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It’s come to this

This goofy scrotum-faced potted-palm bastard has decided I MUST DIE. Testosterone has caught up with Albert.

When the pekins briefly went through that phase, it was like being hit on the back of the leg with a party balloon, but this dude is different. He’s at least three times their weight, with wicked evil spurs. A reminder that roosters fighting to the death is a sport.

At his most pissed, he jumps up and comes down with those spurs, and that emeffer hurts. He got me in the shin twice yesterday and drew blood.

At first I thought non-violence was the way to go. If I acted nonchalant, he didn’t escalate. For a while.

Then I tried lifting him on the toe of my boot and boosting him into the air. It’s not a kick because my foot doesn’t contact him hard. It’s a stimulating toss. That may have shook him a little, but he still tried to get a couple of pecks in later.

Thank goodness he’s so blind, he misses half the time.

All I can do is wear my wellies around him and hope he gets over it like the others did.

I know what you’re thinking, but I just couldn’t. I’ve been coddling this silly peckerhead since he was an egg. He’s still my boy.

August 17, 2020 — 7:41 pm
Comments: 18

Triffid Grove

I went to tea at a neighbor’s this afternoon with several nice old ladies, one of which is an actual lady. As in Lady So-and-so. It was all very congenial. No cucumber sandwiches, but there were homemade cheese straws and digestive biscuits.

On the way out, I was astonished to discover our hostesses’ artichoke grove. This is just a section of it; it went on for yards and yards. She said it springs up of its own accord every year. She gave some away and let the rest bloom.

I was rather proud of our two large, plump artichokes and the several little ‘uns we let go to flower (they are rather pretty thistles. The Victorians grew them as ornamental plants).

And that was the first social outing I’ve had in four months.

I don’t care what the government says, I think I’m rather done with this lockdown shenanigans.

p.s. Oh! And one of the old ladies did exclaim, “blow me!” at one point. My day is complete.

p.p.s. Have a good weekend, everyone.

August 14, 2020 — 6:59 pm
Comments: 16


It is actually less hot today, but it’s maximum muggy. We went to the beach for some relief, and there wasn’t any. It’s usually very windy there.

I was watching the animated weather radar yesterday, and it was the first time I’ve seen a clear sky suddenly blow up with lightning storms. I know that’s what happens in the heat, I’ve just never witnessed it before.

That was over London, though, and people on Twitter were bitching that it was a spectacular thunder and lightning show, but it never rained.

We didn’t even get the lightning.

“Blow me” is, incidentally, entirely harmless here. It’s short for “blow me down” and I’ve only ever heard old people say it. My mother-in-law says it often and I swear I shall lose it one day when she does.

If you want your own ‘blow me’ mug, knock yourself out.

August 13, 2020 — 8:14 pm
Comments: 4


There’s an amazing archaeological dig that was done in the Eighties and Nineties in a place called Boxgrove in West Sussex. We heard a talk about it once. One of its exciting features were eight piles of stone chips from the manufacture of flint tools showing various levels of skill. If that doesn’t sound exciting to you, the speaker thought it was maybe the remains of a school for novice flint nappers.

Og’s College of Bang Rocks.

According to a BBC article Uncle B sent me a link to, they’ve re-examined some of the artefacts from the site and they’ve decided the bone tools they found are the oldest known bone tools in Europe.

A shinbone they found is the oldest human remains ever found, at 500,000 years, and belonged to a kind of human that was ancestor to both modern humans and Neanderthals. Whoa.

Scroll down and look at the patchwork rock. Some poor grad student had to take all those chunks of rock and put them back together, so they could pour something into the cracks and discover the shape of the tool made from it. Which, irritatingly, the BBC doesn’t show us.

The bone in the picture doesn’t have anything to do with it, though. It’s just a mammoth bone I nicked off Wikimedia.

August 12, 2020 — 7:59 pm
Comments: 5

I am the Queen of Mayo

I love homemade mayo. I love commercial mayo, for that matter. If anybody tells you they put mayo on their fries here, them ’em they’re a filthy, filthy liar. Maybe on the continent, but Brits aren’t real big on mayo, I am sad to report.

