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I’ve been here so long

I ordered a new laptop for work. Mistakenly, it came with the plug on the right. I’m ashamed I spent three days thinking, “Looks funny. Is this a European plug of some kind? Dutch, maybe?”

It’s American, Weasel! That there’s an American plug!

The one on the left is a British one. Yes, all their plugs are like this. My electric toothbrush charger has a honking big dryer plug on it. And it has a fuse in it. And every electric outlet has an on/off switch at the wall. Electricity is scary here.

Uncle B says engineers have ruled the UK plug the safest in the world, but it just looks like overkill to me.

I took the picture to send to Deepak, the Dell customer service representative, but I thought I’d share it with you. Good weekend, everyone!

July 30, 2021 — 6:37 pm
Comments: 17

Wet hare

Uncle B was out watering in the garden just now and called out that there was “an animal of some kind” in the cold frame. Animals of some kind are my department.

Turns out, he thoroughly watered a healthy bunny which was crouching under the plants trying to be very still and invisible. Fortunately, no cats were around, so he managed to escape with a cracking story to tell.

My first attempt to find a picture of a wet bunny took me to this article from the Dodo informing me that bathing bunnies is unnecessary, cruel and might even kill them. Okay, then.

My second attempt turned up the picture at right, the title of which was wettlauf-des-igels-und-des-hasen.

The “wet” in “wettlauf” did it. It’s two people in 1864 dressed up for a fairytale ball, representing Grimm’s The Race Between the Hedgehog and the Hare.

If you don’t know this one (I didn’t), hare challenges hedgehog to a footrace. Hare bounds off, hedgehog takes a few steps and vanishes into the grass.
At the end of the row, Mrs Hedgehog pops up and says “I’m already here!” As she looks exactly like Mr Hedgehog, the hare thought he’d been beaten. Mystified, he demanded a rematch. So they did the same thing in reverse. This happened over and over until the hare fell over dead.

Sweet dreams, children!

July 29, 2021 — 7:25 pm
Comments: 7

Lockdown has been harder on some

It never occurred to me that lockdown would be especially tough on…Jehovah’s Witnesses? They haven’t been able to go door to door for sixteen months so looks like they’ve been reduced to handwriting letters. This came in the post today addressed to “the Resident” but had our full address and a stamp. Poor silly bastards.

Inside was also a card with a QR code which I imagine whisks you away to their Zoom meeting. Anyone want it?

JW’s are common where we are, which surprised me. They’re aggressive canvassers. Not nasty aggressive, for the most part, but they’ll walk up to you in your garden. This is very much Not Done – the English are fierce about their back gardens. You don’t walk around the house uninvited.

I’m told Witnesses (Witnessers?) caught on here because the Church of England was seen as snooty and highfalutin. Alternative churches flourished in the country. JW’s, Strict and Particular Baptists, various flavors of Methodists. John Wesley preached his last sermon in Winchelsea, not too too far away from us.

I have to laugh when English people get caught up in proselytizing religions. Walking up to strangers and blurting out scripture is so inimical to the national character.

I hope they earn double Jesus points for it.

July 28, 2021 — 6:51 pm
Comments: 11

Top gadget

Ladies and gentlemen, my strawberry corer. Oh, you might laugh (well, one of my friends laughed, anyway), but it really is quite handy. I wish I had one back in the days when we’d buy a crate of strawbs for jam. You know, before we figured out we don’t eat that much jam.

We got carried away being country folk.

I mentioned the corer way back when I bought the spiralizer. Update: I still use the spiralizer, but I have yet to perfect the spicy curly fry. In fact, I’ve more or less given up.

I’m –

I don’t know how to put this.

Just blurt it out, I guess.

I’m putting spiralized apple in my cole slaw. I didn’t invent it, mind. A recipe for celeriac coleslaw called for a granny smith apple. I didn’t have a granny smith, but I had a pink lady. Apple, red cabbage and carrot. It’s nice!

Come on – it’s not as crazy as those people who put walnuts in their slaw.

July 27, 2021 — 8:04 pm
Comments: 7

Dishwasher broke

New one Friday. I’m okay with that. I don’t mind doing dishes for a few days.

The picture is not actually my sink, though. I spent most of my life without a dishwasher and I learned that the easiest approach is to wash things as you use them, as much as you can, so you don’t end up with a giant, depressing pile of them to do at the end of the day.

Of course, that’s easier with one.

My mother used to sing the Dirty Dishes Blues while she did dishes. It’s not an especially good song. I don’t particularly like it. I’m just saying it brings back memories.

July 26, 2021 — 8:07 pm
Comments: 4

Jam night

Sadly, that doesn’t mean rock’n’roll, it means it’s time to make summer fruit jam. Our first year, we went nuts making jam. After a few months, we realized…we really don’t eat all that much jam.

