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Happy Bird Day!

Lookee what we’re getting for Thanksgiving weekend – a named storm. Actually, it doesn’t look too bad. Wind and cold, and not even much wind by our local standards. It be windy here. But I rolled my eyes we’re naming storms after Tolkien characters now.

I am NOT looking forward to Tropical Storm Shelob.

Just finishing the T’day prep – we have it as an evening meal. It’s just us.

We have a neighbor who grew up in the States and used to try to do a group Thanksgiving do some years, but it looks like covid has put a stop to that.

Thank goodness. She prays at the alter of Betty Crocker.

Hope yours is everything you want in a feast of excess! I’m grateful for you all!

November 25, 2021 — 5:49 pm
Comments: 9

Decomposing nicely

Come November, I put my pumpkin at the end of the drive and spend the winter watching it implode. It gets creepier and creepier as it collapses from the inside. My own personal memento mori.

The climate is so mild here, you’d be astonished how long it usually lasts. The first really hard freeze shatters it, but we only get one or two of them and that later in the season.

Surprisingly, no – no-one has ever smashed it against the house.

Speaking of decomposing, wanna spend the weekend with me watching Wisconsin burn?

November 19, 2021 — 7:14 pm
Comments: 11

The last of the bonfires…

That’ll go up a treat.

It’s the last of the Sussex bonfires this week. Then Thanksgiving (no, Brits don’t celebrate Turkey Day, but *we* do) and then we slide right into Christmas.

I am so ready for it. Not Christmas so much, more the days getting longer again.

At present, the chickens put themselves to bed at 4. In a month, they’ll be going in at 3:30. Add to that our weather has been relentless grey and dim and dark and I’m developing a stinking case of Seasonal Affective Thingummy.

November 18, 2021 — 8:06 pm
Comments: 14

Remembrance

I’ve had to go to work, a Remembrance Day ceremony, a funeral and a lecture today. And I ain’t done the lecture yet. I am a tuckered weasel.

I have to go. I’m the only one who knows how to work the new security system.

The wearing of the British Legion poppy (at right) is a thing here from the beginning of November until the 11th. Or it was a thing absolutely everyone did for a hundred years and now, just in the last couple of years, it’s considered not woke.

And so, OF COURSE, I’m at great pains to wear one.

You buy them in supermarkets and news agents, usually at a table manned by elderly veterans. But the dang things only come with a straight pin, so they’re always falling off. I’ve been through three poppies this year, but I’m still by-god wearing one.

Oh, and I had to sing God Save the Queen at the Remembrance Ceremony. Which I don’t mind, but it made me think how painful it’s going to be to sing God Save the King when that day comes.

Perhaps I can think to myself that “save” is a euphemism.

November 11, 2021 — 5:24 pm
Comments: 11

Remember, remember

Bonfire Night! I’ve posted before the Bonfire Nights in Sussex are staggered, every one marches in everyone else’s parade and the celebrations are huge affairs that stretch on from September to December.

But everyone defers to Lewes (pictured above) and theirs is on November 5 proper. It is by far the biggest, even though they close the roads and stop the trains and beg outsiders not to come. The town had 17 Protestant Martyrs under Bloody Mary and they’re still sore about it.

Hence the 17 burning crosses. And Lewes is the only one that still burns the Pope as their Guy.

I heard a rumor Lewes is not burning the Pope this year out of sensitivity. I don’t want it to be true, so I didn’t do any research at all for this. Bonfire Nights are a time of lawlessness, rough manners and excess and I won’t have it any other way.

Good weekend, folks!

November 5, 2021 — 5:57 pm
Comments: 6

Boo!

Another year, another badly carved plumpkin.

Our clocks go back this weekend. Despite getting an extra hour’s sleep, I will piss and moan about this for weeks. Be glad you aren’t around to hear it in person.

Happy Hallowe’en, everyone!

