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Elderflowers am in bloom

The drive is white with elderflower. I considered making elderflower gin, but then I thought it made more sense to make an elderflower cordial that I could add to gin (or anything else I fancied).

I like elderflower. I don’t remember anything flavored with it in the States, though. Do we even grow elder?

Anyway, it’s 20 elderflower heads and the zest of a lemon in a 1-liter jar, fill to the absolute top with vodka to exclude air. A good deal of smooshing is required.

Two to four weeks in a cool, dark place and then strain through muslin into a bowl. Take 100ml of boiling water and use it to dissolve 100gm of sugar. Add it to the mix bit by bit to taste. You can use it right away, but it’s better for aging a few months.

That jar is a wonderful 1-liter pickling jar Uncle B gave me that I am forbidden to use for its intended purpose after that time I pickled brussel sprouts and everything in the fridge tasted of fart for a week.

June 8, 2022 — 3:19 pm
Comments: 11


We went to MacDonald’s! I know that doesn’t sound much, but I haven’t had a Big Mac in, like, four years. There isn’t any fast food at all except in some of the bigger towns, and we’re not near a bigger town.

I had to have my eyes checked (they’re fine – my right eye has gotten better!) near to Mickey D’s, so I axed if we could go.

Gosh, it’s changed. It was all touch screens. I tried to order at the desk because Uncle B wants his Quarter Pounder just so, but the girl said the touch screens allowed all kinds of customization.

They did!

There seemed to be as many employees as ever, though. Maybe they were turning over a whole lot more food. While we were there, at least four men came in from food delivery outfits and picked up orders.

They all knew each other and they all were speaking Polish or Russian or some other gargly language (not a linguist, me). I reckon there’s some kind of Big Mac mafia.

One guy came in, ordered a Coke and drank it before leaving with his order. I reckon that was one frosty cold burger when it got where it was going.

June 7, 2022 — 5:26 pm
Comments: 8

I promised you livestock

Look at this bad boy! His belt says “Sussex Champion” in gold on blue and he has two little gold tassels hanging down off the bottom. He won best in show and then was auctioned off on the spot. Very exciting.

It’s a variety known as Sussex or Sussex Reds and they are, in fact, a deep red color. I’m told their flesh is delicious, but seemingly rare to find. I’ve never tasted it. We have a neighbor with a herd, but he only sells, like, half a cow at a time and our freezers won’t take it.

We offered to split a half cow with another neighbor, but apparently the cuts you get don’t lend themselves to quartering. No, I don’t really understand, either.

Anyway – lookit the pretty coo!

June 6, 2022 — 7:07 pm
Comments: 4

I don’t believe this…!

Remember that baby badger I posted about earlier this week? The one that ended up in the wildlife rescue?

Durnedyankee posted a link to this Daily Mail article and asked if that was our badger being molestered by Johnny Depp? And I said no, that badger is named Freddie and they named ours Bertie, but that is the same wildlife rescue outfit.

Turns out, that is the same badger. The rescue phoned our neighbor today and asked if it was okay to rename it, as Depp wanted to call it Freddie Mercury.

The picture has now made all the papers. I find that unutterably bizarre.

I’m disappointed we didn’t go see the beacons lit last night. I thought we’d watch it on TV. The BBC showed one (1) beacon being lit, after which they walked around and asked people about their feelings.

The absolute state of journalism today.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

June 3, 2022 — 4:49 pm
Comments: 9

The sheep show!

It’s finally here – the Summer agricultural show season! First of the year last Saturday, and it was *huge*. We usually don’t go to this one as it clashes with another one, but it didn’t this year.

Behold – the sheep show. Dude had a little standup routine about each of these sheep and its particular virtues. Different breeds, you see. After which, a sheep popped out of the door in front and he sheared it for us.

Very amusing. If you’d like to see a picture big enough to read all their names – because of course you would – I got you.

There’s another show starting tomorrow. Stand by for livestock…!

p.s. Today was also the start of a four-day national holiday for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. They light the beacons tonight (no, Tolkien didn’t make that up). I’d love to see it in person – they may not light them again in my lifetime – but none of the local beacons are convenient to park and walk up. We’ll watch it on TV.

June 2, 2022 — 7:44 pm
Comments: 4

Old man on a park bench

We were driving through Burwash over the weekend and somehow, for the first time, noticed this. Yup, it’s a bronze Rudyard Kipling on a park bench. It’s well done, too.

