.
(This is not official Royal Mail advice, please see the RM coronavirus page for info.)

In better news I finished Michelle and Clive's sofa blanket and rode over to Salford on Saturday morning and had a doorstep cup of tea and lovely chat with her. 
Going to Dunk's for a cuppa now. 
Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Monday 16 November 2020

100 Days - day seventy four


Don't book a covid test kit collection if you can't be bothered to actually do the test. Don't book a collection if you don't like getting up and answering the door early on a Sunday. Don't book at collection if you have plans to go out (don't fucking go out if you have covid symptoms and have requested a test). Tell your housmates or family members that you are doing a test, it's not a secret, after all they will have to isolate if you test positive. Read the fucking instructions. Stop wasting everyone's time and NHS resources.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

100 Days - three and seventy Home gym


We have been home gymming thanks to the second lockdown. Tish already owns several resistance bands and hand weights, Toby bought some of his weights over and the girls went to town before the shops shut and got an 8kg kettlebell. So we have been starting with Joe Wicks and then doing some circuits of our own design. Lyra sits on the boxes and watches us, a bit bemused. Not only can I now do sit-ups I can also do seven press-ups. Progress. Working on the pull-up bar too but that is much harder.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

100 Days - seventy two: sneak peek


Little sneak peek at the sofa blanket I am making for my oldest friend Michelle (oldest as in known the longest, not that she's old) who got married last month. I watched her ceremony on facebook while I was at work. Between customers I managed to see the 'I will' and the kiss and the sign the register bits and miss all the hymns. Her hubby looks nice, I hope I get to meet him some time. Bloody lockdown spoiling the nice bits of everyone's lives. On the plus side Claire now has a complete chain for her house sale/purchase and we are going to make a start on balcony blankets so we can sit out in the sea breeze and look at the beautiful sea.


Sunday 8 November 2020

100 Days - day 71 Phew!


I was driving home from work last night listening to the pundits on Radio 4 announcing that Biden had secured victory in the US presidential election. I feel both relieved and underwhelmed. It has been a stressful few weeks, politically speaking. I want Trump gone from my news feed and my telly screen, if I never hear the man's voice again it will be too soon. But Biden is just some middle-of-the-road Democrat who is not interested in upsetting the status quo or radically changing anything about anything. I guess he would probably list 'making the world a better place' among the aims for his presidency but I do not have strong feelings about him. What I hope is that Kamala Harris makes her mark. I mean, she's no Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but it is good to see women finally making inroads in powerful places. The world feels a slightly better place today.


Friday 6 November 2020

100 Day - postscript to posting advice (day 70)


If you are intending on making use of Royal Mail's new Parcel Collect service please acquire some sellotape first. Alex came back on Tuesday and handed in a package that he had doorstep collected. It was in a large envelope that was not sealed and he had attached the label with some elastic bands. I went and found the sellotape and sorted it out, but told him to refuse such an item in future (and messaged the manager about it, but whether he mentioned it to everyone else I have no idea). Royal Mail is not your mum, sort your packet out properly before you hand it over or bring it in.

Thursday 5 November 2020

100 Days : day 69 - autumn garden

Autumn has been very wet and everything is waterlogged in the garden and the pond has been overflowing, but things are still surprisingly green. I went outside for the first time in weeks to feed the Julians and see what was going on. The treelings are finally changing colour, the oaklings just go boring brown but this one is pretty:

The borage has loved the cold and wet and has flourished:

The sweet peas, that I planted far too late, have also loved the rain and have turned wild and bushy, but it's far too cold for any flowers unfortunately:

Some little seed in a pot of wild flowers decided October was a good time to make an appearance:

There was one tiny wild strawberry, that Monkey has eaten so I cannot take a less blurry photo:

I planted a dozen acorns that I gathered the other week, some seeds that I stole from a tree in someone's garden on Parsonage Road and some strange fruit things that were in a bunch of flowers I bought Tish for her birthday. We will await the spring and see what comes up:

The lovely purple fern, which was one of the last things we got at the Hulme Garden Centre, has also come along beautifully:

Looking forward to the spring. Big plans for next year.