Still, all them red currants have to go somewhere! Good weekend, all.

July 23, 2021 — 7:17 pm
Comments: 19


My phone declined to focus on my beans and instead focused on the brick wall behind them. Twice. That’s off-pissing.

It was a harvest day chez Badgèr. Much of our fruit was lost this year, mostly to bad weather and lazy mustelids, but I reckon I got maybe eight pounds of red currents and a pound of mixed loganberries and gooseberries today. More to come.

The green beans are pick-as-you-go and they’ve done well this year. Onions looking well. Had a couple of artichokes already.

Uncle B is a keen plantsman and fresh fruit and veg from the garden is very welcome. Cracks me up, though, when people seriously think they can “grow their own food” in any significant way without buying a bunch of land and devoting their whole lives to the pursuit of it.

Reminds me of the time I watched my neighbor pick up bits of wood bark out of our drive because “I guess I’ll need to build fires to keep warm.” Lady, you couldn’t light a cigarette off that little pile of wood.

July 22, 2021 — 7:03 pm
Comments: 9

Hard core mailbox

The ferociousness of this object doesn’t really communicate in black and white. It’s a big rusty iron box attached to a cement pillar with a big rusty iron chain. The board says Lifeboat House Mail. There isn’t a slot in it, so I guess the postman as the key. Or, you know, it hasn’t been used in years.

Field trip to Dungeness this afternoon. It’s a long drive for us, but we needed that. This is the stick-y out-y bit of SE England that’s the closest point to France. It’s where all the hundreds of ‘refugees’ have been landing.

You might not know about that. Reporting is widely suppressed. We are being invaded by a hostile army of fit young men, with the complicity of the government. Whatevs!

Were weren’t there for refugees. We were there for fresh fish. We bought plaice fillets for tonight and I got some excellent jumbo shrimp.

That’s when I discovered the “peeling shrimp” maneuver is one of the last fine motor activities my damaged fingers refuse to do. I did my best, but I ate an unfeasible amount of chitin this afternoon.

Also an unfeasible amount of cocktail sauce with homegrown horseradish root. Ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish and a squirt of sriracha. Delicious!

Sadly, I had more cocktail sauce than shrimp. Happily, I discovered cocktail sauce goes well on a ham sandwich.

Because I have the sophisticated palate of a labrador retriever.

July 21, 2021 — 7:12 pm
Comments: 13

Round boi

This picture tickled me, for some reason. It’s by Paul Gavarni (real name: Hippolyte-Guillaume-Sulpice Chevalier, hoo boy!), 1804-1866. French. Brittanica calls his late work ‘bitter‘.

Title: Revers des Médailles (1842) or Reverse of the Medal.

Caption, as near as I can make it (it’s faint): dangereux effet des pates orientales, lelles que le Rachaoul ou le Nafe d’Arabie, sur des organisations trop delicates or (as Google Translate would have it) dangerous effect of oriental pasta, such as Rachaoul or Arabian Nafe, on too delicate organizations.

Not actual pasta, I don’t think. Some kind of sweetie. I only found one reference to Rachaoul and it was a translation of a French pamphlet on agriculture from 1836:

The edible merchants [of Paris] also devise a substance called tapioca, which they advocate almost as much as the famous Rachaoul, which fattens the odalisques of the seraglio; but the tapioca itself is nothing other than cassava, which does not fatten negroes much.

The crack about negroes is not as strange as it looks, I don’t think. Cassava was a staple in Africa and Africans were, by and large, not fat.

As for Arabian nafe, no idea. Knafeh, maybe? Anyway, it’s something he eats with a spoon from a jar that comes out of a cabinet, so early Victorian pudding cups, at a guess.

July 20, 2021 — 7:42 pm
Comments: 8

Well, it’s about time

We got a new telephone pole today. This may not sound exciting to you – and, in fact, it is not exciting – but once or twice a year for as long as we’ve lived here, a British Telecom engineer has stood in our drive, stared at our pole, sucked his teeth and said, “that thing will have to go.” And then left.

Today, it finally went. That’s because the guy who turned up today wasn’t a BT engineer, he was an independent contractor who wouldn’t get paid if the pole wasn’t replaced.

So up he goes in his cherry-picker and a hellacious and unpredicted thunderboomer turns up. You can see it sneaking in from the left. Lightning, tropical rain, the works. Dude sailed right through and put up the damn pole. Hurrah for the independent contractor!

There. Exciting.

Reminds me – when I was a kid I lived in a town so small there was no obvious place for the young’uns to hang out. So they picked an electric pole near the town square and hung out there. They called it The Pole as in, “I’ll meet you at The Pole after school.” They had t-shirts made and everything.

This was after my time, sadly, so I don’t have a The Pole t-shirt. But I do have a new pole!

July 19, 2021 — 7:04 pm
Comments: 11