Burwash is where Kipling’s last home was. Bateman’s. I’ve posted about it many times. It’s one of our favorite National Trust days out, though we haven’t been in a while. We quit the NT after the year of the ‘everyone is gay’ – a dual membership was getting on for £100 anyway.

Burwash itself is a pretty little village. Imagine driving through it so many times and never noticing this.

I’m sure that plaque to the left tells more about the statue, but this is Uncle B’s photo. I was too lazy to get out of the car and cross the street.

June 1, 2022 — 8:10 pm
Comments: 5

B-b-b-baby b-b-b-badger

Well, lookee here. Don’t worry, he’s fine.

Our neighbor called us at dusk yesterday to say there was a badger against her garden wall, just hanging out. What should she do? This seemed extremely unlikely, as badgers is shy and shoot across the garden the moment they hear you approach, but she was right.

Behold. There he is.

He was moving a little and snuffling (and greedily eating dog food), but not acting at all like a proper badger, so we called a badger rescue (of course there are badger rescues). We were worried he might have been hit by a car.

They picked him up and took him to the vet and…he’s just a littl’un, maybe two months old. Dehydrated, but otherwise perfectly well. Too young to be scared, I guess.

How he got separated from his family, who knows? There’s a known sett about a mile away, but he seems to small to have come so far.

They named him Bertie from [house next door] and I think we’re allowed to visit him at the rescue. Maybe not, if they decide to re-release him in the wild.

Isn’t he cute?

May 31, 2022 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 8

This is not an obituary

Spoon did not turn up at rollcall Friday night. My favorite chicken didn’t come home to roost.

You remember Spoon, the goofiest of Polands? I’ve been bailing her out of trouble since she was a chick.

She wasn’t in the field next door (she’s done this). She wasn’t in the neighbor’s garden (and this). She wasn’t up a tree (multiple times) or on a roof (she quickly discovered that’s where the bees are). Once it gets dark, you kind of have to give up and hope for the best come morning.

Next day, Uncle B came down early and the cat was complaining loudly. There was a chicken in the kitchen. Standing back in a corner, silently. We remember finding her in the kitchen at noon (they sneak in for cat food), but we had no idea she never left.

She’d been there all afternoon and all evening while we were banging around cooking lunch and then supper. The lights must have interfered with her sleep, but she didn’t make a sound. Just standing there.

Of course, being a chicken, she had shat all over the floor, but hey.

May 30, 2022 — 6:14 pm
Comments: 2

Welp, you know where to find me

The VR version of Skyrim went on discount today, so that’s the last Uncle B will see of me for a while. The reviews recommended waiting until it was on sale because the game, out of the box, is complete shit and it would be a shame to reward the developers for it.

No kidding, it requires on the order of 150 after-market modifications to be a good game. Someone even wrote a program to download and install mod packages for you, though I don’t imagine it’s as easy as all that. My experience with mods is that about half of them break a game.

One reviewer said he gave up on the whole thing because he was spending all his time fiddling with mods. Sounds like a challenge.

I paid full price for Half Life: Alyx and I’m glad I did. Valve’s team deserves every penny. I’m playing it through with the developer commentary this time and I’m amazed at the care that went into building an exact user experience.

If playtesters weren’t giving them the reaction they wanted from a specific scenario, they tweaked and tested until they got it.

On the other hand, if a surprise popped up and testers love it, they leaned into it. In all, an extraordinary game.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

May 27, 2022 — 7:00 pm
Comments: 13

My best friend had the whole set

I don’t know why these popped into my head today. My best friend had the whole set. I lusted after it.

It took several different keywords to find them, but I think it’s the Johnny West Family 12″ Marx action figures from the Sixties. I pinched the photos from this guy’s collection. It’s a shame it’s a bit out of focus, but you can just make out a viking, a knight of some kind and I think that’s Genghis Khan in the background.

They did more stuff than I realized! The articulated horses were awesome.

My other best friend had the GI Joe with the cheek scar and the real peachfuzz beard. I lusted after him, too.

It’s not so much that I liked dolls, it’s that I loved miniature things. Little tiny facsimiles. Friend #1 above had the Barbie Camper set and I particularly yearned after those teeny, tiny Coke bottles.

My parents stopped giving me dolls. I developed a reputation for dissecting them. This is not as serial-killerish as it sounds – we’re mostly talking about dolls that walked or talked or like that. It was much more fun to take them apart and poke at the workings than it was to play with them in the expected way.

May 26, 2022 — 8:05 pm
Comments: 6