October 29, 2021 — 6:33 pm
Comments: 9

Happy Summer Solstice!

High Summer, y’all. Just *look* at those boiling temperatures.

I’m sour. I had an adventure today. Not only was it hammering down on the way in but the Highways Agency has allowed the bike path to overgrow completely. And by completely, I mean I couldn’t see the path at all most of the way and in places the weeds were shoulder height. I had a mile of this.

I have a complete yellow slicker wet suit which I capped off with wellies. First thing that happened, the wellies filled up with water.

The way back was worse. The chain kept slipping and at one point a thick rope of grass wrapped around my leg and jerked me off the bike. I had to walk from there, which wasn’t any easier. Either the bike could be on the path or I could, not both. I’m shattered.

I’m currently wrapped in an electric blanket and I refuse to budge until a gin and tonic is waved under my snout.

Another snippet from my Prehistory seminar last week: the DNA guy was interesting. They’ve analyzed around 400 skeletons so far. Iron Age women had their first babies around 20 (this is derived from deaths in childbirth). They married around that age (or whatever the Iron Age equivalent of marriage was) and moved to live with their husband’s family. They were monogamous: they have found no evidence of half-siblings. Which is interesting – you’d think there would at least be remarriages after a death.

So, that proves it. The hippies were wrong about everything.

June 21, 2021 — 6:47 pm
Comments: 14

You’ve been this mad. You know you have.

Happy Killdozer Day, everyone! On this day in 2004, Marvin John Heemeyer climbed into his modified bulldozer and damaged or destroyed a big chunk of Granby, Colorado – including the town hall, the former mayor’s house, his own business and a dozen more buildings. Two hours later, when he got his ‘dozer stuck in the basement of a hardware store, he shot himself.

Backstory. The city insisted he paid $80,000 he didn’t have to hook his muffler shop up to city sewage, and then repeatedly fined him for improperly dumping sewage – among other ways they were dicking him around. The combination of being injured and helpless to do anything about it is a perfect rage inducer, but few people have the sticktuitiveness of Heemeyer.

He took an ordinary bulldozer and spent a year and a half armoring up. Slabs of cement, up to a foot thick, sandwiched between two layers of tool steel covered the cab and vulnerable parts of the treads. For visibility, he had several video cameras feeding two monitors in the cockpit. These were protected by shields of bulletproof lexan three inches thick. He even rigged compressed air nozzles to blow dust off the camera ports. He had gun ports around, too, but I don’t think he used them.

Local and state police followed Heemeyer around shooting at him and what they hoped were vulnerable points. The ‘dozer took 200 rounds, a flash-bang to the exhaust and several other explosions (grenades?), but nothing even slowed him down. The governor was considering bringing in the National Guard to use anti-tank missiles when the whole thing came to an end.

Nobody was hurt (except Heemeyer, of course). It was a thing. A very thing. Good weekend, everyone!

p.s. Oh, gosh – I forgot to link to the footage!

June 4, 2021 — 8:11 pm
Comments: 15

Happy Burns Night!

Haggis! Neeps and tatties! Those are the things in this picture!

We’re having chicken fingers and instant mashed potato.

I like instant mashed potato. Don’t judge me.

I might have a whisky, though. Especially as I have to go finish filing my taxes now.

January 25, 2021 — 8:13 pm
Comments: 9

Farewell and good riddance…

Yay! These came today! They’re for making Chinese dumplings AKA potstickers AKA gyoza AKA Jiaozi AKA 餃子. Yes, of course I looked that last one up.

I love these things. Now I can make them!

I didn’t have any ground pork, so I didn’t bother making proper wonton wrappers either. I had some leftover puff pastry from a disastrous turkey pie I made the other day. That was totally wrong for potstickers but made pretty okay tiny sausage and cheese pasties.

I’m whistling and cooking and slowly backing away from 2020. No sudden moves, people, and we might just make it.

December 31, 2020 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 11