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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

Busted!

Uncle B’s been entertaining his buddies. This is almost certainly a young bachelor. Year-old males are kicked out of the sett when they reach sexual maturity to fend for themselves.

These boys go off on their own and scavenge for food. Kind of sad, really.

Uncle B called the local badger group for advice, but there’s not much to do. Get rid of the outdoor chicken food. If he starts to claw at the chicken pens, electric fence. Badgers are a protected species.

Uncle B asked the badger lady whether it would be okay to feed the poor boy and she said sure, she did that 25 years ago and now she’s feeding a whole colony of his descendants and she’s head of the local badger group. So, no.

Good weekend, all!

June 25, 2021 — 7:53 pm
Comments: 14

Salad days

It ain’t all gooseberries: sometimes it’s garden produce without a deep personal vendetta.

Grown in a pot, these were. Already cut up, fermented and ready to eat now.

It’s a shame food looks so awful in black and white. Uncle B takes nice photos and grows nice carrots.

July 17, 2019 — 8:31 pm
Comments: 9

erm…

These two objects are very old, very rusty (and, in the case of the top one) very long nails. Evil looking things.

The first one — the long, wicked one — appeared on the step outside the front door maybe six months ago. We had a little laugh about gypsy curses and left it on the sideboard in the hall.

Uncle B found the second one in almost exactly the same spot today.

I know, I know…the house is north of 400 years old, stuff is bound to fall out of it from time to time. But the ground around it is brick and the entryway was stuck on the side in the Seventies. Wherefore came’st it?

If anything…weird happens, AVENGE US! Oh, and have a good weekend.

April 26, 2019 — 8:08 pm
Comments: 12

…and finally…

We were out late tonight, so I shall fob you off with one last picture of our inglenook: the old bread oven.

It’s in the upper right corner of the inglenook. One of these days, I’ll have to put a camera on a pole and get some proper pics of the interior. You can’t quite make it out, but it’s a sort of beehive shape on the inside.

The way it worked, you’d shovel hot coals in to warm it up, then brush them to the sides and put your loaves in middle and shut the door until they baked. I see no evidence of hinges, so the door was probably just a wooden shutter sort of thing.

Note the bottom right bricks have crumbled away, we suspect where the wooden paddle (called a peel) was inserted to move the loaves.

Thus ends a week of sperging about my inglenook. Good weekend, all!

September 28, 2018 — 9:33 pm
Comments: 12

Chimbleys

Uncle B is right — the previous post didn’t really do justice to the coolness of our inglenook. By Tudor standards, it isn’t huge — this was a farm cottage, not a great house — but it’s the most important characteristic of the house.

I tried to find a house plan that shows what I mean. I found the two above, that are kinda similar. The fireplace would have been the first thing built, then one gigantic main house timber (not present in the houses above) would be run through the middle of the chimney. Then everything else hung off of the main house timber.

Not only does that make the chimneystack the main structural (and physically central) member of the house, but it also serves as a sort of storage heater, absorbing the heat of the fire and then slowly releasing it. This is a huge innovation over the cottages (essentially miniature Medieval halls) of previous centuries, that had a central fire that burned in a firepit and just vented under the roof.

You’ll note the evolution of the fireplace is not complete, however. The great beam that goes crossways above the inglenook (see photo from yesterday) doesn’t stick out.

They had yet to invent the mantlepiece. They were waiting for Hallmark to invent the Christmas card.

September 19, 2018 — 8:37 pm
Comments: 9

Turn, turn, turn

The chimney sweep, part of the regular end-of-Summer ritual. Completely necessary, as we depend on fire for most of our heat.

And this year, we had the added joy of an inglenook dripping honey. We have bees in the attic — we’ve had bees in the attic for years and years — but this year they gave us a gift. A gooey, black, soot-coated sticky, pooling gift. We had to ask the sweep if there was anything especially flammable about it (there’s not).

Our guy is modern and up to date. We get a text message when it’s time to get swept. Sadly, though, he doesn’t look a bit like Dick van Dyke.

Let the evening fires commence!

September 18, 2018 — 6:22 pm
Comments: 16

What herbs you growing?

Uncle B bought my Summer herbs today. He keeps asking if I want anything else and I can’t think of anything.

I have oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, several kinds of mint, borage, hyssop, fennel, dill, something called winter savory, chamomile. Catnip. Growing randomly around the garden: chives, lemon balm, lemon verbena, several varieties of lavender, ground elder. Erm, nettles. Elderflowers. I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

Oh, the thing in the picture, which is called cotton lavender or lavender cotton and is related to neither cotton nor lavender. You can eat it.

What’s missing?

June 5, 2018 — 8:53 pm
Comments: 16

Yes, that’s a Chinese diagram of a heating pump

pump

Meh. I flipped on the water heater in anticipation of a long, hot bath tonight and…the central heating pump died.

Yes, you heard that right: we don’t heat water all the time. Once every couple of days will do it. We’re reflexively cheap, the both of us.

I’m’a go sulk. And drink. But mostly sulk.

No, wait…mostly drink.

Also smell, because I need a bath.

September 19, 2017 — 9:24 pm
Comments: 12

Be vewy, vewy quiet…

woodpile

There’s a weasel in this woodpile. A camera-shy weasel.

Uncle B spotted it first and hammered on the front door, calling my name. This made me slam my hands on the desk in alarm, which flipped my fork clear across the room into a pile of books. But that’s not important now.

I dashed out without my glasses and saw an indistinct brownish blob dart under a piece of wood. We went for cameras and chairs (and my glasses) and sat and stared at the woodpile for twenty minutes. Nada.

Eventually, Uncle B lumbered back inside and Jack and I stayed glowering at the hole weez popped out of. Finally, a teeny, tiny slinky beast crept out from under a log, had a look around, didn’t like what he saw (mostly the cat, I assume) and slunk back in again.

A reminder that what Brits call a weasel, we call a “least weasel” — they really are not much bigger than an improbably long mouse.

Weasels don’t appear to like cat food.

Unfortunately for Mr (or Mz) Weasel, that there is not a permanent woodpile. It’s a pile of wood, just where the log man dropped it in the drive three weeks ago, and it all gets moved eventually. I hope there’s not a whole damn weasel fambly in there.

Yes, it’s a fair distance from the chicken house. And yes, I’ve locked the flock up as tight as I can tonight. Cross your fingers.


HOLY SHIT I JUST REALIZED: The Fritz had Jerry Lewis in the DeadPool. That means new one tomorrow. The Fritz, honey, you didn’t say anything….

August 24, 2017 — 9:43 pm
Comments: 23