Anyway, my homemade mayo was a little hit or miss. You know the drill: blend an egg yolk then slowly drizzle in the oil. Eh. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

Then I lit on a brilliant recipe online. I’d credit the lady, but that was ages ago and I forget where I saw it. She puts everything in at once and gives is a whizz with a stick mixer. And it works great!

You have to put stuff in in the right order, though. And quantities are important (this last was harder for me to work out because I’m using a non-standard bantam egg).

Whole egg in first (I don’t bother to separate the yolk from the white as my eggs have so little white in proportion).
Then salt and mustard (mustard helps the mayo emulsify, but I also like the zing).
Then any light oil (7/10ths of a cup for my little egg).
Finally, a teaspoon of lemon or vinegar, whichever you prefer to cut the oily taste.

Then zizz it up with the stick mixer, leaving the blades at the bottom until it’s done. The mixer will draw the oil down to itself at just the right pace. Makes a lovely stiff mayo. I make it in a screwtop jar, so there’s nothing to clean up afterwards but the stick mixer.

I really shouldn’t do it with my own eggs, though. My girls aren’t vaccinated against salmonella and they have lots of contact with wild birds.

Death by mayo. Tell everyone it’s how I would have wanted to go.

August 11, 2020 — 7:52 pm
Comments: 17

Waiting for it…

Another hot and humid day today – quite a long hot spell by British standards. It’s just sunset now, and the sky has gone…weird. Orange. Threatening.

Looking high up, I spotted a faint but complete rainbow. It isn’t raining. Or it’s raining so lightly that it just feels like a prickling of your skin.

It’s the apocalypse, isn’t it? Come on, 2020, you’ve been teasing it long enough.

August 10, 2020 — 7:41 pm
Comments: 5

Arrrr, matey!

Now, before you go thinking this is a crap photo, it was actually so far away I could barely see it with the naked eye. Only one of Uncle B’s fancy cameras could capture it at all.

I think it looks neat and heat-wavy.

No idea what it’s about. It was just tootling around the English Channel, in and around the container ships.

Changing the subject, I just chased a fox out of the garden. The chickens were kicking up more of a fuss than usual and I looked out the kitchen window to see a gray fox standing a dozen feet from them, just staring. I let out a whoop, but it’s a long way from the kitchen to the front door.

He was still standing in the same spot when I got out there and didn’t run until I gave chase. Goodness knows why he hesitated, but I’m grateful. All chikkens present and accounted for.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

August 7, 2020 — 7:50 pm
Comments: 13


Bumper crop this year. I usually pick some of them only to keep them from falling around the front door and getting tracked into the house.

First year here, I tried making elderberry cordial from a recipe I found on the web. It didn’t mention that you have to cook elderberries or they’re poisonous. I drank a thimbleful of the stuff and it was a seriously potent emetic. WHOOOSH went the weasel.

I’ve been shy about them ever since.

I think I might make some jelly or syrup this year, though. I’ll try not to go WHOOOSH.

August 6, 2020 — 7:27 pm
Comments: 9

Turns out, I’m something of an expert

The picture is from a blog post from March, 2009 about toilet paper hoarding. As you can see, our brand of choice in 2009 was Velvet – that’s the one with the creepy little-boy-in-a-suit mascot. Yeah, I posted about him, too. Also, ecologically responsible toilet paper.

And don’t get me started on the number of times I’ve posted about toilets.

Let’s face it: I’m a sophisticate.

Anyway, I went looking down back in the Museum of Toilet Paper, where there are old packets of Andrex stashed. No, they did NOT used emboss puppies on the product. I was sure I would have noticed that.

August 5, 2020 — 7:17 pm
Comments: 3

And it is, too

Man, we’ve used this toilet paper for years and I never noticed it’s embossed with puppies.

I really do not understand the marketing thinking behind this. I mean, sure — puppies are soft and fluffy. So wipe your ass with a puppy?, I guess.

We also have toilet paper marketed with tiger cubs (ouch!) and a little boy in a suit and tie (I dunno, you tell me).

August 4, 2020 — 7:21 pm
Comments: 9