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“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg."
- C.S. Lewis

Every now and then I look around, look at myself and think "right, must make some changes". A little less often, I actually manage to make some of those changes.

This time, I'm a bit fed up of the house (still a bit of a building site), but have the money to fix it and the time to ruthlessly declutter it. I'd quite like to sort some other bits of life out as well, but they may be trickier to quantify...

I'm feeling optimistic at the moment, so let's see how the current plans turn out.

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So, I hear that Facebook is down...


Nov. 16th, 2013 05:33 pm
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It occurs to me that I haven't been to the opera for Quite Some Time. As I'm now a little less snowed under (and a little more likely to be in London), this should be fixed.

Any London folk potentially interested in joining me?

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An admission:

I really like the DLR, especially when compared to the London underground.

And I take a special childish joy in (sometimes) being able to sit at the very front of the train, enjoying the view.

It's a bit like being on the world's mildest rollercoaster. :)

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Looks as if it's going to be a busy week.

Tonight I'm off to Oxford for Intrusion, which is mostly [ profile] davefish's fault. Although 'fault' might not be quite the right word.

Clubbing on a week night is allegedly a bad, bad habit - but Tuesday nights have always been goth nights hereabouts. Whether it's been Heresy, Intrusion or The Calling, it's generally been a Tuesday.

(Goth at a weekend has always been some sort of strange luxury. At least when outside of London and Yorkshire...)

After that, it's London on Thursday and Friday. This may involve some horribly early trains. But probably slightly less dancing...

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A very leisurely Sunday, mostly due to a full Sunday roast.

My current approach to roast chicken is a very simple one - grab something interesting from the herb patch, stuff it inside the chicken and see how it turns out.

For today's attempt, that meant a bit of 'green ginger' rosemary, lots of oregano and a bit of sorrel. Plus a couple of cloves of homegrown garlic. Seemed to work. Even got half-decent gravy. :)

Also confirmed that 'cosmos' spuds (one of this year's homegrown efforts) make decent roast potatoes. May have to grow 'em again in years to come.

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Spoilers! And a couple of random thoughts about continuity...

Read more... )


Feb. 11th, 2013 12:21 am
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This year's gardening has officially started, despite the snow.

Aubergines (Szechuan), tomatoes (Black Krim) and Queensland Arrowroot now in the heated propagator. With luck, some of them will actually grow, too (the tomatoes and aubergines were the last in the packet and getting to the 'plant now or never' point)...

Many other things to follow, but at least that's a start. :-)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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I'm flying out to France early tomorrow morning for this year's snowboarding trip. Just three of us this time and we've gone for the 'cheap and cheerful' option.

I've packed pretty much everything. One glove's somehow gone astray and the toothbrush etc won't go into the suitcase until later... but, essentially, I'm done.

This seems wrong somehow. Normally I'd be panicking and turning the house upside down looking for everything at this point.

The only remaining question is whether I keep the stubbly beard I've acquired over Christmas. Facial hair is always good for staying a bit warmer... but it's not actually looking that cold at the moment, only just below (...and occasionally above...) freezing.

On that basis, I suspect the beard will not be travelling with me. :)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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This is the time of year when I get a bit worried about my plants, especially the new ones.

Pots get moved into the house and I start wondering about watering and light levels. Plants in the garden shed their leaves or simply wither away.

There will be some casualties. There always are - the welsh onions have rotted away in a waterlogged bed. Some of the thyme's gone much the same way. And the Szechuan pepper in the kitchen has gone from healthy to desiccated in about a day (or at least it feels that way...).

New perennials are always a particular concern. An autumn olive bush was planted out a couple of months back and I had a brief panic this week when leaves turned yellow and fell off. Surely it was an evergreen? Thankfully not. But I had to double check.

And then, on the other hand, there's the medlar tree... it looks spectacular. The dying leaves are splendidly autumnal, a fiery red / orange / yellow mix. It was planted this year and I won't get any fruit for a year or two.

But right now, I don't much care about that bit. I'm just happy to have something quite so striking in the garden at an otherwise bleak time.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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...but despite the vile weather, I have an urge to make sorbet. This is probably because I've had a horrible throat bug since Whitby and I've almost exhausted my current supply.

To be fair, that's not as significant as it sounds: the only thing left in the freezer was a bit of mint sorbet that needed eating soon anyway. Not my finest attempt - too much sugar and not enough mint - but it certainly helped soothe my throat for a little while.

I've been meaning to try rosemary sorbet for a while and the 'green ginger' rosemary in my garden is thriving and might add an interesting gingery twist. Hmm.

Has anyone else been dabbling in ice cream or sorbet making this year?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


May. 30th, 2012 08:43 am
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I was going to write something about the very pleasant long weekend I've just had in Italy, but then my sister phoned to check I was ok. I hadn't seen the news about the second earthquake.

So, yes, we're back safely. That was more or less where we were visiting, although the worst effects seem to be in small villages rather than Mantova and Bologna).

I hope that everyone we met there is ok after yesterday's events.

It's more than a little sobering to realise that if we stayed an extra day, we'd have been evacuated from our hotel in Bologna Monday morning.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


Oct. 2nd, 2011 11:51 pm
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This year I got my first crop of quinces from the garden. Tonight was my first attempt at cooking them...

Peeled, cored and roughly chopped two, then cooked them 'til tender in a covered pan with butter, sugar and lemon juice.

Nom. Not sure I got it entirely right in terms of sugar/lemon quantities, but very tasty nonetheless. :-)

(2 down, 15 to go...)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

mrph: (Whitby shades)

Supper today was my very first homegrown apple, a huge Peasgood's Nonsuch.

It's one of those 'dual purpose' varieties - supposed to be good for cooking, but also edible raw.

I can confirm that they are actually quite tasty. Which is probably just as well, as the tree may be big enough to give me more than one apple next year. :-)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Doctor Who

Sep. 11th, 2011 10:31 pm
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So... "The Girl Who Waited"...

Good, bad or a cause for concern...? I gather that this one has divided opinion...

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


Aug. 26th, 2011 09:00 pm
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Wow. The latest version of the LJ iPhone app doesn't actually suck at all. The last one I had - which was quite some time ago - most definitely did.

This one's got useful buttons for LJ-user links, cuts, bold/italic/strikethrough, uploading photos... and it let's me see my friends page in a useful layout.

It's just as easy to update by phone as by computer, it seems. Which is good, as I seem to have a less and less time to use an actual (non-work) computer these days... :-(

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

mrph: (Arucard)
Quick question - does anyone happen to know a good German goth gig/club/event listing site?

[I'm in Koln (Cologne) next weekend and was wondering if anything's happening on Saturday night...?]


Apr. 19th, 2011 11:05 pm
mrph: (Arucard)
I try to make nettle soup at least once or twice each year, not least because I've got a huge patch of nettles at the end of the garden.

Tonight was this year's first attempt, using a recipe I hadn't tried before - with celeriac and rice (no potato), based on fish stock and topped with chunks of smoked haddock.

It works pretty well. I have to admit, I wasn't entirely sure about the fish stock to start with but, yep, it works.

The recipe's from the River Cottage fish book, by the way - one of those books that I really ought to use more often. :)

[As for the next batch... I've got a very different recipe in one of Jekka McVicar's books. Nettles with lovage, potatoes, milk, lemon thyme and marjoram... hmm...]

mrph: (Arucard)
First day in three weeks that I haven't had to set the alarm.

I may not wake up 'til Sunday.


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April 2017



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